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MediaTek Unveils High-End Family of Helios Mobile SoCs

With the new ARM-based chips, the company is looking to take on Qualcomm and Samsung in the high end of the smartphone market.


MediaTek is looking to take on larger rivals Qualcomm and Samsung in the high-end mobile chip space.

The Taiwanese chip maker is announcing its Helio premium mobile processor family based on the ARM architecture, with the first smartphones powered by the systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) hitting the market in the second quarter.

MediaTek has a solid presence in the low end of the smartphone market, but it's now making a move to grow its reach in the high end. The company's new top-end chip family consists of the Helio X, a range of SoCs aimed at the extreme performance devices, and Helio P, another collection of premium performance processors. The Helio X is designed for high multimedia performance and mobile computing, while the Helio P chips are aimed at power and heat efficiency and smaller battery size for slim smartphone form factors, according to MediaTek officials.

Both are built on a 28-nanometer manufacturing process.

The company unveiled more details about the Helio X, in particular the eight-core Helio X10, which is the first offering in the new lines of smartphone chips. It's 2.2GHz 64-bit SoC is based on ARM Cortex-A53 cores. The chip also offers a range of other features, including MiraVision, a pixel processing engine that improves sharpness contrast and color, and SmartScreen, another technology to make the screen brighter while keeping down power consumption.

Other features include enabling a super slow-motion camera that offers 1080p full HD videos that can be played back at 1/16th speed and a 120Hz display for an enhanced image quality. In addition, InstantFocus reduces focus time by 1.5 seconds.

MediaTek appears to be aiming at Qualcomm, which is the world's largest maker of mobile chips. Qualcomm's current Snapdragon 810 is in HTC's new One M9 smartphone. The company was hit by bad publicity earlier this year when it was reported that Samsung decided not to use the Snapdragon 810 for its Galaxy S6 smartphone, though a number of other device makers and partners—including Microsoft, Xiaomi, LG Electronics and Motorola Mobility—came out in support of the chip.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm is working on its upcoming Snapdragon 820, which should start sampling in the second half of the year.

Samsung's new 14nm Exynos 7420 chipset is powering the company's Galaxy S6 and S6 edge devices.