Samsung is one of the top manufacturers of smartphones right now and with good reason. Almost every vital component the company uses in its device is made in its backyard. But that’s a luxury limited to only Samsung, as other companies have to outsource necessary components from third party manufacturers. Two such third party companies, Qualcomm and NVIDIA which provide chipsets to manufacturers have been tussling for the top spot in the mobile chipset industry for more than an year now. Qualcomm was well established prior to the arrival of the NVIDIA Tegra series of mobile chipsets which sparked a revolution of sorts in the department. This year, NVIDIA was the first to reveal a quad core mobile chipset with the Tegra 3, while Snapdragon’s competitive offering was merely seen on leaked roadmaps. But that’s not the case now. Qualcomm has its very own quad core chipset in the form of the Snapdragon S4 Pro (quad core version of the S4). And as many of us have noticed, there are more smartphones coming with the S4 Pro than the Tegra 3. The reasons for this are pretty obvious, the S4 Pro is substantially better in terms of performance and power saving. This is reaffirmed by Taiwanese supply chains cited by DigiTimes, which suggests that NVIDIA is having a pretty tough time in the industry with the presence of the Snapdragon S4 Pro.
NVIDIA has the Tegra 4 a.k.a Wayne scheduled for Q1 next year, but until then it will have to deal with the competition with whatever little resources it has. Popular tablets like the ASUS Transformer Prime, the Nexus 7 and the Microsoft Surface RT have a Tegra 3 chip inside, so it’s not short of big ticket names. The Snapdragon S4 Pro however is more appealing to the manufacturers as it features an onboard LTE chip unlike the Tegra 3, and is also very power efficient (thanks to the 28nm manufacturing process). The Adreno 320 GPU which comes with the Snapdragon S4 Pro has proven to be the best out there by a substantial margin. What this means is that Qualcomm’s offering has visibly better cost to performance ratio when compared to the Tegra 3.
We can expect more and more Android smartphones in the future packing Qualcomm’s new chipset. And until NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 arrives in the market, we don’t expect its financial estimations skyrocket the way Qualcomm’s would. The LG Optimus G, the Nexus 4, the Droid DNA are all based on the Snapdragon S4 Pro. Windows Phone 8 OEMs are expected to make the switch to the S4 Pro as the platform evolves, but currently WP8 devices pack the Snapdragon S4 dual core chipset which isn’t too bad on its own.