With cooperation with Intel, China-based smartphone application processor (AP) supplier Spreadtrum is expected to start pushing 64-bit 8-core 5-mode 4G products for the mid-range and high-end sectors in the second half of 2015. The China-based supplier is also expected to become the official distributor of Intel's SoFIA chips in China for 4G smartphones and tablets with phone functionality and is expected to become a big threat to MediaTek and Qualcomm, according to Digitimes Research's latest report about the China AP industry.
In 2014, Spreadtrum placed its focus mainly on TD-SCDMA products, and its slow response to China smartphone market's subsidy changes caused its shipments to drop dramatically. Although its shipment performance slightly recovered later in the year thanks to its inexpensive WCDMA products and orders from first-tier vendors such as Samsung, the supplier's overall performance in 2014 was still weaker than in 2013.
To improve its status, Spreadtrum accepted to be acquired by Tsinghua Unigroup, and Tsainghua's investment partnership with Intel also opened the door for Spreadtrum to step into the x86 realm. Since it is becoming difficult to differentiate ARM architecture products, Spreadtrum has turned to create x86 architecture APs, looking to expand into the high-end sector with help from Intel's capacity and manufacturing process advancements, Digitimes Research analyzed.