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Could MediaTek Be The Catalyst for Cheap 1080p Smartphones?

March 22, 2013 - Written By Tom Dawson

When we talk about smartphones with one of the biggest features to hit the industry in a long time, Full HD displays, you instantly think of a high price-tag. Well, that might not be the case very soon as there’s more reason than ever to push devices down into the low-end of the marketing, with emerging markets across the globe becoming extremely lucrative for smartphone manufacturers. MediaTek could be the driving force behind a revolution – of sorts – in the budget-minded smartphone market, bringing displays that pack that stunning resolution of 1920 x 1080 like every high-end phone is going to, throughout 2013.

You might have heard of the MT6589 from MediaTek, a quad-core CPU based around the Cortex A7 architecture. The quad-core chip has already been seen in a number of devices, and now there’s word that some of the bigger names in the smartphone industry will be using this chip to bring affordable 1080p smartphones to market. Sony, Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE are said to be launching smartphones with the chip soon. This might not sound like exciting news by any stretch but, isn’t it refreshing to see affordable smartphones come with quality specs for a change?

MediaTek are also slashing the price by 10% starting in April, which should encourage companies to jump on board with the already 20 partners that they apparently have. Intel can’t be enjoying the success of this plucky little chip one bit, as they’ve been making a push into emerging markets with their budget silicon, seeing an ARM-based competitor gain ground like this must be unsettling. This could also be the start of a challenge aimed at Qualcomm as well, as they’ve recently made a bit of a stink over the quantity of cores vs the quality of cores, while not known for their affordable silicon, it’s an important part of their business nonetheless.

Despite the fact that budget devices might come with 1080p IPS displays thanks to the MT6589, this doesn’t mean that they’re going to be built well, which could lead to those prices that are around the $250 mark to be too good to be true.