Qualcomm has long been the leading chip vendor for the Android smartphone market in the U.S. but new data suggests that MediaTek might have surpassed the American chipmaker. While flagship Android smartphones tend to be powered by Qualcomm‘s 8-series processors, there are some notable exceptions. For example, Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are both powered by the company’s own Tensor SoCs.
MediaTek processors can be found in a host of mid-range and entry-level Android smartphones, and they’re especially popular in China. In the U.S., some of the most notable MediaTek-powered devices include the Galaxy A12 and the Galaxy A32 from Samsung, as well as the Motorola G Pure, which was released late last year.
Related: Qualcomm Confirms Critical Information About Its Next Flagship Processor
New data from IDC claims that MediaTek surpassed Qualcomm to become the largest processor vendor for Android smartphones in the U.S. Speaking to PC Mag about the study, Anthony Scarsella, IDC’s Mobile Phone Research Director, said that Google’s Tensor was at least partially responsible for Qualcomm losing the top slot. According to Scarsella, Google dropping Qualcomm in favor of its own in-house chip for its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones was one of the reasons why MediaTek was able to surpass its more illustrious rival. “If Google had stuck with Qualcomm, MediaTek wouldn’t have gained the lead,” PC Mag quotes Scarsella as having said. It is worth noting that MediaTek is already the market leader in mobile SoCs globally (per Counterpoint), although Qualcomm has been gaining market share of late.
Qualcomm Views Things Differently
Qualcomm disputes the IDC data by citing a contradictory findings from Counterpoint. While IDC believes MediaTek surpassed Qualcomm during Q4, 2021, Counterpoint suggests that Qualcomm was able to preserve its lead during the same period. In terms of numbers, IDC claims Qualcomm had 43.9-percent of the market in Q4, 2021, and MediaTek had 48.1-percent. In contrast, Counterpoint says Qualcomm and MediaTek accounted for 55-percent and 37-percent of the market, respectively. Both agree that Qualcomm remained the market leader in the U.S. for the year 2021 as a whole. Both also agree that the other chip vendors, including Google, Unisoc, etc., together accounted for a meager 8-percent of the overall market.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently announced that the company’s latest smartphones had broken all sales records for Pixel phones. However, data from Counterpoint suggested that the ‘record-breaking’ numbers only amounted to moderate YoY growth rather than blockbuster sales. Still, the Pixel 6 duo have been well-received, with reviews suggesting that the Pixel 6 is hands-down the phone that most Android users should buy. As for the Pixel 6 Pro, it has been called the best Pixel phone ever. Given their popularity, Qualcomm is certainly missing out on a slice of the action, irrespective of whether it is able to protect its U.S. smartphone market share or not.