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China's Allwinner Outsold Intel, Qualcomm In Tablet Processors In 2012

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the allwinner-takes-all dept.

Handhelds 121

An anonymous reader writes "ARM licensee Allwinner sold more application processors for tablet computers in 2012 than Intel and Qualcomm put together, according to this EE Times article that references market researcher Strategy Analytics. Overall one in five tablet processors was provided by a Chinese vendor in 2012, according to the article, partly because they sell chips at half the price of similarly specified chips from better known vendors."

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This is called dumping (4, Interesting)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about a year ago | (#43666727)

This issue has been called into account by electronics manufactures in the western world against eastern manufacturers for decades. Basically, they are selling at or below cost to suck up market share. We (N. America) used to complain a lot louder about it until we started making all of our shit there too. However, popularity does not indicate quality. Just look at the millions of shitty pop records on the market now.

Re:This is called dumping (-1, Redundant)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43666971)

This issue has been called into account by electronics manufactures in the western world against eastern manufacturers for decades. Basically, they are selling at or below cost to suck up market share. We (N. America) used to complain a lot louder about it until we started making all of our shit there too. However, popularity does not indicate quality. Just look at the millions of shitty pop records on the market now.

Yes, I can see how US Americans could get butthurt at selling stuff at or below cost to suck up market shares. I mean, no American Company would do that.

Oh, no sarcasm tags? Damn. Look, America has been doing the same shit. Look at video game consoles, Sony (They be Japan) and Microsoft (American) sold their consoles at losses.

In fact, Cell Phones are sold at losses providing you get a service plan with them.

I'm not going to google any more examples, but seems to me this is normal business practice.

 

Re:This is called dumping (2)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43667239)

apple and samsung don't sell their phones at a loss

the carriers pay part of the cost and add it to your service plan

Re:This is called dumping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667855)

You're nitpicking. To the average North American consumer, they don't get their cellphones straight from the manufacturer. They balk at paying $700 for a smartphone, but $300 + $80/month@2-3 years is perfectly fine.

Re:This is called dumping (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43668075)

which is, 300+20*36 = $1,010 for a $700 phone.

Re:This is called dumping (5, Insightful)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43667243)

Undercutting competition is pretty much the definition of the hallowed free market. He who can sustain the loss the longest wins, that shouldn't surprise anyone.

Re:This is called dumping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667247)

That's not exactly the same thing. In the cases of consoles and cell phones they are simply shifting the cost to licensing and service plans respectively. It is a valid business strategy. Dumping is more about taking the hit long enough to drive your competitors out of business. That is simply anti-competitive.

Re:This is called dumping (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43667317)

That's not exactly the same thing. In the cases of consoles and cell phones they are simply shifting the cost to licensing and service plans respectively. It is a valid business strategy. Dumping is more about taking the hit long enough to drive your competitors out of business. That is simply anti-competitive.

Correction of your first sentence: it isn't even close to the same thing. Everything else is dead accurate.

Re:This is called dumping (2)

poity (465672) | about a year ago | (#43667255)

That's not entirely comparable as the Xbox division is one of MS's most profitable in terms of revenue/expenses. If Xbox division were operating at a net loss then you'd have an argument. Of course, we'd also need data on these Allwinner supplied manufacturers before we can say whether or not they are dumping. I'm not sure it's that clear cut this time compared to what was done previously in the solar industry.

Re:This is called dumping (4, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year ago | (#43667451)

The xbox division ran at a huge loss for many years before it ever turned a profit...

Re:This is called dumping (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#43670453)

Xbox has lost 3 Billion in 10 years, 2012 being the worst. Sony too, which goes to show, if people stop buying Games; you can kiss big name Consoles goodbye. If it's true they will soon cost $100 for a Game (Some do already) then it's over.

Re:This is called dumping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667327)

a valid comparison would be x-box licensee selling china box selling at lower price.

Re:This is called dumping (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43667413)

Look at video game consoles, Sony (They be Japan) and Microsoft (American) sold their consoles at losses.

Selling consoles at a loss actually makes sense because the company doing it owns the IP and there is a "lock-in" effect once games are developed for the console.

Dumping by Allwinner makes no sense, and there is no reason to believe that is what they are doing. The IP is owned by ARM (a British company) and there is no "lock-in": phone/tablet can easily switch since the software is compatible.

Dumping accusations are almost always BS from a competitor clamoring for protectionism and subsidies. If the dumping was a real concern, it would be consumers that complain, rather than competitors. Allwinner is gaining market share because they keep their costs low, manufacture high volumes, and accept modest profit margins. They are winning because they deserve to win. If their competitors don't like it, maybe they could, you know, like ... compete.

Re:This is called dumping (3, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43667805)

ShanghaiBill: Dumping by Allwinner makes no sense ... The IP is owned by ARM (a British company) and there is no "lock-in": phone/tablet can easily switch since the software is compatible.

