If I'm not mistaken, MediaTek has been coming after Qualcomm's profit margins for a long time. But still, Qualcomm continues to grow sales quarter after quarter. And I believe it's margins are quite healthy.
I can't speak to the relative user experience of using any of those tablets. But I can say that I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab about a year ago for $200 and I'm pretty satisified with it. Not sure when we will get a $100 tablet of comparative quality in the U.S. But I agree with you, Tom, the demand would skyrocket if they fell that low.
HMP = Heterogeneous Multi-Processing ? Then what acronym for the other kind, Homogeneous Multi-Processing? It looks like MediaTek is becoming MarketingTek by hijacking an existing term but twisting it badly. Heterogeneous Multi-Processing has been going on for a long time, with a nice mix of GPP (general-purpose processors), like ARM, PPC or x86, being helped with other programmable processors / co-processors doing graphics (GPU), vector processing, SIMD, network processing, DSP, etc.
Multiple identical cores came along with dual-core, quad-core, and so on, sometimes also helped with accelerators. These are Homogeneous. They can run at different speeds. Then there are Many-Cores which are like ants or termites attacking a problem.
ARM highlighted the big.LITTLE where (largely) the same instruction set might run in two different "size" processors, but not running radically different operations like floating point or 3-D shading. The fundamentals are still the same and each core can run completely on its own. I don't know if this crosses the line from homo- to hetero-geneous.
Maybe MediaTek seems to be clustering a few of these. It doesn't feel like a new class of processors. And loosely tossing around "HMP" is just flak. Heaven help the guy trying to write the code for this complexity.
Junko: Good point. Even Sears had a Droid tablet on sale last fall for $78. But what I'm talking about is a tablet that rivals a current model of the Nexus or iPad or Surface -- and costs about $100. I don't think that is avaiable anywhere yet...am I wrong?
Right now, a Surface, for example, starts at $299, but I think the demand for such a gizmo would triple overnight if the price fell by two-thirds.
Tom, the table prices have already fallen to less than $100 in China.
What's meaningful in the global market context is how much better or higher quality that $100 tablet will become -- and how quickly.
As MTK's executive noted during the interview, I think there remains a huge void in today's global tablet market in the middleground -- tablets that can sit in the middle between iPad and $99 tablet. That's the sweet spot, and MTK is determined to steal that segment.
Thanks for the link, Rick. At a time when so many apps processor guys are competing among themselves -- on the basis of "I have more cores than yours," heterogeneous multiple processing brings a new wrinkle, offering potentials for a "game changer."
I think the market is waiting to see the proof of genuine efficiency benefts coming out of this.
Agreed Rick. Probably the biggest thing holding back broader adoption of tablets is cost. As the market grows, prices will come down. Whether the cost-effectiveness leaders comes from Taiwan or mainland China is TBD. Either way, the competition will drive that cost down.
Speaking in percentages, how much do you think tablet prices will fall in the next three years? 10%, 30%, 50%, or More? Will we see a quality tablet in the $100 range from a major player within that time?
There's enormous pressure to lower costs of tablets. That pressure passes on to the the SoC vendor that has to do a lot of the heavy tech lifting for the complex silicon engines that drive these systems.
As a cost efficiency leader in the smartphone space, MTK has a great opportunity here. Taiwan in general has a long tested ability to cost reduce chip and system designs--look out Qualcomm, someone is coming after your profit margins!
ARM outlined these two approaches (clustered and MP) at ARM Tech Con last year:
They made it clear the clustered approach was going to be the first out the chute and the MP approach would take a little more time in testing. Thus the Samsung Octa had a time to market advantage but the MP tech wasn't ready yet.
Going forward I would expect most SoCs will take advataage of the MP approach as long as it shows efficiency benefits. Hey, its a nice give away from ARM.