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TI, Nvidia dominate 'not iPad' tablet chip biz

Intel, Qualcomm "missed the boat", says analyst

ARM

It's no great surprise that Apple tops market watcher Strategy Analytics' list of the leading tablet chip makers of 2011. So strong were iPad sales in comparison with other tablets, it couldn't fail to take the number one slot.

So how well are its rivals doing? According to SA, Texas Instruments and Nvidia fill out the top three. Apple accounted for 59 per cent of the tablet CPU shipments in 2011. Ignore Apple, and TI took 35 per cent of the rest of the tablet processor market, Nvidia 34 per cent.

TI's OMAP chips are found in Amazon's Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook, while Nvidia's Tegra 2 CPU was implemented in tablets from Acer, Asus, Motorola, LG, Toshiba and Samsung.

Speaking of the South Korean giant, SA put it in fifth place, with Qualcomm taking fourth.

Samsung isn't making the play for tablet users that Qualcomm is. The US company pushed its Snapdragon brand hard - and continues to do so - but failed to convert that into shipping tablets during 2011.

This year, though, it stands to do better, SA said, as will Nvidia with its Tegra 3 chip. Both are "well positioned to capture further share" in 2012, Qualcomm through its LTE 4G connectivity products and both on the back of Windows 8.

ARM chips accounted for 98 per cent of the tablet chips shipped in 2011, showing just how far x86 supporters AMD and, in particular, Intel have to go to catch up. Again, SA said, Windows 8 may come to their aid, but Android's transition to Ice Cream Sandwich and, later, Jelly Bean, will help the ARM folk too. So will Amazon's Fire drive. ®

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