A third of smartphones sold globally in 2019 had inbuilt hardware security

Sales of smartphones with embedded hardware security (secure smartphones) grew 39% year-on-year (YoY) in 2019, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s IoT Security Service. Systems based on a secure element accounted for 89% of shipments, while those with a PUF represented 10% of secure smartphone sales in 2019.

Commenting on the importance of smartphone security, Counterpoint Research Analyst Satyajit Sinha, noted: “Smartphone users are increasingly storing personal and professional data including digital banking, payment and financial information on smartphones. This attracts cyber attacks with victims losing real assets, such as money, personal data and loss of privacy. Securing smartphones should be a high priority for the smartphone industry.”

Sinha added further: “Traditionally, mobile security was mostly about software applications, however, with the increased threats, there is a need to secure hardware at one end and data at the other. There is a rising need for end-to-end security. Secure chipsets like secure elements, PUFs, and TPMs embedded in the smartphone are currently the best solution to meet increased security needs.”

Exhibit 1: Global smartphone sales with embedded hardware security market share by volume in 2018 vs 2019

Counterpoint Research Global Smartphone Sales with Embedded Hardware Security Market Share by Volume in 2018 vs 2019

Source: Counterpoint Research – Global Secure Smartphone Sales by Model Tracker 2019

Commenting on the competitive landscape in the secure chipset market, Counterpoint Research Vice President, Research, Neil Shah, noted, “The secure element is a coprocessor within the SoC which assures tamper-resistance and is capable of securely hosting applications. From the iPhone 5s onwards, Apple has been embedding a secure enclave (eSE) provided by the Global Platform. The communication within the secure enclave and application processor is isolated, which secures data from malware attacks. Huawei also implemented an integrated secure element (inSE) on its SoCs, the HiSilicon Kirin 960, 970, 980, 990 and 710. Qualcomm has adopted the secure element as a secure processing unit (SPU) in the Snapdragon 845, 855 and over 855 which enables brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo, LG, Sony, Samsung and Google to implement hardware embedded security in its premium smartphones.”

Shah further added: “Samsung implements a physically unclonable function (PUF), that serves as a unique identifier in the Exynos 9820 and 9825. Where Google takes a different approach by implementing a TPM (Trust Platform Module), a miniature version of a hardware security module (HSM) soldered into the PCBs of its Pixel series smartphones.”

Exhibit 2: Global smartphone sales with embedded hardware security by SoC vendor, 2019 (excluding TPM)

Counterpoint Research Global Smartphone Sales with Embedded Hardware Security by SoC Vendor, 2019 (Excluding TPM)

Source: Counterpoint Research – Global Secure Smartphone Sales by Model Tracker 2019

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in Technology products in the TMT industry. It services major technology firms and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analysis of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are experts in the industry with an average tenure of 13 years in the high-tech industry.

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