MediaTek may return to flagship-smartphone chip market in 2H18
Cage Chao, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES
Wednesday 3 January 2018
Taiwan-based IC design house MediaTek's Helio X series flagship smartphone chipsets are expected to stage a comeback in the second half of 2018 at the earliest to brace for the advent of the 5G technology era, while continuing tapping the midrange and high-end smartphone markets with its Helio P series in the first half of the year, according to industry sources.
MediaTek has worked out at least three new-generation chips to be fabricated using 7nm process at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), showing the firm's determination to have a presence in the world's top smartphone chip market, the sources said.
As its customers, including Oppo, Vivo, Sony, LG Electronics and other smartphone brand vendors in emerging countries, are stepping up upgrading their smartphone models in line with the advent of the 5G mobile communication era, MediaTek has been actively developing AI chip solutions. Accordingly, the company is expected to return to the market for top-tier smartphone chips in the second half of 2018 or 2019, the sources indicated.
Earlier in 2017, MediaTek launched Helio X10, X20, and X30 smartphone chip solutions for high-end smartphones, but failed to win customer support despite their technology maturity and performance/cost ratio competing favorably with those of rival smartphone chips from Qualcomm.
Industry watchers said MediaTek was unable to find a large customer base for its Helio X series, mainly because top smartphone vendors such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi have rushed to carry out in-house development of chipsets needed for their smartphones, in addition to fierce competition from Qualcomm.
This forced MediaTek to stop production of Helio X series chipsets and suspend related investments in the second half of 2017 to prevent the gross margins for mobile chip solutions from declining further, the watchers continued.