MediaTek Inc (聯發科), the nation’s biggest handset chip designer, yesterday launched a chipset aimed at the under-US$200 smartphone segment as the company hopes to establish a foothold in the fast-growing low-cost smartphone market.
The mid and entry-smartphone segment is forecast to grow from under 200 million units this year to over 500 million units in 2016, according to Strategy Analytics’ handset component technologies service director Stuart Robinson.
The new MT6577 chipset, a dual-core platform, supports 3G and High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technologies and runs the latest Android 4.0 — codenamed “Ice Cream Sandwich” — operating system, MediaTek said in a statement.
“MediaTek’s existing HSPA smartphone platforms — the MT6573 and MT6575 — have been extremely well-received by customers ... and are currently shipping with major international brands such as Lenovo Group (聯想), TCL Alcatel, and other top tier Chinese OEMs [original equipment manufacturers],” president Hsieh Ching-jiang (謝清江) said in the statement.
The Hsinchu-based company said its customers are expected to ship the first batch of smartphones based on this new MT6577 chipset soon.
In April, Hsieh said revenue from smartphone chips would make up a bigger share, or as high as 25 percent, of its total revenue this quarter, up from around 20 percent last quarter, backed by new product launches.
Hsieh said it was the company’s strategy to safeguard its gross margin by offering more new smartphone chips to stave off persistent price competition and to offset falling feature phone demand in China.
In addition to the MT6577, MediaTek is scheduled to launch the MT6250 chipset for ultra-low-cost smartphones and the MT6255 cost-saving chipset for feature phones later this quarter.
The company has raised its smartphone-chip shipments by 50 percent to 75 million units this year, compared with a previous estimate of 50 million units. The main growth will be from China as more users are replacing their phones with low-cost smartphones, according to the company.
Revenue is expected to grow by as much as 20 percent to NT$23.5 billion (US$784 million) this quarter, from last quarter’s NT$19.6 billion, MediaTek said.
Shares of MediaTek fell 0.91 percent to NT$272 yesterday.