TAIPEI — MediaTek, Qualcomm’s largest rival in the smartphone silicon business, on Wednesday (Feb. 8) unveiled the Helio P25, an extension of the company’s high-end mobile processor family. The new SoC, made on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s 16nm process, combines eight cores with the company’s proprietary image signal processor (ISP) technology as well as dual-camera features.
The latest product enhances earlier versions of the Helio by combining dual-camera support with power-saving technology and advanced multimedia capabilities, the company said in a press statement.
The new Helio P25 offers up to 25 percent better power efficiency, MediaTek said. The octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, clocked at up to 2.5GHz, delivers more power while using less energy, the company said. The new SoC benefits from the recent ARM Mali-T880 dual GPU clocked at up to 900MHz, designed for video and gaming applications.
The chip’s ISP features include shallow depth-of-field and high-performance auto exposure, enabling the capture of high-quality images in a wider variety of lighting situations.
"MediaTek’s Helio P25 paves the way for high-resolution and feature-rich smartphone cameras that enable amazing static shots and 4K2K videos," said MediaTek Executive Vice President Jeffrey Ju. "Supporting two cameras up to 13 megapixels each, the MediaTek Helio P25 redefines expectations for mobile photography."
Smartphones powered by the Helio P25 are expected on the market in the first quarter of 2017, MediaTek said. The company sells smartphone silicon to all of the major handset brands except Apple.
The Helio P25 supports enhanced uploads in LTE (up to 64QAM uplink for LTE-TDD mode) and has advanced power efficiency features, including compatibility with MediaTek's Envelope Tracking Modulator to deliver more processing power and less heat.
The new SoC pushes the technology envelope by supporting low-power double data rate random access memory (LPDDR4x) up to 6GB, which improves bandwidth by up to 70 percent while reducing memory power needs for energy-efficient multitasking and more flexible device use.
The new product announcement comes at a time when MediaTek has forecast slow growth during the first quarter this year. The company’s sales have outpaced the smartphone industry in recent years as it offered low-cost designs tailored for the feature phone segment.
In the smartphone segment, the going is tougher, according to one analyst. Semiconductor vendors are competing on features such as 3G, 4G and 5G modem upgrades up to the Cat 12 level and multiple application processor cores, according to independent analyst Andrew Lu, in a report for research provider Smartkarma. MediaTek has been sacrificing profit margins by spending heavily on rising design, mask, foundry, packaging, and testing costs but has yet to execute its cost-down strategy, Lu said in the report.
The Helio X25 has a Cat 6 modem. MediaTek’s next Helio offering, coming out later this year, the X30, will have a Cat 10 modem, putting it on a par with the modem in Apple’s latest smartphone, the iPhone 7.