Taiwan-based semi-conductor chip-maker, MediaTek, may have come a long way since starting off as a small-time designer of inexpensive chips for household appliances, but the company is still struggling to give American semi-conductor giant, Qualcomm, a run for its money at the premium-end of the smartphone market. According to a report released earlier today by Taiwanese business publication DigiTimes, demand for Qualcomm's latest top-end smartphone SoC, the Snapdragon 835, is still outpacing shipments of MediaTek's flagship offering in the segment, the Helio X30. The Taiwanese company will reportedly be unable to ramp up shipments of its Helio X30 SoCs until the second quarter of this year, helping Qualcomm gain an upper hand in their battle for market share, even though both are reported to be struggling with unfavorable 10nm FinFET yields.
One of the major reasons attributed to Qualcomm's continuing success against MediaTek is its software and firmware support that is said to be significantly better than that of its Taiwanese rival. According to industry insiders quoted by DigiTimes, the Snapdragon 835 ecosystem has already managed to outpace the Helio X30 ecosystem thanks to superior support, resulting in better economies of scale for global OEMs. While most observers and tech enthusiasts may have already expected as much, the unnamed industry sources quoted in the DigiTimes report also seem to have indicated that the Snapdragon 835 will dominate the high-end smartphone market this year, with the Helio X30 expected to power relatively more affordable, mid-range offerings. While the Snapdragon 835 will power upcoming smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8, devices like the Vernee Apollo 2 will come with the Helio X30 under the hood.
Qualcomm and MediaTek have been locked in a well-documented battle for market dominance over the past few years, with the latter making giant strides to become one of the leading names in the global smartphone industry in recent times. While larger and more celebrated companies like Intel, NVIDIA, and Texas Instruments have failed to make any significant headway into the highly lucrative mobile market until now, the smaller and unfancied MediaTek has managed to emerge as the leading stand-alone semiconductor company to compete against the might of Qualcomm. However, with more and more smartphone vendors like, Samsung, Huawei and now, even Xiaomi, starting to design their SoCs in-house, it will be interesting to see the strategies of companies like Qualcomm and MediaTek going forward.