There's even less lock-in for commodity memory parts, yet the Japanese were dumping those parts back in the 80's. Years later they admitted that's exactly what they were doing.

ShanghaiBill: Dumping accusations are almost always BS from a competitor clamoring for protectionism and subsidies.

Do you have any evidence for such a broad statement, or are we just supposed to accept your assertion at face value?

ShanghaiBill: If the dumping was a real concern, it would be consumers that complain, rather than competitors.

WTF? Why would the consumers complain? I'm dying to hear that explanation.

ShanghaiBill: Allwinner is gaining market share because they keep their costs low, manufacture high volumes, and accept modest profit margins.

Keep their costs low? Semi fab is almost all capital costs, and the equipment costs are the same around the world. The only way to keep costs low in that situation is sweetheart loan rates and government loan guarantees.

Manufacture high volumes. Please name a digital semi fab that doesn't manufacture in enormous volumes. That's the only way you can amortize the cost of a multi-billion dollar fab.

Accept modest profit margins. Please provide a comparison between Allwinner's and their competitior's profit margins. For bonus points, please explain why you would believe the accounting statements of any Chinese company.

Re: This is called dumping (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year ago | (#43668821)

I'd like to hear the answers to those questions too, and if I had mod points you would have all of them

Re:This is called dumping (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43670235)

There's even less lock-in for commodity memory parts, yet the Japanese were dumping those parts back in the 80's. Years later they admitted that's exactly what they were doing.

No they didn't. "Dumping" means selling below cost to drive competition out of the marketplace. Selling below cost for other reasons is not dumping and is not illegal. The Japanese were selling memory below cost because they had excessive capacity and market prices had fallen below break even. If they had cut production, their losses would have been even worse, because most of the cost was capital investment.

ShanghaiBill: Dumping accusations are almost always BS from a competitor clamoring for protectionism and subsidies.

Do you have any evidence for such a broad statement, or are we just supposed to accept your assertion at face value?

Just look at reality. Dumping accusations occur all the time, very, very few of these result in government action. Yet the prices don't go up. They usually continue to fall. Can you name a single instance, in say, the last twenty years, where a foreign company used low prices do drive American competitors out of business and then cranked prices up higher than they were originally? The only thing that comes close is rare earths, and the Chinese companies did not raise the price, they just restricted exports. That is certainly anti-competitive, but not quite the same.

ShanghaiBill: If the dumping was a real concern, it would be consumers that complain, rather than competitors.

WTF? Why would the consumers complain? I'm dying to hear that explanation.

Sure: As the courts have repeatedly made clear, the purpose of anti-competition laws (anti-trust, anti-dumping, etc.) is not to protect competitors, but to protect competition. In other words, they are to defend a competitive marketplace, because that is what is good for consumers and good for the overall economy. So if Allwinner was really dumping, the ultimate victims would be their customers (the tablet and smartphone makers) because they would pay higher prices in the future.

Re:This is called dumping (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43670887)

"Dumping" means selling below cost to drive competition out of the marketplace. Selling below cost for other reasons is not dumping and is not illegal.

No, dumping is defined as either selling below the price in the manufacturer's home market or selling below average production cost. Japan was fond of citing marginal production cost, which in something as capital intensive as semis is a lot lower and essentially meaningless. If Japan was not dumping in the first place, then why did they agree to stop doing it?

Dumping accusations occur all the time, very, very few of these result in government action.

Banks commit fraud all the time and it rarely results in government action. What's your point?

The only thing that comes close is rare earths, and the Chinese companies did not raise the price, they just restricted exports. That is certainly anti-competitive, but not quite the same.

"Not quite the same". Gotta love it - congratulations on them finding a tactic that's even more anti-competitive and an even more blatant violation of trade agreements. But yes, let's ignore one of the biggest and most obvious examples.

ShanghaiBill: If the dumping was a real concern, it would be consumers that complain, rather than competitors.

So if Allwinner was really dumping, the ultimate victims would be their customers (the tablet and smartphone makers) because they would pay higher prices in the future.

So your contention is that the average consumer buying a tablet would know the pricing of the components, and of the competing components, be familiar with the long term strategies and raise an objection based on the fact that it might raise their cost in the future? You must know better informed consumers than I do.

Re:This is called dumping (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43670993)

So your contention is that the average consumer buying a tablet would know the pricing of the components

No, that is not my contention. I said that the tablet and smartphone manufacturers would know. They would be the ultimate victims of dumping. But of course they are not complaining, because Allwinner currently has only 20% market share and is going up against global giants like Intel, Samsung and TMSC, so any accusations that they are trying to "corner the market" by dumping is patently absurd.

Re:This is called dumping (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#43667765)

In fact, Cell Phones are sold at losses providing you get a service plan with them.

