Imagination Technologies, the producer of PowerVR GPUs used in heaps of SoC designs, is still the world’s leading supplier of mobile GPUs, according to Jon Peddie Research. Imagination took the lead when it started providing GPUs for Apple and it never looked back. The new Apple A7 SoC is the first chip to use the company’s new Rogue 6-series GPU and it won’t be the last.
However, Imagination has lost a bit of ground since last year. Its market share in the first half of 2012 was a whopping 52 percent, but a year later it was down to 37.6 percent. Things should improve for Imagination as more Rogue designs appear.
As a result or Imagination’s dip, Qualcomm and ARM muscled in to seize more share over the last year. Qualcomm’s GPU share went up from 29.3 to 32.3 percent, while ARM saw an even bigger gain – going from 13.5 to 18.4 percent in the same period.
Nvidia was the biggest loser. Its share dropped from 4.9 percent to just 1.4 percent over the last year. Since Nvidia doesn’t license its GPUs, the number indicates a steep shipment in Tegra SoCs, which comes as no surprise.
The biggest winner, however, was not ARM or Qualcomm. It was Vivante, which had an 0.3 share last year, but ended the first half of 2013 with a 9.8 share. Vivante IP is used in a growing number of SoCs, but the company doesn’t get much coverage as most of its clients are focused at non-consumerish, embedded markets
Vivante currently provides GPU tech for Marvell, Freescale, Rockchip and Vivante's latest consumer design win we can think of is Google’s Chromecast, which packs a Marvell DE3005 SoC and Vivante GC1000 graphics. You can check out a list of Vivante's design wins here.
What’s in store for the second half of the year and beyond?
We believe Imagination will rebound with Rogue and Nvidia has a chance to make up some lost ground as more T4/T4i designs emerge. However, when Nvidia starts licensing Maxwell IP to other SoC builders, it could gain share overnight. Furthermore, if that triggers a response from AMD we could see the old green-red rivalry extend to the mobile space and who wouldn't want to see that happen? (Imagination, ARM, Qualcomm, Vivante. Ed)
Also, here’s an interesting statistic. The market for SoCs with GPUs grew 81 percent from the first half of 2011.