The timing of these developments isn't a coincidence.
Qualcomm's dominant position in the high end of the smartphone market forced competing chip makers to concentrate on the low end of the market, where smartphone manufacturers aren't as wedded to the idea of using Qualcomm's components. That and the emergence of so-called reference designs have changed the smartphone market at its core, according to Saadi.
Reference design programs provide a one-stop shop that includes the tools and resources device manufacturers need to quickly and cheaply put out devices.
"Programs from Qualcomm, MediaTek and Spreadtrum have helped lower the cost of developing a smartphone by something like a third. The collapse of smartphone pricing in the affordable segment has mainly been driven by this development," Saadi said.
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