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February 11, 2014

MediaTek to cut cost of 4G/LTE smartphones with octa-core processor

Mediatek_MT6595Consumers will soon be able to buy 4G/LTE (Fourth Generation / Long Term Evolution) smartphones powered by a processor with eight cores, thanks to MediaTek’s latest SoC (system-on-a-chip).

The LTE smartphone chip sector is becoming more competitive, with vendors like Intel, Broadcom and now MediaTek launching products to challenge Qualcomm’s dominance. MediaTek has helped cut the cost of low-end phones and now hopes to do the same with more sophisticated smartphones based on the MT6595 SoC, which was announced Tuesday.

The UK company, which designs chips and licenses them to other companies, says the Cortex-A17, along with the ARM Mali-T720 GPU and the ARM Mali-V500 video processor, will allow manufacturers to offer a premium experience more cheaply.

Ian Ferguson, vice president of segment marketing, ARM said:

“We expect to see a rich set of innovation in the mid-range mobile phone segment which is forecast to become a half a billion unit market annually from 2015 and the Cortex-A17 processor will be a key component in that growth. To date, the ARM Partnership has shipped more than 50 billion ARM-based chips and the continued broadening of our processor family will enable our partners to further optimize their offerings in existing and new product categories.”

To improve performance even more, MediaTek has implemented its own CorePilot technology to allow all eight cores to be used simultaneously.

“We want to offer great performance at an affordable price,”

said Johan Lodenius, chief marketing officer at MediaTek.

The company said it is targeting mid-range smartphones and tablets starting at £ 180-200 with the Cortex-A17.

On Monday, Broadcom announced 4G/LTE SoCs intended for smartphones priced below £300 without subsidies. Next year, the cost of the cheapest 4G/LTE smartphones are expected to be below €100 (£85), according to market research company CCS Insight.

The integrated 4G/LTE modem on the MT6595 is capable of speeds up to 150Mbps (bits per second) on the downlink and 50Mbps on the uplink.

MediaTek has also implemented some other interesting features, including hardware support for the new H.265 video codec, letting users record and playback Ultra HD content. Users will also be able to play back video using H.264 and VP9 codecs.

Smartphones based on the SoC can have 20-megapixel cameras and screens with a 2560 by 1600 pixel resolution.

Letting smartphone vendors build affordable devices isn’t just about developing low-cost chipsets, according to Lodenius. The company also offers so-called reference designs—which are essentially blueprints for how to put together a device—to speed up the development phase and lower development costs.

The MT6595 will be commercially available by the first half of year, with devices expected in the second half. Watch out Qualcomm, Mediatek intend to challenge you big time.

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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini