Mediatek is now the No. 1 chipset provider for Android phones in the US, the company announced on Tuesday, in a shocking reversal of fortunes for usually dominant Qualcomm.
The news comes courtesy of analysis firm IDC’s quarterly mobile phone sales tracker, which says that in the fourth quarter of 2021, Mediatek commanded 51% of US mobile Android market share.
The trick is going to be pushing that number up. Mediatek’s dominance, general manager Finbarr Moynihan said, comes from being the chipset provider in several blockbuster phones costing under $400, most notably the Motorola Moto G Pure, the Samsung Galaxy A12, the Samsung Galaxy A32, and the T-Mobile Revvl V+. Android phones costing over $400 in the US generally rely on Qualcomm or Google processors.
Pushing into a new US market, Mediatek said it has gotten millimeter wave certification “with a major US operator” (likely Verizon) and will have midrange millimeter-wave smartphones in the US in the second half of this year.
This is a big deal, because Verizon still generally prefers millimeter wave in all of its 5G phones. Verizon doesn’t carry the best-selling Samsung A32, for example, as it lacks millimeter wave. Instead, it has the Samsung A42 and the TCL 10 5G UW, both of which have millimeter-wave-compatible Qualcomm Snapdragon 700-series chipsets. Offering millimeter wave will let Mediatek expand its market in the US.
Grabbing Share With Dimensity 8000
Mediatek’s Dimensity 9000 flagship processor significantly beats the performance of last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, the company said when it announced the chipset last November. Now, the “little brother” Dimensity 8000 and 8100 are coming to power high-midrange phones, the company announced.
The high-midrange level—phones generally costing between $400 and $700—isn’t a big category in the US, but it’s tremendously popular in regions like southeast Asia and India.
The Dimensity 8000 uses a 5-nanometer process to the Dimensity 9000’s 4-nanometer process, and it uses ARM Cortex-A78 and A55 cores rather than the newer Cortex-X2, A710, and A510 cores in the Dimensity 9000. The difference between the 8000 and the 8100 is in the clocking of the A78 cores—2.85GHz on the 8100, and 2.75GHz on the 8000.
It’ll be targeted at customers who otherwise would have wanted to use last year’s flagship chipsets to save money, Moynihan said.
“In terms of positioning around computing, this will beat something like the Snapdragon 888 by a few percentage points,” Moynihan said. “In terms of multicore Geekbench, per watt or per power, it’ll do significantly better.”
The company also announced the midrange Dimensity 1300, “an incremental evolution from the 1200 to be fair,” Moynihan said. The Dimensity 1300’s CPU block has one Arm Cortex-A78 core clocked up to 3GHz, three lower-clocked Arm Cortex-A78 super cores, and four Arm Cortex-A55 cores.
Smartphones powered by the Dimensity 1300, 8000, and 8100 will be available by the end of March, according to Mediatek.