Mediatek has been on a roll lately, especially since not only have many of the other chip makers (with the exception of Qualcomm), almost given up on the high-end chip market (Nvidia, Samsung, TI), but the low-end market has also been completely ignored by the better known chip makers. This allowed Mediatek to become entrenched there, and it’s now also easier for them to push towards the mid-end and higher ends of the mobile chip market as well.
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According to a new announcement, Mediatek will be showcasing their new chips at CES in a few days – chips like the MT8135, which will be their first big.Little chip, made of a cluster of 2 Cortex A15 cores for high-end tasks, and another cluster of 2 Cortex A7 cores, for lower-end tasks.
Then there’s the “true 8 core chip” (MT6592) that they’ve been talking about for a while and trying to promote it heavily, which they should also showcase in some devices at CES. I’d still go with a regular quad-core chip, or even the dual-cluster big.Little chip mentioned above, over a chip that will almost never use most of its cores, except perhaps in some games that will take advantage of it.
I think Mediatek and others are starting to build 8-core chips not necessarily because that’s what the next-generation applications will need, but more because that’s what they think the users will want, and what will make them buy more devices, much like Samsung and others think that phones need 2.5k and 4k resolutions. We may need 8 core chips eventually, but I think the bigger priority for 2014 should be bringing 64-bit ARMv8 chips to consumers, so we can move off the 32-bit ARMv7 as early as possible in the next few years.
Mediatek should also announce the “world’s smallest chipset” (according to them), that will be targeted at wearables. Everyone expects this market to grow quite big over the next few years, so that’s certainly a smart move from Mediatek, to try and conquer the market early on. I doubt we’ll see huge wearable sales in 2014, but it’s a good thing for them to let OEMs know that they can be a reliable partner in this market from day one. We should hear more details about Mediatek’s new chips in just a few days at CES.