MediaTek launches new dual-core smartphone chip

MediaTek this week unveiled its new dual-core chipset for Android Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones that combines a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 application processor, an Imagination Technologies PowerVR Series5 SGX GPU, and MediaTek's own 3G/HSPA modem.

The fabless Taiwanese chip maker's MT6577 is currently shipping and is expected to appear in smartphones made available in the third quarter, MediaTek said.

MediaTek is best known for its chipsets for feature phones but has been building up its portfolio of more expensive silicon for smartphones. MediaTek sold 540 million feature phone chipsets in 2011 and just 10 million smartphone SoCs, but the company told PCMag earlier this year that the goal for 2012 to is to quintuple its smartphone chipset unit sales.

That's a market dominated by names like Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Samsung, and Apple, though MediaTek's top-tier mobile chipsets are aimed at mid and entry-level smartphones rather than the high-end iPhones of our world.

The company's beachhead in the smartphone SoC wars is the China market, MediaTek president Ching-Jiang Hsieh said.

"MediaTek's existing HSPA smartphone platforms—the MT6573 and MT6575—have been extremely well-received by customers and consumers worldwide, and are currently shipping with major international brands such as Lenovo, TCL/Alcatel, and other top tier Chinese OEMs," he said.

"The MT6577 adds the next level of performance and enhanced user experience to the MediaTek smartphone family, delivering enhanced user interactivity, mobile connectivity and rich multi-media experience previously only available on high-end devices. Consumers everywhere will now benefit from the affordable, high-performance devices enabled by the MT6577," Hsieh added.

MediaTek introduced its MT6575 Android platform at the Mobile World Congress in February. Now the chip maker is delivering its first dual-core SoC. Dual-core mobile chipsets power 20 per cent of current smartphones and that number is growing, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. MediaTek said its dual-core MT6577 delivers as much as a 40 per cent performance boost over currently available single-core mobile platforms.

The MT6577 supports an 8-megapixel camera, 1080p video playback, HD displays of up to 1280x720) resolution, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS.