TAIPEI — MediaTek, the world’s third-largest chip designer, said it expects new octacore products coming out in the second half of this year to help lift sales out of the doldrums.
The company Thursday (April 30) reported first-quarter 2015 revenue of NT$47.5 billion ($1.55 billion), down 14.3% from the previous quarter, and up 3.3% from the same period a year ago. MediaTek forecast second-quarter 2015 sales in the range of NT$45.2 billion to NT$49 billion. The company also expects second-quarter smartphone shipments to be in a range of 85 to 90 million units, up from 80 to 85 million units in the first quarter.
The Hsinchu, Taiwan company’s sales are likely to shine by the latter half of the year. MediaTek, Qualcomm’s next-largest rival in the smartphone business, is looking forward to a 50% jump in product shipments during the second half of this year compared with the first half. While Qualcomm on April 22 cut its full-year revenue and profit forecast for a second time, MediaTek is maintaining its earlier outlook for 2015 shipments of 450 million smartphones, of which 150 million will be LTE products.
“People out there still want to buy smartphones, especially from the emerging market perspective,” said MediaTek Chief Financial Officer David Ku in a conference call to announce the company’s second-quarter financial results. “Likewise, in China, people still want to upgrade from 3G to 4G. For the second half, we’re looking for an opportunity to ship 275 million units.”
Ku said he expects global brands that are already MediaTek customers, such as LG Electronics, to start adopting MediaTek’s high-end octacore chips during the second half of this year.
Breaking it down
The company is making gradual progress moving from low to high-end 4G products.
In the first quarter this year, MediaTek’s products at the dual core and below level accounted for roughly 40% to 45% of shipments. The company’s quadcore chips came in at roughly 40% to 45% of unit shipments, and octacore was roughly 10% to 15%. For the second quarter, MediaTek expects growth in the octacore segment, up by about five percentage points while quadcore will remain the same at about 45% of shipments and dual core will decline to about 35%.
Most of MediaTek’s products on the market are shipping in handsets in the category four segment that aggregates two 10 MHz carriers enabling peak data rates of 150 Mbps, according to Ku. For category six, which aggregates two 20 MHz carriers enabling a 300 Mbps peak data rate, MediaTek has two products coming out in the second half, he said.
One is the high-end Helio X20 and the other is its 6755, a mainstream octacore in what Ku termed the category six plus segment.
MediaTek said it will ship both Cat 6 products in handsets before the end of this year. The company will launch the mainstream chip prior to the X20, which will be out in the fourth quarter of this year. Ku said customers have been quite positive about the X20.
“That’s a new architecture,” Ku said. “It’s a three-cluster architecture. You can think about this like switching gears with a gearbox. We really do think that this architecture can provide a good balance both from the performance perspective and from the power consumption perspective.”
Most of MediaTek’s products coming out in 2016 will be Cat 6 plus, Ku said.
—Alan Patterson covers the semiconductor industry for EE Times. He is based in Tiawan.