The second quarter of 2011 will be remembered as an inflection point in the mobile industry with Apple becoming the world’s top smartphone vendor by shipping 20.3 million Smartphones. Nokia continued its decline, down by 34 percent from the same quarter last year and shipped 16.7 million units in the second quarter, with vendors like HTC and Samsung continue to stay behind. It’s important to note however that Samsung shows fantastic market share growth from a slim 3% in the first quarter of 2011 to 13% of smartphones sold in the first quarter this year. Other growing OEM’s include HTC, Sony Ericsson and LG. Apple’s iPhone dominancy in smartphone doesn’t translate to leadership in smartphone operating system as Android leads the game mostly due to the fact that Android operating system is used by multiple smartphone manufacturers. According to latest report by IMS research smartphone shipments in 2011 will reach 420 million units, taking 28% of the total handset market. The research firm also predicts smartphone volumes to reach 1 billion units in 2016 mostly due to lower end smartphones. Here’s a graph (courtesy of IMS research) comparing OEM smartphone shipments in Q1 2011 with Q1 2010:
Sub-system definition is “a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole” (www.thefreedictionary.com/subsystem). When using the term subsystem it all depends on the context as to what system you’re referring to. For example mobile SoC interfacing with camera, requires camera sub-system to handle all of the interface from the external image sensor (camera) up to the internal processor that receives the extracted data to do other tasks such as sending to display, post process, pack, store, transmit, etc. The camera subsystem comprised therefore with physical layer that handles all high speed transmissions and signaling and protocol layer that unpacks the pixels and sends to processor. In a similar way SoC’s display sub-system takes care of grabbing the data, packing it properly, taking care of all sync signals and transmitting it out via the physical interface through the traces to the embedded display. Here’s a diagram that illustrates the building blocks for camera subsystem (in Yellow square) and display subsystem (in light blue square) on the SoC host device communicating with external image sensor and display.