MediaTek unveils artificial intelligence processor

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Mar 15, 2018 - Page 12

Handset chip designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday launched its first artificial-intelligence (AI)-based processor, the Helio P60, to support growing demand for machine learning on mobile devices.

In response to lost market share to rivals, particularly Qualcomm Inc, MediaTek last year reshaped its product strategy to focus on the mid to high-end Helio P series.

The company wants to bring advanced features to flagship mid to high-end smartphones, MediaTek chief executive officer Rick Tsai (蔡力行) said in January.

It is reportedly to supply the Helio P60 to Chinese smartphone vendor Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀移動) for its latest Oppo R15 model, undercutting Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 700 processor order.

The Helio P60 is the first of two AI-specific processors MediaTek plans to launch in the first half of this year, it said, adding that smartphones powered by the processor would be available globally starting early next quarter.

The latest processor, built using 12-nanometer technology, brings NeuroPilot AI technology to smartphones with on-board AI for face detection, “smart” imaging and video, MediaTek said in a statement yesterday.

Chinese companies — including Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊), AI company SenseTime (商湯科技), Megvil Technology Ltd (曠視科技) and Silicon Valley-based visual computing technologies developer ArcSoft Inc (虹軟) — are designing their products and services based on the Helio P60 processor, the statement said.

AI in smartphones is not new, as it has powered some basic functions for years, but “advanced AI-powered features will become crucial differentiators for smartphone vendors,” Gartner Inc said last month.

The market researcher expects AI use in smartphones to proliferate through 2022, with 80 percent of all smartphones coming equipped with on-device AI capabilities, up from 10 percent last year.