Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Visualizing Tablet Component Winners in 2012

Nomura has recently released a massive infographic on tablet components (via Tech Trader Daily), and it contains a treasure trove of information on the various component suppliers (and investable opportunities) within. The analysts estimate 2012 market shares for crucial ingredients, as well as other fun facts about where the market may be heading.

Let's dig in and break down what it means for investors, but more importantly look at the big winners.

While there's a trend toward increased integration among mobile device manufacturers, particularly on the processor front, NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA  ) came out on top among third-party chip makers. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) and Samsung comprise 75% of total processor units since the two utilize in-house chips. Apple gobbled up most of the processor market, but only because the iPad uses its A-chips that aren't available to other vendors.

Beyond Apple and Samsung, NVIDIA was the top processor provider.

Applications Processor Provider

2012 Market Share Estimate







Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN  )


Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM  )


Source: Nomura.

NVIDIA found its Tegra chips in big wins like Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Nexus 7 and Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Surface RT, while TI powers's (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) Kindle Fire lineup. Qualcomm didn't score any high-profile tablet wins in 2012, but its Snapdragons power some Windows 8 tablets.

What Qualcomm lacks in processor wins, it makes up for in other areas. The mobile chip giant flexes its muscles when it comes to areas like baseband processors, where it still boasts considerable advantages.


2012 Market Share Estimate

Power management integrated circuit

30% to 35%

Baseband and transceivers




Source: Nomura.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) was a distant second in the baseband market with just 15% market share.

Wi-Fi combo chips are dominated by Broadcom (UNKNOWN: BRCM.DL  ) , similar to the smartphone market. But the company also has a strong position in the touchscreen microcontroller market.


2012 Market Share Estimate

Touch controller


Wi-Fi combo chip

70% to 75%



Source: Nomura.

Broadcom also emerged as a tablet winner in 2012.

The majority of the image sensor market went to OmniVision Technologies (UNKNOWN: OVTI.DL  ) , which took home 50% to 55% of the market. Second up was Samsung with 15% to 20%, as the South Korean conglomerate likes to use its own backside-illuminated sensors in its tablets. Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) came in third with 10% to 15% of the market.

Nomura even estimates that OmniVision's sales have the second-highest exposure to tablets among component vendors, with an estimated 19% of sales last year coming from the form factor.

Cirrus Logic
The audio codec sector went mostly to Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ: CRUS  ) , garnering between 50% and 55% market share. Wolfson Micro and STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM  ) trailed by a large margin. Cirrus Logic has long been a favorite Apple component play, and its tablet share in 2012 shows why.

The iPad advantage
Since the iPad defines the tablet category and represents the majority of unit sales, any supplier that can score spots in Apple's device has an immediate advantage and is effectively guaranteed plenty of volume. That fact inevitable skews some of these market share figures in favor of iPad suppliers.

You can tell immediately from looking at the application processor figures, since Apple was 60% of the market even though it doesn't sell its A5X or A6X processors to anyone else. However, you can also see that pan out in other component areas.

OmniVision has been spurned from iPhone image sensor wins for the past two years, but its consolation prize was that it scored the image sensor spot in iPads, even if Apple is using slightly older sensors in its tablets. Broadcom provides numerous touchscreen microcontrollers in iPads that drive the larger display as well as the Wi-Fi combo chip. Cirrus Logic has long been Apple's go-to vendor for audio codecs. That's why you'll notice these three companies took home the lion's share of each respective component market: because they were enjoying their iPad advantage.

What's inside Supernova?
Apple has been a longtime selection of Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner, helping lead his stock picks to gains of more than 120% in our Stock Advisor service since it launched in March 2002. Compare that to the S&P 500's return of 29% over that same time frame. David has managed to trounce the market by always being on the lookout for revolutionary stocks and recommending them before Wall Street catches on to their disruptive potential. If you're interested in how David discovers his winners, click here to get instant access to a personal tour behind David's Supernova service.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (15)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2013, at 8:30 AM, mercury8 wrote:

    If Nividia is so great, why is their stock so flat? Just sayin is all. Mercury 8

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2013, at 10:01 AM, BKuban wrote:

    I understand that processers and WIFI parts are important but what about the other parts that make up the devices?

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2013, at 11:35 AM, PvanCL wrote:

    If you already subscribe to Fools does the

    "supernova" suggest that you are not entitled

    to information which it provides?

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2179602, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/28/2016 12:00:20 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 2 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,228.30 133.47 0.74%
S&P 500 2,159.93 13.83 0.64%
NASD 5,305.71 48.22 0.92%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/27/2016 4:00 PM
AAPL $113.09 Up +0.21 +0.19%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
NVDA $66.54 Up +2.20 +3.42%
Nvidia CAPS Rating: ****
AMZN $816.11 Up +16.95 +2.12% CAPS Rating: ****
BRCM.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Broadcom CAPS Rating: ****
CRUS $51.94 Up +0.62 +1.21%
Cirrus Logic CAPS Rating: ****
GOOGL $810.73 Up +8.08 +1.01%
Alphabet (A shares… CAPS Rating: *****
INTC $37.18 Up +0.53 +1.45%
Intel CAPS Rating: ****