Qualcomm Inc has maintained a firm grip on the Sony Mobile supply of processors, but a new report suggests that Sony is in the market for a new manufacturer, and it looks like they are considering MediaTek. Based in Taiwan, MediaTek is best known for a string of low-end processors used primarily in ZTE, Lenovo Group, and Huawei entry-level devices, and have often been cited for lackluster performance, even when taking into consideration the low expectations of a bargain price device.
Big names that have signed on already with MediaTek fabless production include; Motorola Inc, Sharp Corp, and Acer Inc. Other major labels like HTC, Apple and Samsung rely on Qualcomm Inc, but have been repeatedly hounded by MediaTek for an opportunity to prove their quad-core processors could perform. Sony is the next large firm to break the ice and ask for samples of the processors for testing. With this positive news and explosive growth in mainland China, MediaTek has raised its projections at the end of 2012 to 110 million chips shipped this year.
The order from Sony is not for production levels, and the limited number of chips being shipped to the Japanese electronics giant will serve testing and R&D purposes while the company considers moving away from Qualcomm. Specifically, Sony has requested MediaTek MT6589 Quad-Core SOC chipsets. The chips use Cortex-A7 processor cores and are built on the 28nm manufacturing process, clocking them in at 1.2GHz with support for LPDDR2 RAM. If Sony moves forward, users should expect the chips to be able to handle 1280x720 screen resolutions, 13MP cameras, and 1080p video recording.
Sony picking up MediaTek would likely result in a large increase of shipments next year, possibly up to 200 million units. That increase of 80 million processors would be a major milestone for the company as it attempts to make new inroads into the Qualcomm empire. The biggest fear for many analysts and users is their track record of disappointing units. Much of their design process is built on porting the ARM White Papers, except going as bare bones as possible. This reduces costs and makes for a much more profitable venture, but leaves consumers with lackluster performance and disappointing overall quality.
Should consumers be excited about the entry of a low-cost processor in more devices? Can inexpensive quad-core devices compete in the global market? Most signs point to yes on the latter, and no on the former, but only time will tell.
Source: Taiwan Economic News