MediaTek aims to boost low-cost Android smartphone performance

The latest system-on-a-chip from MediaTek is powered by a dual-core Cortex-A7 processor

Semiconductor company MediaTek wants to improve the performance of low-cost Android-based smartphones with its latest system-on-a-chip (SoC), the MT6572.

MT6572 is the world's first dual-core SoC with integrated Wi-Fi, FM-radio, GPS and Bluetooth that's targeted at the entry-level segment of the smartphone market, the company said on Thursday.

The heart of the MT6572 is a dual-core Cortex-A7 processor with speeds of up to 1.2 GHz. The Cortex-A7 is the most energy efficient application processor ARM has ever developed, according to ARM's website. The processor is also part of ARM's big.LITTLE architecture, which in its first iteration combines the powerful Cortex-A15 and the Cortex-A7 on one die.

Smartphones based on the SoC can also be equipped with 5-megapixel cameras that can record videos at 720p. The possible screen resolution is up to 960 x 540 pixels, and the MT6572 also integrates MediaTek's HSPA+ modem.

The company doesn't say what smartphones based on the MT6572 will sell for. But Cortex-A7-based smartphones will cost below $100 in 2013 or 2014, according to ARM's website. They will also have a performance that equals a 2010-era $500 high-end smartphone, ARM said.

Both MediaTek and ARM agree that smartphones based on the Cortex-A7 and the MT6572 will redefine and democratize the smartphone market.

Most of the growth in the smartphone market will come from the low-cost segment. Shipments of sub-$250 smartphones will grow from 259 million in 2013 to 788 million in 2018, according to ABI Research. That means they will account for 46% of overall shipments, compared to 28% in 2012, ABI said.

In addition to improving the performance of smartphones on sale in developing countries, operators in developed and subsidized markets are also finding that low-cost smartphones can help them entice consumers that have yet to convert to a smartphone while minimizing the cost related to subsidizing expensive models, according ABI

The first smartphones based on the MT6572 will start shipping in June, MediaTek said without divulging any details on what vendors will launch the products.

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