It's not a loss, it's a credit. The phone company will never have a loss on a cell phone; you will either pay for it via the plan fees, or you will pay the early termination fee. Either way they get their money. Of course once the term of the contract ends, you become a pure profit center.

Re:This is called dumping (0)

macraig (621737) | about a year ago | (#43667029)

I was willing to grant your argument some shred of credibility until I read the last sentence. Apparently you didn't even take your own argument seriously enough to maintain a straight face.

Re:This is called dumping (3, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43667287)

Apparently you didn't even take your own argument seriously enough to maintain a straight face.

My, aren't we solemn. If making a joke invalidates all serious points, then I've never made a serious point in my life.

Re:This is called dumping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667061)

Loss leading and dumping are wonderful. Free stuff is always nice. If and when they raise prices back up, consumers and investors won't stick around. This is why the natural monopoly myth is so flawed. It isn't other companies a would be monopolist competes against. In fact, they compete against the whole of society which at any time has numerous entrepreneurs and capital investors eager to make a buck. They will jump at any chance they see in faltering or manipulative businesses. Existing companies too can simply plan for the eventual moment when the underseller runs out of money in a number of ways. They aren't helpless inactive bystanders who can only watch the one big bad company make its moves.

There is only one way in which dumping can succeed in messing with the industry to the detriment of society and that is if society is not permitted to compete.

Re:This is called dumping (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43667409)

This is why the natural monopoly myth is so flawed.

This has nothing to do with natural monopolies. That applies to things like a municipal water supply, because it's utterly impractical to build multiple "competing" sets of water mains under the streets.

If and when they raise prices back up, consumers and investors won't stick around ... they compete against the whole of society which at any time has numerous entrepreneurs and capital investors eager to make a buck. They will jump at any chance they see in faltering or manipulative businesses.

So sayeth simple minded economists, who ignore things like barriers to entry. Hint: semi fabs cost a lot of money. They require a lot of expertise. They cannot frictionlessly pop into and out of existence like so many hot dog stands.

Re:This is called dumping (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667207)

People discount "Chinese hacking" stories, but I do remember how the US solar industry got utterly destroyed. First the solar companies were complaining about intrusion attempts and showing logs about attacks. Six months later, out came the panels from China that cost less than it took to gather the rare earths to dope the PV silicon.

Congress saved Harley from being curbstomped when foreign competitors came out with better products. Of course, something as critical to US national security as distributed energy availability [1] gets completely ignored as a "liberal" issue.

[1]: Distributed energy can be an important from a strategic point of view -- it means that a power line taken down means less of a disruption to the grid. However, oil independence seems lost on people in DC.

Re:This is called dumping (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43667307)

oil independence seems lost on people in DC

Not at all. Given some of TPTB there, they consider independence a bad idea.

Re:This is called dumping (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43667419)

People discount "Chinese hacking" stories, but I do remember how the US solar industry got utterly destroyed.

Don't forget Nortel too.

Re: This is called dumping (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year ago | (#43668861)

Because we wanted cheaper solar, so when facts came out that the chinese was stealing the tech and selling it for nothing everyone cheered, except the US solar manufactures. Harley is a household name, we didnt wanna be riding Gofastlongtim bikes, so the US govt put a stop to that

Re:This is called dumping (1)

poity (465672) | about a year ago | (#43667393)

I'm not sure this would qualify as dumping as Allwinner devices aren't competing for the same consumers as Intel or Samsung devices. In solar and rare earths, branding hasn't mattered -- panels are panels, rocks are rocks, they're commodities and no matter where they're from they compete for the same buyers -- so selling them at below market price can have a great impact on the other players in the market. Allwinner chips, however, mostly go in sub $100 tablets that compete only in their own segment -- they play in the low end where Intel and Samsung refuse to play. Surviving in the long tail means you need to compensate with quantity, but it doesn't necessarily mean you negatively affect others.

Re:This is called dumping (5, Informative)

lkcl (517947) | about a year ago | (#43667517)

Basically, they are selling at or below cost to suck up market share.

no, they're not. they're a profit-maximising company, just like any other profit-maximising company. if they did what you're accusing them of doing, they'd go bankrupt.

what we believe they have done is just said, "right: we're going to aim BIG". rather than be scared shitless of the NREs for processor development, they simply decided that they would aim for an extremely large number of processors, and either got a PRC Govt Grant or just got very very good investors. they would then have negotiated an EXTREMELY good rate with one of the fabs, based on the projected volume, and that alone would allow them to sell at the price that they set out to sell at. especially if they placed a cash order for a vast number of chips.

so it's simple economics and sound business sense that has allowed them to sell a 1ghz processor at $7.50 when all *PREVIOUS* competition *INCLUDING COMPETITORS IN CHINA* were selling at around $11 or even $13 for a product that had less features.

