MediaTek is a Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company known for its value-for-money offerings. Although the company hasn’t yet been able to crack the U.S market, its chips are found in dozens of devices being sold in China and elsewhere. The Helio X20 (MT6797) is currently a top-tier, premium SoC from the Hsinchu, Taiwan-based chipmaker that comes with an embedded tri-cluster, deca-core CPU with two ARM Cortex-A72 cores and eight Cortex-A53 cores alongside a Mali-T880 GPU. Along with the Helio X25, the X20 is the only Helio chip to feature Cortex-A72 cores unlike the Helio X10, P10 and P20 chips. While the chip itself was unveiled last year, MediaTek has now introduced a Development Board based on it in association with Linaro. The board is compatible with Linaro’s 96Boards specifications, and supports Android 6.0 Marshmallow, although there’s no word on whether it supports other operating systems officially as of now.
The Board comes with 2 GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 8 GB eMMC 5.1 storage, along with a micro-SD card slot. There’s also an HDMI output, two USB 2.0 ports and a micro USB port, alongside support for 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 and GPS. Meanwhile, like most SBCs (Single Board Computers) based on the 96Boards specifications, there is no ethernet port available on this one either. As per the official spec sheet, the board comes with a 40-pin Low Speed expansion connector and a 60-pin High Speed expansion connector, along with a 16-pin analog expansion connector that supports headsets, speakers and FM antennas. The board will soon go on sale in China, and is likely to be available elsewhere around the world as well, although there's no ETA given for that at the moment. Pricing details are also unclear for now. Meanwhile, the product site is only available in Chinese, with no English version available, although, MediaTek promises that an English version of the site would "soon" be available.
With the developer community increasingly choosing Android over other platforms, the lack of software standardization among different board manufacturers has been a real problem thus far. Which is exactly where MediaTek’s support for Linaro’s 96Boards standard is expected to make things easier for the community, allowing developers to enjoy all the flexibility and creativity the board has to offer. According to Mr. Jeffrey Ju, Executive Vice President and co-Chief Operating Officer of MediaTek, "With our new development board, we give developers amazing computing performance and unmatched power efficiency of the MediaTek Helio X20. We look forward to innovative MediaTek-powered products and applications the Android community will produce, reflecting our spirit of Everyday Genius."