MediaTek unveils low-cost dual-core Android chipset

MediaTek announced its first dual-core application processor, a milestone the Taiwanese chipset vendor hopes will power and spur the adoption of sub-$200 Android smartphones.

The chipset, called the MT6577, features a dual 1 GHz Cortex-A9 application processor based on architecture from ARM Holdings and runs Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich. The silicon has a PowerVR Series graphics processor to support smartphones with 8-megapixel cameras and high-definition 1080p video playback. Although dual-core chipsets have been common in mid-to-high-end smartphones for the past few years, they have not yet migrated substantially down to low-to-mid-range phones.

The new chipset, which also features a four-in-one combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and FM radio, should boost application and browser performance by up to 40 percent compared to single-core platforms, the company said. MediaTek said OEM customers will begin shipping smartphones into the market with the new chip starting in the third quarter.

MediaTek, better known for its low-cost chipsets and strong hold on 2G baseband market, has been building its presence in the smartphone market this year. In February, MediaTek unveiled a similar single-core 1 GHz chip for Android phones.

The new chip comes as chipset manufacturers, faced with maturing markets and weaker economic conditions in the United States and Europe, are increasingly turning to low-cost smartphones in China to improve their sales.

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Broadcom and other silicon vendors are hoping to get into devices that sell for around $160. Even though such devices often generate lower margins, the increased sales could help fatten chipset makers' revenues.

For more:
- see this release
- see this IDG News Service article
- see this PCWorld article
- see this AllThingsD article

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MediaTek takes aim at low-end Android market with new chip