the other thing that has allowed them to take the world by storm in this area is the extremely high level of integration in their SoC, as well as working with (i believe they actually own) X-Powers to create an exceptionally low-cost and highly optimised Power Management IC, called the AXP209. the cost of this PMIC is $1.50 in volume.

basically you can get away with $30 worth of parts to do a seriously good little board, which has 1gb of RAM, 4gb of NAND Flash, ethernet, SATA, USB2 and HDMI and more, when everyone else is struggling to hit $35 to $38. that's a big, big difference in this kind of market, and it explains why, when the Allwinner A10 was introduced, that a major recession occurred INSIDE CHINA, in the Electronics District of Guangdong, Shenzen.

i'll say that again, in case you didn't understand. whilst you are accusing China (the country) of "price dumping in the USA", *one very ambitious young company* managed to cause a MAJOR RECESSION IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY.

why is that? it's because the electronics industry in china is critically dependent on and focussed on volume sales. the Allwinner A10 and its associated PMIC and high level of integration left many factories holding out-of-date stock. companies that did NOT move over to the A10 in time were left with stock that they couldn't shift. if they did shift - reneging on contracts in the process, in many cases - they left the SUPPLIERS holding the stock, and i don't know if you're aware of this but China basically operates on a cash-only, cash-up-front basis.

the shift caused by the introduction of the A10 was so vast, and so quick, that it basically wiped out any company that didn't change over in time. including the ODM company that we were talking to at the time, whose clients (factories) all had invested in AMLogic's $13 processor at the time.

so - please do be better informed before making assumptions and accusations such as those which you are making, ok? the country you live in is a very small market compared to china. america is not even particularly relevant, here, because americans expects bigger, better and much much faster than a 1ghz single-core low-power ARM processor. please take more care, ok?

Re:This is called dumping (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43667939)

they're a profit-maximising company, just like any other profit-maximising company. if they did what you're accusing them of doing, they'd go bankrupt. ... got a PRC Govt Grant or ...

Yes, government handouts are an excellent way to maximize profits.

Re:This is called dumping (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43668123)

There is another factor. Chinese OEMs naturally prefer Chinese parts. I say naturally because the datasheets are available in Chinese (not badly translated from English either) and they can deal with local reps and distributors.

Let me be clear that it isn't racism or anything like that. Allwinner is just providing a good service to Chinese companies. Intel doesn't have the networks or the Chinese staff to match it.

Re:This is called dumping (2)

lkcl (517947) | about a year ago | (#43668285)

There is another factor. Chinese OEMs naturally prefer Chinese parts.

you're right... and yet this should not surprise anyone. insert "country X" for "Chinese" and you'll get the same answer. in fact, i think you'll find that "company X prefers to work with parts that are sourced locally".

I say naturally because the datasheets are available in Chinese (not badly translated from English either) and they can deal with local reps and distributors.

with the rhombus tech initiative, we're doing ok. just :) it is extremely hard though. luckily i've been picking parts that are clearly and obviously commonly available, done in volumes so huge that the datasheets leaked in some cases years ago out onto the internet.

but yes: it's much easier to just pay a chinese PCB design house and say "make this please" :)

Re:This is called dumping (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43668531)

There is another factor. Chinese OEMs naturally prefer Chinese parts.

you're right... and yet this should not surprise anyone. insert "country X" for "Chinese" and you'll get the same answer. in fact, i think you'll find that "company X prefers to work with parts that are sourced locally".

For chips? You're kidding (at least if you think it has to do with convenience rather than government pressure). I can believe that non-Chinese chip vendors are doing a bad job on translating their literature or having local reps (perhaps because they realize it's pointless in the face of Chinese government pressure) but there is no other reason to prefer locally made chips. It's not like you're talking about parts built specifically for your product (e.g. plastic moldings). When I pick chips for a design I often have no idea where they're built (it often takes a bit of work to even find out).

Re:This is called dumping (1)

lkcl (517947) | about a year ago | (#43668601)

For chips? You're kidding

no i'm not. the extreme case is buying all china parts and sourcing a 32mhz XTAL that's only available in europe. the lead times alone would absolutely kill such a project, let alone getting the export licenses.

TI's SoCs for example - the ones with a DSP - are actually classified as "weapons" for god's sake! they have BXPA "Munitions" classifications slapped on them.

remember that it's usually the top-end ICs that are exclusively made in e.g. Taiwan: there are plenty of semiconductor companies that can do 65nm and above. supply is *not* geographically restricted.

Re:This is called dumping (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43669263)

  1. Low performance crystals are about as generic as you can get - not so ARM based SoC's.
  2. If you needed to use something like the TI ARM/DSP SoC's, you couldn't buy an equivalent in China anyway, so what does it matter?
  3. It's the very fact that semis are not geographically constrained that means there is no reason to prefer local supply. Shipping costs are negligible, and it's not like your local fab is going to do a special run for you by next week.

