Dual core? Old School. Quad core? Ooh fancy! Octa core? Come again? Yes, that’s right, MediaTek and ZTE are working on a smartphone equipped with an 8 core processor. A smartphone with an octa-core processor woud be the first of its kind on the market. As far as cores go, that would put the Chinese far ahead of their competitors NVIDIA and Qualcomm.
In early November the first rumors of the octa-core arrived. Now the Commercial Times of Taiwan has confirmed the whole thing with their own sources. Accordingly, MediaTek is currently planning the MTK MT6599, an octa-core processor based on ARM Cortex-A15, which will enable a new level of performance in smartphones. According to reports, the chip is manufactured in a 28-nanometer process from TSMC and supports displays with resolutions beyond 1280 x 800. It also can support smartphones with cameras up to 13 megapixels and 3G and 4G LTE networks. The first samples will allegedly be delivered in early 2013 to equipment manufacturers.
In May the first smartphone equipped with the mega chip should appear on the market from ZTE. Rumor has it that the so-called ZTE Apache is already being developed and should be a high end smartphone. Few details about the Apache are known. Up until now, MediaTek had represented the low end dual core processor market and the octa-core is quite a new development.
Among other things, it is speculated that MediaTek could use the ARM big.LITTLE technology, in which the very powerful ARM Cortex-A15 MPCores are combined with the low-power ARM Cortex-A7 core. It would be similar to Nvidia’s Tegra 3 so the computationally powerful cores are used when their power is actually required, while the energy-efficient low power core handles things while the phone is in standby or not in intense use.
Before we get too excited, we have to wait and see whether or not the rumors about the plans of MediaTek and ZTE really materialize. Do you believe in “more power through more cores”, or do you think efficiency is more important?