The global smartphone application processor market grew by almost 50 per cent year on year to reach $3.6 billion in the first quarter of 2013, with Qualcomm continuing to lead the way.

According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Qualcomm took a 49 per cent revenue share during the period, followed by Apple with 13 per cent share and Samsung with 12 per cent.

However, in volume terms, Chinese players MediaTek and Spreadtrum are gaining ground, to jointly hold around one quarter of the market.

According to Sravan Kundojjala, senior analyst with the firm, Qualcomm benefited from “high-profile design wins such as the HTC One, Google Nexus 4, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z”.

The smaller tablet application processor market also saw “impressive” growth, increasing by 52 per cent year on year to reach $0.74 billion in Q1.

Apple, TI, Samsung, Nvidia and Intel made up the top five vendors by revenue share, with Apple’s 40 per cent well ahead of TI on 13 per cent and Samsung with 10 per cent.

While Samsung is benefitting from its in-house relationship with the South Korean giant’s devices unit, the analyst firm noted that rivals such as Intel and Marvell had also scored tablet wins from the company in recent months.