Re:This is called dumping (1)

makomk (752139) | about a year ago | (#43670335)

They're a profit-maximising company that's heavily subsidised by the Chinese government. From what I can remember, the main companies who were affected by this were other Chinese manufacturers of ARM SoCs though; Allwinner aren't really playing in the same market as companies like Qualcomm and Intel.

Re:This is called dumping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670591)

Go the western mindset.
If someone is doing it cheaper, they must be dumping.
If someone scored better than me in a test, they must be cheating.
If I'm too fat to fit in an airplane seat, they must have shrunk the rest of the world.
If my kids can't even perform to the school levels set 50 years ago, the levels must be too hard (and they must be cheating)

Whinge whinge whinge. When will the gov'mint fix my problems for me?

So what? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43666739)

Intel sold basically 0 tablet CPUs, and Qualcomm is not that far ahead of them.

How did they compare to Samsung, whoever actually fabs Apple ARM CPUs and Nvidia?

Re:So what? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#43666833)

Intel sold basically 0 tablet CPUs

Yes, yes, we know the Surface Pro sales have been disappointing.

Re:So what? (-1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43667539)

The Surface Pro is based on the ARM Cortex A9, which is made by neither Intel nor Qualcomm. Since ARM specializes in low cost, it's not surprising that Allwinner would have thumped the likes of Freescale, Broadcom, Renesas, amongst others, for tablets. Like the GP said, wonder how they compare to the companies that manufacture Apple's A series?

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670897)

Looks like the whole world only thinks in terms of tablets and what goes in them. Desktop, laptops and other systems the same CPU people say Intel is not selling must have disappeared and nobody noticed I guess. Freaking soap opera for IT nerds.

Re:So what? (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#43670947)

It's approaching a million sales after being on sale only in a few countries, that isn't so bad.

Re:So what? (5, Informative)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43666953)

Samsung is manufacturing those in Texas. Technically that is in the US although the residents there seem to think differently.

As of August 2012,[18] the A5 is manufactured at Samsung's Austin, Texas factory. Samsung invested $3.6 billion in a facility in Austin to produce chips such as processors, and nearly all of that wing's output is dedicated to Apple components.[19] Samsung has invested a further $4.2 billion at the Austin facility in order to transition to a 28 nm fabrication process by the second half of 2013

Re:So what? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43667439)

Texas. Technically that is in the US although the residents there seem to think differently.

No conflict there - residents outside of Texas agree.

Re:So what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43668355)

Technically Austin is in Texas, although the residents there seem to think differently. :-)

(Disclosure: Currently living there.)

Re:So what? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43668617)

Technically Austin is in Texas, although the residents there seem to think differently. :-)

(Disclosure: Currently living there.)

So do you think they're right?

Re:So what? (1)

mirix (1649853) | about a year ago | (#43670651)

Do you know if they do packaging as well?

Often it seems outfits have fabs in western countries, but then send the bare dies off to the orient to be packaged (in epoxy, with pins and stuff- wire bonding the pins to the die, etc. I don't mean onto reels or into tubes / trays, though I imagine that is done at the same place).

Re:So what? (5, Informative)

pchan- (118053) | about a year ago | (#43667257)

These are cheap for a reason, and they're unpopular in the rest of the world for a reason.

The Allwinner chips used in these tablets are all ARM Cortex-A8 based. A Cortex-A8 is basically unfit for a tablet. The lowest end tablets sold by Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Sony, Acer, and Asus 4 years ago didn't have a CPU this slow. Just because they can get away with selling these in China doesn't mean that they are worth anything.

Re:So what? (1, Informative)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#43667647)

Allwinters most popular chip at the moment is quad Cortex-A7.
Rockchip is another Chinese manufacturer making quad A8 (RK3188)

Both are faster than fastest Tegra3.

Re:So what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43668961)

Both are faster than fastest Tegra3.

For what definition of "faster than"? A7 is a pretty weak core. It was optimized for very low power and die area, not for high performance. Tegra3 uses Cortex-A9, which is an older design but actually faster if all else is held equal (same clock speed, equivalent memory subsystem).

(The reason you see quad A7 popping up in cheap Allwinner SoCs is that A7 is tiny. Really tiny. Area has a direct relationship with cost in semiconductor manufacturing. Also, ARM probably charges lower per-unit royalties for smaller / lower performance cores like the A7.)

Re:So what? (1)

julesh (229690) | about a year ago | (#43668977)

Allwinters most popular chip at the moment is quad Cortex-A7.

Really? Because when I look at alibaba et al, what I see is mostly A13 based, which is a single-core Cortex-A8.

