FORTUNE -- If any company has a handle on where the big growth opportunities in mobile lie it's Qualcomm (QCOM), the San Diego-based semiconductor maker whose communications chips can be found in nearly every mobile device on the planet, including millions of feature phones, smartphones and tablets made by Samsung, Nokia (NOK), Apple (AAPL), Research in Motion (RIMM), Sony (SNE), LG, HTC and Microsoft (MSFT).
The graphic above -- showing which emerging markets are expected to grow the fastest -- is taken from Qualcomm's Nov. 15 Analysts Day presentation, a document chock-a-block with charts, stats and maps designed to persuade shareholders that there's plenty of blue sky ahead.
One curious thing about the slide deck is that although Apple relies on Qualcomm for its LTE processors, the company's name is never mentioned in the 154-page report, and as near as I can tell only appears once: the tiny image of a white iPhone on page 119. [CORRECTION: The Apple logo and iOS appear on page 10.] The typical photo spread -- such as the one at right -- shows devices that look a lot like Apple's but are made by someone else.
Why the omission? Probably because Apple uses its own system on a chip -- the A6 -- and not Qualcomm's Snapdragon. But it's worth noting that if Apple's going to capture a significant share of the growth suggested in Qualcomm's map above, it's going to have to find a way to crack markets that favor devices that cost a good deal less than the iPhone and the iPad.
Switching foundries isn't easy, says an analyst. It's going to take years and cost billions.
FORTUNE -- Samsung, believe it or not, is still the sole supplier of the processors that run every iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that Apple (AAPL) sells.
On the assumption that Tim Cook will not want to be forever dependent on a company that he claims has stolen Apple's intellectual property and as everyone can see is MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 30, 2012 6:22 AM ET
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