MediaTek hopes new SoC will democratise the smartphone market and allow the company to expand beyond Asia
Taiwanese semiconductor maker MediaTek says its new MT6595 4G LTE octa-core system on a chip (SoC) will make high-end smartphone manufacturing more affordable and allow the firm to expand from Asia into the US and European markets.
MediaTek CTO Kevin Jou told TechWeekEurope that the chip is the first LTE-capable octa-core SoC to be powered by the recently announced ARM Cortex-A17 processor and the world’s first to support the H.265 4K2K video codec.
“With all those firsts, we place this product in the premium segment of mobile solutions,” said Jou. “It has all the advanced technology that can compete favourably against any of our competitors’ top tier solutions.”
The MT6595 pairs four Cortex-A17 CPUs with four architecturally aligned Cortex-A7 processors using ARM’s big.LITTLE technology. All eight cores are used when users require peak performance, with any combination of cores used for less demanding tasks – offering greater power efficiency.
The Cortex A-17 offers 60 percent more powerful performance than previous generations of ARM chips, but Jou says it’s not just about power. He claims that the MT6595 addresses the problem of thermal management, meaning its processors can keep up performance levels for longer.
It is coupled with an integrated Imagination Techologies PowerVR Series6 GPU and can support various video codecs, 3G and 2G bands, wireless charging and is the first Mediatek mobile platform to support the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.
Mediatek was founded in 1997 and produced optical storage chips for PCs and DVDs before turning its attention to mobile phones in 2000 and smartphones two years ago. Jou says by offering cheaper products than the competition, it “democratised” the mobile phone industry and removed the barriers to entry.
“We enabled hundreds of companies and very quickly the price came down for feature phones,” he says. “With the MT6595, the price of a so-called premium phone will come down quite significantly in the next year so.”
The company’s existing clients include Asian giants Acer, Asus, Lenovo, LG, Huawei, ZTE and Sony, but it hopes its latest product can allow it to expand into new markets and compete with US giant Qualcomm.
“We have customers who have already penetrated into the US, South American and Western European markets,” said Jou.
“In terms of technology, we are actually surpassing Qualcomm in a few categories,” he added, claiming that ‘internal benchmarks’ showed it compared favourably with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974.
“It’s not just performance. Our product will be much, much better in terms of power efficiency and thermal management.”
Jou says it will target its traditional customers who want to get close to the market leaders, but adds that the firm has ambitions of its own.
“We would like to provide this product to customers who are interested in being in the higher-end market segment, including [Apple and Samsung],” he declared. It’s maybe a long shot with Samsung, but we would like to provide the opportunity to them.”
What do you know about ARM? Take our quiz!