Re:So what? (2)

matrim99 (123693) | about a year ago | (#43667913)

Sometimes a person is perfectly fine with buying and using a toaster instead of buying and using a whole oven.

The same goes for tablets; for casual surfing or communications, a slower, smaller tablet is fine for many people. Those who have tasks that require more CPU power will, of course, purchase different tablets more suitable for those types of tasks. But those uses don't' negate the value of cheap, "lightweight" tablets for other users' uses.

Re: So what? (3, Interesting)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year ago | (#43668993)

I find that hard to believe. I've owned one of these cheap chinese tablets, and the only thing it ran was a browser and even that was slow. Very few apps ran fast enough to be useable, and the only games that worked were 10+ years old like bejeweled. So while some people might buy these cheap tablets to "try out a tablet", it won't be long before they're throwing it across the room in frustration and wishing they just bought an ipad

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667927)

Just because they can get away with selling these in China doesn't mean that they are worth anything.

Tell that to the thousands who are buying slow raspberry pis in volume.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669031)

I suppose that statement is kind of true in respect of Apple, since Apple weren't selling any tablets 4 years ago. The original iPad was released just over 3 years ago and had a 1GHz Cortex A8 CPU. I can't be bothered to check what the other manufacturers were selling 4 years ago, but it is iffy if the high end was faster than the Allwinner chip, let alone the low end.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670383)

The lowest end tablets sold by Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Sony, Acer, and Asus 4 years ago didn't have a CPU this slow. Just because they can get away with selling these in China doesn't mean that they are worth anything.

Not worth anything? You know that 'Preview' button you hit before submitting? yeah that one... you should actually review what you are sawing before you actually submit. How can you imply that they are not worth anything? Obviously it is a price that people there(and elsewhere) can afford. Having this many units sold does in fact mean that they are worth something. Are they not profiting? nuff said.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670615)

Erm, nope. The Allwinner chips used in these tablets are A31s. They are QUAD CORE A7 based. A7 are a low power version of the A9. A9 replaced the A8.
The fact that millions buy this and tell their friends to buy it means there is a market for them. Just because you only want the top level tablets doesn't mean you stand for the rest of the market.

so? (3, Interesting)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43666753)

The article mentions 20% volume market share, that's pretty much the chineese share of the world's population. Congrats, you've retaken your own market, good for you guys.

The article also mentions that Apple has a 48% revenue share. What the fuck guys. Pick a measure and stick to it. All that tells us is that Apple phones are probably more expensive per processor than their competitors. Big surprise.

Re:so? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43668245)

20% market share != 20% world population

There is such a thing as socioeconomics.

In Other News (1)

Luthair (847766) | about a year ago | (#43666755)

Luthair outsells Newegg in CPUs delivered to his friend Fred.

Seriously, this is a fairly specific claim, ignoring and ignores the much larger number of CPUs sold in phones.

Move the goal posts and declare victory! (4, Insightful)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#43666815)

So wait, they beat the single-digit of designs that used Intel Atom and failed, combined with the almost nothing of Android tablets not made by Samsung?

How impressive!

Re:Move the goal posts and declare victory! (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43666913)

The rest of the Android category belongs to Nvidia.

They compared to two companies that sell tiny amounts of Tablet CPUs.

Re:Move the goal posts and declare victory! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667129)

Better description would be "the almost nothing of Android tablets with Qualcomm SoCs". The most popular Android tablets--the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire--are neither made by Samsung nor equipped with Qualcomm SoCs. The Nexus 7 is Tegra 3-powered, and the Kindle Fire uses OMAP4. Let's also not forget the Asus Transformer line, which is also a popular line of Android tablets powered by the Tegra.

Benghazi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43666973)

Obama lied, Chris Stevens died.

And from the media, crickets.

You socialist drones know damn well that if this was a Republican executive he would have been impeached by now. But it's lord Obama the Marxist, the media behind him and the legislators all cover, so we get yawns.

Fuck you socialists.

Re:Benghazi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667211)

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment

"Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

SUBJECT: Transparency and Open Government

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public." ...

Barky Oshithead

Fucking socialist liar and you lot just suck it up like the drones you are. "Bush Tax Cuts!"

Allwinner is a winner. (4, Interesting)

Robert Frazier (17363) | about a year ago | (#43666979)

I have a couple of tablets with Allwinner A10 SOC. Even better, there are development boards available with SOC, and some of them are Open Hardware, well documented boards. If you look at Wikipedia's list of Single Board Computers,
you will find the Allwinner on a number of development boards, such as the A13-OLinuXino, Cubieboard, Gooseberry, and Hackberry. In addition to Allwinner tablets, I have a couple of Raspberry PI SBCs. I'm hoping to get one of the Allwinner based development boards in order to see how it compares to the Raspberry.

