Feature Article

March 29, 2012

Imagination Technologies Ranks High in GPU IP Shipments

As an increasing number of mobile devices have a graphics processor integrated with the system on a chip (SoC) application processor, the firm Jon Peddie Research (JPR) released their findings of estimated graphics chip shipments for mobile devices during 2011.

According to the latest research by JPR, Imagination Technologies supplies more graphics processing units (GPU) IP than all other suppliers combined.

Application processors are made by a dozen plus semiconductor manufacturers including Broadcom, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, Nvidia, ST-Ericson, Renesas, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Samsung and several others. Each falls into one of two categories – vertically integrated or IP buyers.

Nvidia, Qualcomm and ZiiLabs are the vertically integrated companies with their own GPU designs; the others buy GPU IP from one of five IP suppliers – ARM, DMP, Imagination Technologies, Takumi or Vivante.Broadcom and Samsung are the exceptions as both companies buy IP while also having their own internal GPU design, according to JPR. Apple makes an SoC, but does not sell it commercially.

The primary high-volume suppliers of application processors are Apple, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and Samsung. Three of the four use Imagination Technologies’ GPU IP as well as several other smaller competitors. Imagination said it has eight licensees for its newly announced Series 6 cores, including ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, Renesas and MediaTek. JPR reported partnership agreements with Apple, Intel and Samsung have also been made.

Navigational units, televisions, set-top boxes, watches, movie and music players as well as digital picture frames were all excluded from the research study, since very few of those mobile devices use a GPU.

JPR holds that as GPU IP prices drop and the quest for differentiation continues – combined with everything online all the time – GPUs will find their way into each of these other devices.

Edited by Braden Becker

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