PARIS – Gunning for a growing market in mid- and entry-level smartphones, MediaTek Inc. (Hsinchu, Taiwan) is rolling out today a new dual-core mobile phone platform, dubbed MT6577, offering advanced multimedia features similar to those available on high-end smartphones such as Apple’s iPhones 4S.
The new platform, which combines a dual 1GHz Cortex-A9 application processor from ARM with MediaTek’s proven 3G/HSPA modem, features a PowerVR Series5 SGX graphics processing unit from Imagination Technologies, and runs the latest Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” operating system.
For MediaTek, the MT6577’s mission is clear: Piling together the multimedia features available on today’s $600 smartphone to mid- to entry-level $150 - $200 smartphones , and thus changing global smartphone market dynamics in 2012 and 2013.
The MT6577, fabricated by using a 40nm process technology at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., is already in active design-in activities with lead customers, according to Finbarr Moynihan, director of business development, North America and Western Europe. “First models using the MT6577 will emerge in the third quarter of this year.”
Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts, said, “Clearly, with dual Cortex-A9s and HSPA modem on the same die, its biggest competitor is Qualcomm.”
MediaTek already commands the number one position on the global mobile phone chip market, “in terms of volume [but not in revenue],” said Moynihan.
Forecasting a whopping 45 percent compound annual growth rate for mid- to entry-level smart phones over the next five years, Moynihan described the trend as the “democratization of smartphones.”
Global smarpthone sales by wholesale price tier (millions of units)
Red: Premium smartphones (>$300); Pink: High-end smartphones (>$191-$299); Light yellow: Mid-level smartphones ($100-$190); Green: Entry-level smartphones ($36-$99)
Source: Strategy Analytics
He added, “China is becoming the largest smartphone market now.”
Chinese consumers aren’t looking for mobile phones with less features,
Moynihan explained. “They prefer feature-rich phones,” designed to run
apps, rich multimedia, games and mobile Internet. With the new MT6577,
MediaTek plans to ride China’s smartphone wave in a big way. MediaTek’s
new mobile phone platform should be popular among operators in developed
markets like Europe, added Moynihan, because many operators, poised to
drive the data-centric mobile devices in their networks, are suffering
from the rising cost of subsidies for smartphones. The MT6577 should
help increase the volume deployment of mid- to entry-level smartphones,
MediaTek plans to take advantage of the company’s existing, popular HSPA smartphone platforms – such as the MT6573 and MT6575. By making the new MT6577 a pin-to-pin compatible with the current single-core devices, handset vendors can simply drop in the new dual-core device on the same footprint in a system.
MediaTek’s new dual-core 1GHz Cortex-A9 CPU is designed to enable a host of high-performance multimedia subsystems. They include: 8-Megapixel camera; stereo 3-D camera; up to 1080p 30 frames per second/15 frames per second video playback and record capability; 1280 x 720 advanced display capabilities.
For example, if a handset vendor wants to create a smartphone with a stereo 3-D camera, the new MT6577 platform can offer the ability to support dual CMOS camera sensors “with almost no additional cost,” said Moynihan, as the MT6577 requires neither a bridge chip nor a support chip to enable that.