Best wishes,
Bob

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43667187)

Are there any with an open GPU? This is the big obstacle to getting XBMC on an Allwinner device.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (1)

adibe (2480114) | about a year ago | (#43667529)

Are there any ARM development boards that have an open source GPU driver?

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43667611)

No. Which is all the more reason why the first vendor to open their specs is going to grab a lot of marketshare.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year ago | (#43668679)

Depending on how you define "open source", the Raspberry PI has it.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670627)

Dave Airlie etc seem to define "open source" differently.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#43667675)

GPU is not a problem, video decoder (cedar) is, but there is a working open source driver now for A10. There is also a working open source driver for MALI400.
Both experimental, but nightly builds work ( as good as experimental stuff would)

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43668507)

Can you provide a link to this working open source CedarX driver? Based on the #linux-sunxi logs I read last night, it looked like Allwinner's hardware video decoding interfaces were still a bit of a mystery.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (4, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | about a year ago | (#43667741)

The GPU isn't the problem. It's the fact that Allwinner still hasn't created an Android OMX stack for their hwaccel video codecs.

People don't understand that the ARM SoC world is different than the desktop world - in the desktop world, EVERYTHING graphics-related is on the GPU, and it's all blobbed up.

In the ARM SoC world, the graphics subsystem is split up significantly, with a lot of mix-and-match opportunities.

For example, Mali 400MP GPUs are found in a wide variety of SoCs - Samsung Exynos4, Allwinner, Amlogic chips, Rockchip RK3066, some MediaTek chips, and I think a few others. People say, "when will there be hwaccel on Mali" - the answer is NEVER. This is because hwaccel video decoding is done by separate components in the SoC. In the case of Samsung Exynos, it's Samsung's MFC. In the case of Qualcomm, it's "vidc". In the case of Allwinner, it's CedarX. Amlogic's is just "amplayer" or something like that. FYI, at least the kernel interfaces (albeit not the firmware) for MFC and vidc are open-source, as are OMX stacks for both of those implementations.

You can also see other interesting pairings too - for example, Samsung's MFC engine is very similar between Exynos3 and Exynos4, despite Exynos3 having a PowerVR GPU, and Exynos4 having Mali 400MP.

Samsung's MFC has "good enough" OMX support to do XBMC on Exynos3, 4, and 5.
Allwinner simply has NO OMX decoding solution for Android using CedarX, only their special proprietary player.
Same for Amlogic's amplayer - the only reason XBMC works with Amlogic chips is because XBMC had "special" nonstandard playback support added.

The end result is a lot of people.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43668723)

It's the fact that Allwinner still hasn't created an Android OMX stack for their hwaccel video codecs

Who said anything about Android? I want XBMC on GNU/Linux.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670783)

The end result is a lot of people.

That describes the current Chinese population and Mao's propaganda/incentives that led to it very well.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (0)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#43668921)

Huh? XBMC on Android uses the standard NEON interface for video acceleration, if you want to run it under ARM Linux you'll need to configure your kernel to enable NEON support but you should be able to use the same code as the ARM branch.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670447)

I have a Cubieboard. It has an A10. It's not so 'open' as advertised. The GPU on all A10 devices, a MALI 400, is closed, but the relima project is making good progress in creating an open driver. This GPU however can only be used GLES, not video decoding in hardware. For this there's CedarX which I think is Allwinner IP. For all practical purposes blob support does not work, at least on proper Linux. Maybe Android support is better, I haven't tried it. This CedarX definitely isn't open and I don't know of any reverse engineering efforts that haven't stagnated. There is a cvlc implementation that sort of works, but it's still a far cry from XBMC.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670485)

Just to add this, cvlc works with the Linux blob and is not a re project AFAIK.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#43670813)

Are there any with an open GPU?

Under construction [limadriver.org]

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (1)

Khalid (31037) | about a year ago | (#43667527)

Yes the Allwinner seems to be a real game changer. Those guys : http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/news/ are building an open hardware platform similar to the Raspberry PI and based on the Allwinner A10, if I remember well it's price will be around $25, while it's much more powerfull. There have already been some articles here on Slashdot about it.

Re:Allwinner is a winner. (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year ago | (#43670229)

Thanks for that Wikipedia Suggestion - Now have it bookmarked

Re:Allwinner is a dog (1)

Cherubim1 (2501030) | about a year ago | (#43671107)

So what ? Do you want a medal ? Cheap shit is cheap shit. It won't survive long term.

Also not stabbing people in the face (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year ago | (#43667003)

I get a warm and fuzzy feeling with ARM. With Intel I get a feeling of a place filled with MBAs doing their damndest to screw over everyone from partners, customers, competitors, and their own engineers. Engineers who I picture working in a windowless over-bright florescent nightmare stirring pots of nasty chemicals.

