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MediaTek might have overtaken Qualcomm in US Android marketshare

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48 percent of Android devices in the United States have MediaTek chips, says IDC

MediaTek might have just beaten out Qualcomm to claim the biggest market share of any chipmaker for Android phones in the United States — at least, according to one analyst group.

According to IDC’s quarterly mobile phone sales tracker, as of Q4 2021 MediaTek chips account for 48.1 percent of all Android phones in the United States, compared to 43.9 percent for Qualcomm, as spotted by PCMag. Those numbers are a stark inversion from the previous quarter, where MediaTek had a 41 percent market share to Qualcomm’s 56 percent.

IDC’s report notes that MediaTek’s surge was driven largely by sales of the Galaxy A12, Galaxy A32, and G Pure, which made up 51 percent of MediaTek devices sold in Q4 and 24 percent of the entire Android market in the US.

There are conflicting reports, however: Counterpoint Research’s own report puts the Q4 2021 split at 55 percent for Qualcomm, and 37 percent for MediaTek, so it’s possible that Qualcomm is still holding on to its crown for now.

MediaTek isn’t as much of a household name for smartphone processors as Qualcomm (which has long been the dominant force for Android phones in the US, especially for high-end flagships). But the company has been steadily building out its presence in the US in low- and mid-range devices, including the LG Velvet or the Moto G Pure.

The trick for MediaTek is convincing manufacturers and customers alike that its more premium chips — like its flagship Dimensity 9000, which the company says is more powerful than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 — are worth trying out as it continues to try to break into the high-end Android device market.

That said, MediaTek isn’t resting on its laurels, either: the company has announced a trio of new chips that will look to further its aims of offering more powerful 5G chips. At the top of the market are the Dimensity 8100 and Dimensity 8000, which are trickle-down cousins to the more powerful Dimensity 9000 flagship.

While both of those chips be built on TSMC’s 5nm node (instead of the 4nm process used by the Dimensity 9000) and use less powerful CPU and GPU cores, they’ll offer some of the AI and 5G features debuted on the higher-end platform. Additionally, the company also announced a new 5G-capable Dimensity 1300 chipset, an upgraded version of the company’s Dimensity 1200 model with improvements for AI performance.

All three of the new chips are set to debut in smartphones sometime in the first quarter of 2022 — where they’ll presumably look to help MediaTek continue to grow in the US (whether it’s actually beaten out Qualcomm or not).

Update March 1st, 3:30pm ET: Added additional information from Counterpoint Research to note that there are conflicting reports as to whether MediaTek has actually overtaken Qualcomm in US market share.

Correction March 1st, 4:55pm ET: IDC’s report has MediaTek accounting for 48.1 percent of the US Android marketplace, vs 43.9 percent for Qualcomm. This article originally listed the split as 51 percent for MediaTek and 47 percent for Qualcomm, citing numbers from PCMag.