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MediaTek integrates modem into latest apps SoC

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:modem? quad-core? smartphones?

MediaTek has begun shipping its latest quad-core mobile apps processor which the Taiwan-based company claims is the first in the market to have an integrated multi-mode modem.

The Cortex A7 SoC seems to be MediaTek's answer to the just-released Snapdragon chips from Qualcomm optimised to address China-specific requirements such as support for TD-SCDMA, CDMA 1xAdv and HSPA+. Both are based on ARM's Cortex A7 cores. (See Multimode radio transceiver integrated with Snapdragon chipsets.)

The difference is that "we are sampling now, and the chips are ready for mass production in the first quarter of 2013. We have a customer shipping in January handsets with MediaTek's quad-core chip inside," claimed Finbarr Moynihan, MediaTek's general manager for business development. Qualcomm's quad-core chips will start sampling in the second quarter of next year, with volume production scheduled for the second half of 2013.

MediaTek's SoC, fabricated using a 28nm process, integrates its multimode UMTS Rel. 8/HSPA+/TD-SCDMA modem, a quad--core Cortex A7 CPU sub-system from ARM and a PowerVR Series5XT GPU from Imagination Technologies.

10-fold growth
Drawing a sharp distinction from mobile chip vendors who have seen the market shrink due to the dominance by smartphone chip giants like Qualcomm and Samsung, MediaTek said its smartphone chip shipments increased more than ten-fold this year, from 10 million units in 2011 to 110 million units.

Key to this success was MediaTek's mid- to entry-level smartphone chip platform based on its single-core Cortex A-based MT6577 running at 1GHz and a dual-core, 1GHz Cortex A9-based MT6577. That platform was primarily designed for the under $190 smartphone market, Moynihan said.

With the new quad-core SoC, MediaTek said it plans to move up the value chain to tackle the market for premium- to high-level smartphones everywhere but the U.S.

In the first half of 2012, Strategy Analytics ranked MediaTek second (with a 12.8 per cent share of revenues) in the global cellular baseband processor market that includes2G, 3G and LTE. While MediaTek's strength in the feature phone market is well known, MediaTek made significant progress with the "help of its strong 3G smartphone processor shipments," according to the market researcher.

MediaTek's quad-core SoC adds HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA to the company's established 3G/HSPA modem. This is "the first platform for HSPA+, supporting Dual-SIM" so users don't miss calls, Moynihan said.

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