Qualcomm just issued their Q2 2012 financial results; they use a fiscal calendar, hence the Q2 and not Q1. How did they do? Consider this: They had a record quarter in Q1 2012, a record that that they just broke today. We’re talking $4.94 billion in revenues, up 28% year over year; $1.51 billion in income, up 123% year over year; and 152 million shipments of their MSM chips, which people better recognize as Snapdragon. Here’s what Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, Qualcomm’s CEO, had to say about the company’s performance:
“I am pleased to report another quarter of record revenues and earnings per share, driven by strong demand for 3G- and 4G-enabled devices across both developed and emerging regions. We are excited to see the continued growth of 3G and 4G smartphones, as well as new mobile computing devices. We are increasing our operating expenses to facilitate additional 28 nanometer supply and to continue to position our industry-leading chipset solutions for the opportunities ahead.”
So why is Qualcomm so darn successful? It’s simple really, they give handset makers a platform with everything already integrated. When HTC buys a Snapdragon S4 they get a package that includes a pair of Krait CPU cores, an Adreno GPU, built-in 3G and 4G, built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and they even throw in the power management components! No other vendor does that, at least today. Texas Instruments got out of the baseband game, ST-Ericsson has a Snapdragon competitor that isn’t due to ship for at least a year, NVIDIA isn’t going give 4G LTE support to Tegra until late 2013, and the list goes on and on.
Who can compete with Qualcomm? In the short term, Samsung. It’s rumored that their next Exynos chips will have built-in 3G and 4G connectivity, which would be huge. And in the long term, there’s Intel. They bought Infineon’s wireless division a few years back and this year they’re going to enter the smartphone space with an Atom platform that has built-in cellular. Is it going to take off? No, but it’s good that they’re getting their toes wet.