MediaTek Intros MT8516 Chipset For Google Assistant Devices

May 18, 2017 - Written By Mark Real

Taiwan-based fabless semiconductor company MediaTek has announced a brand new chipset that will power voice-based assistant devices. MediaTek specifically mentioned that the new chipset, which is named MT8516, will support Google Assistant-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets, as well as the Android Things platform. By supporting Google’s IoT initiatives, the semiconductor company hopes to grow its chipset business.

MediaTek’s MT8516 is designed for voice assistants like the Google Home, with the chipset supporting numerous audio inputs for detecting voices. Specifically, the silicon supports eight channels for TDM input and two channels for PDM input. The number of audio channels should be sufficient enough to include noise canceling functionality in some smart devices. The chipset is also designed to be power-efficient, as the device is equipped with a quad-core ARM Cortex A35 CPU clocked at 1.3GHz. The ARM Cortex A35 is essentially the 64-bit replacement of the ARM Cortex A7 and is more power-efficient than the ARM Cortex A53 processors found in a lot of modern budget and mid-range smartphones. Its power efficiency and higher throughput than comparable CPUs make it a suitable processor for chipsets powering IoT devices and wearables. The chipset will also feature Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 support. The MT8516 will be compatible with a wide range of memory types like LPDDR2, LPDDR3, DDR3, DDR3L, and DDR4.

The MT8516 is MediaTek’s latest attempt to gain a substantial foothold in the rapidly growing IoT and voice-enabled device market. Within the past year, voice assistants gained significant traction among American consumers, with voice-enabled speakers like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home expected to experience a massive sales growth in the next few years. To entice device manufacturers to use MediaTek’s solution, the company has emphasized the simplicity and versatility of its design philosophy that allows for quicker commercialization periods. Performance-wise, MediaTek says that it has designed its chipset based on the company’s expertise in creating energy-efficient chipsets while still having comparable performance. MediaTek said that smart devices using its latest chipset will become available by the fourth quarter of this year. The company is expected to reveal more details about its latest IoT chipset in the coming months.