New Threats Emerge as Broadcom and Qualcomm Continue to Dominate GNSS IC Vendor Space

20 Dec 2016

The GNSS market landscape is expanding due to the rapid growth of GNSS-enabled wearables and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) coupled with new innovation opportunities around low-cost precision GNSS. In its latest GNSS IC vendor competitive analysis, ABI Research determines Broadcom and Qualcomm remain the two top IC vendors for the fourth year in a row with a mere two points separating MediaTek in third from u-blox in fourth. New threats emerge to shake up the landscape in the years ahead, though, with CEC Huada and Samsung now companies to watch.

“MediaTek and u-blox once again swapped places,” says Patrick Connolly, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “U-blox had another stellar year financially and, along with Skytraq, led the way on low-cost precision GNSS with its NEO-M8P module. MediaTek, which showed significant success in wearables and smartphones, transitioned back to third place primarily due to growing market share.” 

Broadcom and Qualcomm remain the two top GNSS IC vendors. Within the past year, Broadcom spurred more headlines with its wearables success and its initial work on L1/L5 dual-frequency receivers. And Qualcomm continues to lead in total GNSS shipments, as well as innovative new technologies like LED/VLC and LTE Direct. Its partnership with Baidu on its IZat™ platform is also notable and represents the beginning of the era of “always on, ubiquitous location technologies.”

But the incumbents are not the only players to watch in this evolving market. CEC Huada and Samsung sit poised to instill great change in the market landscape, as their innovation over the past 12 months serves to prove.

“CEC Huada developed single frequency RTK GPS, as well as BDS receivers and INS/MEMS receivers, which the company released to select customers in 2016,” concludes Connolly. “And it is now developing a dual frequency BDS receiver and a receiver for IRNSS. Samsung, meanwhile, launched its first embedded GNSS solution, the Exynos CPU chipset. Given its presence across so many GPS-enabled consumer electronic devices, the company looks set to be a major disruptor in the coming years.”

These findings are from ABI Research’s GNSS IC Vendors report.

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