High-end Android smartphones are still too expensive, Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek believes, and is now targeting a new market in the upper price bracket that doesn’t consist of the very best models money can buy. The new Helio P60 SoC is meant to spearhead that value-oriented push, being the world’s first mid-range silicon that goes beyond the 14nm process and attempts to deliver an unprecedented level of energy efficiency and performance in the market segment that’s just below that of ultra-premium Android devices like the newly released Galaxy S9 lineup. The Hsinchu-based firm is now expecting the Helio P60 to carve a niche of its own and help convince more consumers they don’t need to pay over the top for functionalities they don’t need, with QHD screens and — by extension — virtual reality applications being some such features.
The Helio P60 only supports FHD+ displays, though it can still power high-resolution dual-camera setups entailing a 20-megapixel sensor and a 16-megapixel one, or a single 32-megapixel system. The only emerging technology that’s entirely embraced by the chip is artificial intelligence and its various applications such as computer vision and facial recognition, with MediaTek being convinced those capabilities will be much more beneficial to consumers in the immediate future than something like VR will. The tech giant expects the rest of the industry to agree and accept its value-oriented proposition that’s an integral part of the Helio P60 package, especially as such a strategy largely served as the backbone of the Chinese smartphone industry in recent years, fueling its immense growth. With almost every second new handset in the world now being produced by a company from the Far Eastern country, MediaTek believes its latest mid-range chip for Android devices will have no shortage of buyers, or at least that’s what it’s hoping will be enough to revitalize its sales.
As technology continues advancing and becoming more affordable, mid-range mobile devices are doing a better job of competing with their ultra-premium counterparts and are widely believed to be eating into their sales. Worldwide smartphone shipments and sell-through performance stagnated for the first time ever in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to most industry trackers, whereas Samsung didn’t share any pre-order performance figures of its Galaxy S9 lineup for the first time since it started doing global smartphone pre-orders circa 2014, suggesting its latest Android offerings haven’t gained as much momentum as the Galaxy S8 series did last year.