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June 19, 2013

Quad-core Smartphone Shipments Reached 40M Global Units in 2012

Berg Insight is a company that offers business intelligence to the telecommunications industry. It produces reports that provide strategic insights concerning crucial developments in their focus areas. Berg Insight recently released a new research report on the subject.

The report shows that sales of high-end smartphones equipped with quad-core application processors reached 40 million units worldwide in 2012. According to the results, total smartphone shipments grew just shy of 50 percent. In 2012, 690 million units were shipped, which comes to a 47-percent increase in sales.

The first smartphones with dual-core application processors were released in early 2011, offering more than double the computing power of the previous generation high-end smartphones. Dual-core chips made their debut in the LG Optimus 2X smartphone. In 2012, 250 million smartphones had the dual-core chips.

Samsung's Galaxy S3 shipped with a quad-core processor in some markets, while Qualcomm announced its quad-core Krait processor and Nvidia had its Tegra 3 chip that saw action in HTC's One X handset. Considering how few expensive smartphones had the chip in 2012, hitting the 40 million mark is quite impressive.

Chip vendors such as Qualcomm, Nvidia and Samsung all had quad-core processors available for smartphones in 2012. However, it seems that the firms targeted the high end side of smartphone models. According to Berg Insight’s research, most of the future growth will come from low cost smartphones.

Consumers will soon begin to have more choices. A large variety of standalone application processors and system-on-chips (SoCs) that integrate application processors and cellular basebands are becoming available to address different price points in the increasingly competitive smartphone category.

Senior analyst at Berg Insight Andre Malm said, “It becomes more difficult for consumers to make comparisons between handsets when application processor vendors introduce SoCs based on different CPU architectures and core counts, each with different performance depending on specific workload.”

It is estimated that there will be 1.5 billion smartphones sold in 2017. Nearly all of these smartphones will be equipped with at least dual-core processors and the majority will feature quad-core processors. Like many handset makers, Berg Insight is predicting the smartphone market will see the most growth in the low-end market.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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