Coming in second and third were Qualcomm and Intel, respectively. The list, released Monday, ranks vendors on the speed with which they bring products to market and the flexibility of their designs.
Other criteria include the bundling of wireless wide area networks; wireless personal area networks, such as Bluetooth; and/or global positioning system technology. The platform vendors also are judged on their use of x86 or Cortex A-8 or higher processors, and their products' support for 720p high-definition video. ARM11 and lower processors are not considered as competitive in terms of performance, ABI said.
Despite the rankings, the three MID platforms have very different strengths and weaknesses. Intel's x86 processors, for example, can support full PC operating systems. "Among semiconductor vendors providing a processor and platform for MIDs, TI and Qualcomm have very different strengths that would be of varying interest depending on whether the MID vendor is typically a handset, PC, or consumer electronics vendor," ABI analyst Philip Solis said in a statement.
ABI's complete MID Platform Vendor Matrix is available through its Web site.
MIDs include smartphones and other handheld devices for accessing the Web, checking e-mail, and possibly making phone calls. Such devices would include the Apple iPhone. ABI also ranks vendors that make ultramobile PCs, such as some tablet PCs, and netbooks, which are sub-$500 laptops with screen sizes of 10 inches or less.
TI and Qualcomm have been in the MID market longer than Intel, which is planning a major push in the latter half of 2009 or in 2010 with the release of its "Moorestown" platform.
Moorestown comprises a system on chip, code-named Lincroft, which integrates a 45-nanometer Atom processor, a graphics processor, memory controller, and video encoder/decoder. In addition, the platform includes an input/output hub code-named Langwell, which supports a range of I/O ports to connect wireless, storage, and display components. Intel claims Moorestown at idle uses one-tenth the energy of first-generation mobile Internet devices based on Atom.