MediaTek are one of the better known Chinese processor manufacturers and in the last twelve months, have gone from being a provider of budget silicon to budget devices, to providing the fastest benchmarked processor in the regular AnTuTu article. MediaTek are competing with the likes of Qualcomm (which is facing its own battles in China), Samsung (and their Exynos processor), Nvidia and Intel. If ever there’s a way to report news with either a positive or a negative spin, this article is such a beast! You see, comparing MediaTek’s October to November, processor sales are down 22% during the month. However, comparing November 2014 with November 2013, sales are up almost 60% and October 2014 was MediaTek’s biggest month yet when it comes to chip sales. Not all record-breaking months are following by another! It transpires that November is a difficult year to sell processors in what’s known as “seasonal weakness,” but it’s also known as “inventory adjustments” by MediaTek’s smartphone customers. In other words, MediaTek’s customers are building fewer smartphones this month compared with last month.
MediaTek have already released 64-bit processors into the market but to date, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon series appear to have stolen a march over the MediaTek designs. This is more because the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 is a lower / mid-level processor and very much a successor to the wildly popular Snapdragon 400, which is pretty much all the processor most users need, most of the time. The 410 is reckoned to benchmark at around 125% the performance of the 400 whilst simultaneously reducing power consumption; it’s no wonder manufacturers are opting for this processor, especially if it’s still competitive. MediaTek’s 64-bit processors have been concentrated on the high end of the market, during a time when devices and customers are transitioning between 32-bit to 64-bit hardware. I expect there to be some changes in the market as the dust settles but it won’t be long before MediaTek’s traditional bread-and-butter lower end processors arrive in lower end devices.
What happens then will largely be driven by unit costs as much as marketing departments’ desire to put 64-bit all over the product box and customer expectations (mostly, a responsive device, box appeal quickly wanes if a device doesn’t provide a great experience). How many of our readers are holding out for a 64-bit device next year? How many already have one, perhaps the new Nexus 9 for example? If so, what do you make it? Do your other Android devices seem old and slow now you have the newer architecture in your 64-bit device? Let us know in the comments.