Samsung may have been first out of the gate with an eight-core processor, which has been used in some international versions of the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3, but now it has a challenger: MediaTek. The name may not be as well-known as Qualcomm or Nvidia, but its low-cost, high-power chips can be found in a wide variety of Android phones sold all over the world.
MediaTek has now officially announced the MT6592 chip’s availability, which it’s calling the world’s first, “True octa-core mobile platform.” This means unlike the first versions of Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa chip, it’s capable of running all eight cores at the same time, all the way up to a speed of 2GHz.
Although MediaTek calls its flagship processor a world first, it’s one of those “kind of, sort of” situations. According to the press release, the chip uses eight ARM Cortex A7 cores, which differs from Samsung’s more advanced Exynos 5 Octa, which uses a set of four, newer Cortex A15 cores alongside four Cortex A7 cores. An ARM vice president is quoted as saying MediaTek’s chosen configuration is indeed a world first. Samsung recently upgraded its eight-core Exynos with some clever technology which allows all eight to run at the same time, and this process – known as HMP – has been repeated inside MediaTek’s processor.
According to MediaTek, it’ll be ready to put its eight-core chip inside Android 4.3 Jelly Bean phones before the end of the year, and will follow them up with phones running Android 4.4 KitKat in early 2014. As you’d expect, the chip can power some serious hardware, including those with large, full HD screens, 16-megapixel cameras, and 4K video playback.
Rumors have spread Sony may be one of the first to use MediaTek’s eight-core chip in a phone codename Tianchi, which could launch in the coming weeks. Additionally, Samsung has been linked with MediaTek, and it may choose to run these cheaper eight-core chips inside its mid-range flagships by the end of 2014.