I never was an AMD person because my coding just was happier on Intel products. But with ARM I look forward to them expanding their products and make my life better. With Intel I just don't care. Even their Intel Inside stuff just made me wonder what bizarre negotiations happened to get that crap plastered all over everything. I don't see "ARM Inside" MBA type crap.

Re:Also not stabbing people in the face (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#43667325)

I never was an AMD person because my coding just was happier on Intel products.

Unless you were doing APC work, distributed or symetrical processing, or creating fancy bulk data moves with gpu's, or some really farout math, you shouldn't have noticed a whole lot of difference between the two platforms. How was your code "happier" on Intel? It would have been really happy to run on AMD if you ever ran into Intel's "divide by zero" [wikipedia.org] bug in the mid 90's.

Re:Also not stabbing people in the face (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667455)

Cognitive dissonance: complains about MBA-type marketing bullshit, then uses subjective emotional terms to prefer one CPU vendor over another.

Re:Also not stabbing people in the face (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43667497)

I, and most posters here, are fine with ARM. I do embedded stuff, so I've long forgotten how to work with Intel chips (and good riddance). The question here is why Chinese manufactured ARM processors are so much cheaper than other ARM designs. Chip fab is an insanely capital intensive business, with labor costs barely in the noise, so that doesn't explain the Chinese prices. The most likely explanation is the simplest: dumping. Just like Japan did with memories in the 80's. Of course they vociferously denied it at the time, but years later admitted to it almost matter-of-factly.

Re:Also not stabbing people in the face (2)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year ago | (#43667783)

I recently ordered an number of identical electrical components from China. $2.00 each shipping included. Even though I entered the quantity in a single line item they all came separated shipped. So each component came from Asia by air, each was in its own bubble wrap, each was labeled, and each had its own package it still came to $2.00. I can't see the component being $2. So minimally China is subsidizing them through shipping.

I am fairly sure that few non-subsidized companies on this planet could warehouse, bubble wrap, package, label and ship broken twigs for $2 a unit and not take a loss.

So even if I had a local magic machine that made these components from air, for free, with no staff; I still could not compete in the North American market. My single advantage would be shipping time. Oh and locally the same thing is around $15.

I hate all (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667059)

Kill them all, God!

God says...

LORD: 12:12 And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and
your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your
maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as
he hath no part nor inheritance with you.

12:13 Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in
every place that thou seest: 12:14 But in the place which the LORD
shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt
offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.

12:15 Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates,
whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the
LORD thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may
eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart.

Good for them. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#43667063)

Of course, they're outselling the poorest selling portion of the market so it doesn't really matter.

But regardless, good for them. I suspect some of this is to get big names to consider putting their product in their devices. Seems reasonable if it pays off.

No End of Life Story means Polluted World (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667107)

China as a nation, and the electronics industry, are taking the world straight toward a dystopian future, by making ever increasingly cheap, high inputs products with no end of life recovery, reuse or the like .. look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_waste in contrast

Reliable? (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | about a year ago | (#43667295)

But how reliable are they?

Highly selective metrics (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#43667319)

Allwinner sold more tabletprocessors than Intel and Qualcomm. The report they cite is that Qualcomm is in the top 5 smartphone and tablet processors. As far as I know Qualcomm doesn't do a lot of business in the tablet market because most of their chips are in smartphones. As for Intel, they haven't sold many tablets to date as x86 tablets are not that common. Apple and Samsung are in both smartphone and tablet markets so they should be represented. Am I the only one that thinks this isn't as shocking as it seems?

Re:Highly selective metrics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667355)

china is the new cloud

Re:Highly selective metrics (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | about a year ago | (#43670921)

As in everything has moved, is moving or should be moved to the cloud, right? Indeed.

Re:Highly selective metrics (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about a year ago | (#43667775)

There are currently almost NO tablets with Qualcomm processors.

I think one Lenovo unit has some sort of Qcom in it. Sony's Tablet Z has an APQ8064, but it hasn't hit the market outside of Japan yet. I can't think of any other examples really - but Qualcomm DOMINATES in phones right now.

The tablet situation might change at I/O - lots of rumors that the Nexus 7's replacement will be Qualcomm-based.

NVidia and TI have, so far, been dominating the Android tablet market. iPads have been Samsung-manufactured Apple-designed so far.

Re:Highly selective metrics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43668217)

I believe the MS win 8 tablets are Qualcomm SnapDragon. I know for a fact prototypes exist.

Re: Highly selective metrics (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#43668827)

If you are talking about Surface RT tablets, they've sold less than Surface Pro tablets. Basically Allwinner sells more tablets CPUs than two of the smallest players in the tablet market. I don't find that to be a meaningful metric.

Why not.... (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43667559)

The A8 and A13 processors absolutely rock and dont require a stupid NDA for you to sign just to get your hands on what is needed to use it.

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