Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek has made quite a name for itself in emerging markets selling powerful but low-cost processors for entry-level Android phones.
With its latest chip design, announced late Monday, the company hopes to finally crack the U.S. and Europe and get into some of those higher-end devices.
The MT6595 chip also packs things that some rivals don’t yet have, such as eight processing cores, four of which are using ARM’s latest a17 design. The goal is for the new chip to power LTE-capable smartphones that sell for less than $200 unsubsidized.
“We’ve brought the missing piece,” said Mohit Bhushan, who heads U.S. corporate marketing for MediaTek. “Last year we did not have LTE in our chipsets.”
With many carriers reducing their subsidies on new devices, MediaTek sees an opportunity by powering LTE-capable smartphones that can sell for $199 or even $99.
However, the key here is timing. The new chip, which probably won’t arrive on phones until late this year or early next year, packs many of the features that market leader Qualcomm has on its chips today. However, Qualcomm is marching ahead with advanced LTE features and others in the space are also cranking up their efforts, including Intel, Nvidia and Broadcom, among others.