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iPhones to exclusively carry Qualcomm chips

Posted: 29 Sep 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cell-phone chipsets  iPhone market  Infineon chips 

Qualcomm Inc. is expected to completely corner the Apple Inc.'s iPhone market by displacing cell-phone chipsets from Intel/Infineon in all iPhones, opines an analyst.

At present, Apple's iPhone line uses a cell-phone chipset from Infineon Technologies AG. The carrier for the phone is AT&T. Recently, Intel Corp. acquired Infineon's wireless chip business, thereby grabbing the Apple iPhone account.

For some time, it has been rumoured that Apple is developing a CDMA version of the iPhone. Qualcomm will supply the chipset. The carrier for that phone is Verizon.

''Apple supply chain checks show Qualcomm should ship 2 million [20 lakh] CDMA base bands to Apple in 4Q '10 ahead of the CDMA iPhone launch in 1Q '11,'' said Craig Berger, an analyst with FBR, in a report.

''Further, we hear more commentary that Qualcomm could ship into all iPhones beginning in mid 2011,'' he said. ''We also hear commentary that Qualcomm will replace Intel/Infineon's solution beginning in mid-2011 with an integrated HSPA/CDMA part that will allow Apple to address more carriers without changing the phone's hardware specifications.''

This could be a blow for Intel. As reported, Intel is to purchase Infineon Technologies AG's Wireless Solutions Business (WLS) for Rs.6,537.44 crore ($1.4 billion) in cash with the deal expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

In the Intel-Infineon deal, one analyst believes that Infineon exited the wireless chip business—just in time. Infineon/Intel may lose the iPhone business, it was noted.

After a rough start in 2010, Qualcomm is back on track. Besides the iPhone, Qualcomm is also the dominate chipset supplier in the Android camp. ''Qualcomm is benefitting from generic smartphone strength with Snapdragon chips shipping into the HTC EVO, HTC Incredible, LG Expo, and phones by Sony-Ericsson, Acer, and Lenovo,'' he said. ''While some concerns remain about Qualcomm's chipset ASPs and margins, and its declining royalty rate, we think the QCOM story remains intact as it collects royalties on 625 million [62.50 crore] cellular devices now growing to 1.5 billion [150 crore] devices over time, and as it monetizes its world-leading cellular IP portfolio.''

-Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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