The manufacturer of Chinese semiconductor has held for the second consecutive year MediaTek Executive Forum in London, an event that brings together partners, industry and media to detail the most important milestones of the past months and, above all, to analyze their strategy future.
During several hours of company executives, they conducted a review of the major developments in recent months, their numbers and outlined the steps they will take to try to advance the field that the company will mark the future of mobile devices: the deep learning and deep learning.
Consolidating its commitment in the field of mobility
MediaTek took the first talks to review their results and their releases during so far this year. This manufacturer demonstrated an absolute commitment to keep investing in R & D, since only in the first half of 2015 allocated 23% of revenues.
In that review did not lack references to his new family Helio processors, trendsetters and those who recently met the last members, the powerful Helio X20 deca-core is expected to reach the first devices in the last quarter this year or the first of 2016.
Last year one of the most remarkable messages was to the emergence of a new market segment they christened “Super Mid”, in which these microprocessors offer are included price / performance ratio remarkable in those devices that comprise them.
That philosophy and turnkey solutions – packaged solutions for manufacturers so that they do not have to invest resources in that part of the business- still have good reception for a manufacturer who tries to continue winning manufacturers in the West.
As confirmed in his talks, still it has much room for growth: there are still 6,400 million people to which these devices provide. The company relies on its privileged position to try to conquer not only the users in emerging markets, but those of countries also begin to realize that this type of smartphones with mid -range prices but benefits high ranges – or that’s the idea they want Transmit- are increasingly widespread.
These data were adorned with estimates of their turnover in 2015: the directors of the firm indicated that is expected to reach 400 million smartphones processor -based MediaTek in 2015 globally, of which 150 million will have LTE connectivity. The forecast figures are 40 million units shipped by manufacturers such as LG, Sony (Aqua M5), HTC (One M9 +) or Acer, and other manufacturers such as Kazaam, bq or Archos.
Does it matter what processor?
One of the most relevant data that was presented during the event was the users ‘preferences when choosing their mobile devices.
The priorities of mobile users are clear as MediaTek. Today first is the screen size, while the design is second to what most importance and third, the battery life is granted.
That makes this constant work in the development and evolution of new mobile processors could be questioned, but MediaTek have an interesting argument to defend their position. The presence of increasingly larger screens on these devices means that there is also higher energy consumption without the gain in battery capacity can be balanced.
The idea, of course, is to have more efficient processors, and that’s where the CorePilot technology comes that recently met in its third generation and MediaTek stands out as a major player in its deca-core processors with three “clusters” dedicated to supporting different load three types.
Processors remain crucial but not listed as top priority for users, and at this point influenced James McNiven, ARM, which made it clear that growth seems assured in this segment: 1,900 million mobile processors for smartphones, tablets and even laptops were distributed in 2014 will be 2,800 million in 2020 ARM SoCs not only that. The manager said that by the end of 2015 more than 50% of smartphones would use processors with architecture ARMv8-a.
Deep learning, LA last? Border
The event organized by MediaTek is not intended for large product launches, but can understand where the company is headed. If last year its executives made it clear that success in Western markets was a priority, now his sights are set on a much more ambitious topic in technology.
This is progress in the development of deep learning to apply to mobile solutions. This machine learning system is informed by both our interaction with mobile “local” and the information we share and that share with us other users and services.
Precisely these days we talked in depth about this to discuss current benefits but especially future and assistant Siri voice. MediaTek makers believe that deep learning will be key as I said Jeffrey Ju – a responsible smartphone -division that “smartphones are real smartphones” and serve us as assistant’s truth in all situations.
Kevin Ju, CTO of MediaTek, tried to explain the implications of deep learning will have on the future of these devices. Not only it is applicable to a speech recognition that allows fluid and natural conversations with our mobile devices, but also, greatly affect areas such as image recognition or the Internet of Things.
The combination of these algorithms with our devices provides what they called a “personalized learning” algorithm combine training in the cloud with Big Data with incremental learning that occurs naturally to go using the device. And they say -here, as usual, the suspiciacias- may appear respecting user privacy.
The learning platform MediaTek is composed of different elements involving the CPU, GPU, DSP and ISP imagiQ, and to enhance this field from MediaTek are developing an SDK that will act as an intermediate layer and allow developers to take advantage of advantages of this discipline to their applications.
This platform not only intended to be mobile but also fields such as the Internet of Things or the automotive industry. In the latter, for example, this automatic learning is crucial, for example, to differentiate a person who goes on a printed sign on the road to a real person who is crossing it.
The living room to the Internet of Things
The proposal Manufacturer mobility has moved in recent years to the hall: the new Amazon Fire TV with 4K support, 802.11ac connectivity, HEVC codec support and, of course, the integration of voice assistant for navigation Alexa capitalizes well of MT8173, a quad-core 64 – bit processor is the first ARM Cortex-A72 cores.
David Limp, Amazon, told us about the performance of these devices and the recent commitment tablets low-cost new Amazon Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 integrate the MediaTek MT8135 quad-core that can reach 1 5 GHz.
To this are added CrossMount, a framework that was launched last March and seeks to promote the convergence of all devices, so that we can combine transparently and quickly. Our mobile could become our video surveillance camera, for example, and here the possibilities are really wide.
There have also been some developments in the field of Internet of Things, a segment in which while MediaTek introduced its LinkIt platform. This project has been gaining popularity thanks in part to MediaTek Labs, the community from which developers can obtain documentation and resources for their projects.
We could see some in a demonstration during the event: one based on the LinkIt Rover ONE with a chassis printed in 3D, smart watches or bracelets quantification. During the event, also, it announced a partnership for marketing Tinitell, a small phone bracelet for children who have $ 1 million investment to distribute this product.
We could see live on the Artimen Kido, a smartwatch for children with GPS and 2.5G connectivity for now only sold in China, and even a portable distiller Alchema company also controlled by the LinkIt platform.
In MediaTek also, they took the opportunity to present two SDKs for their SoCs MT7688 and MT7687. While the former is governed by Linux oriented and with more features such as wireless speakers or webcams devices, the second is more targeted to small devices such as mechanisms FreeRTOS door openings parking or switches for thermostats.
These two SDKs have the distinction of being compatible with Apple HomeKit the framework of integrated automation iOS that allows control of multiple devices of this type from smartphones, tablets or the new Apple Watch of the Cupertino Company. MediaTek’s commitment in this area is clear, and it will be interesting to see what the evolution of the company in that catalog of solutions according to its makers makes your margin growth is still very wide.
MediaTek, as David Ku -CFO began explaining the company, and which could have a little interviewer is a company that goes beyond mobile, which develops chips for years that we use daily in optical DVD drives or Blu-ray, smart TVs or WiFi routers. In total, Ku said, they are the basis of more than 1,000 million electronic devices distributed each year, although a figure towered over the others: its role in mobile. According to this directive, one of every three smartphones distributed this year have heart MediaTek.
The company has offices in 12 countries they’ve just opened the latest in Oulu, Finland and has a staff of 11,000 employees actually guarantee that will continue to grow – unlike the general trend in the industry- short term. MediaTek CFO highlighted how his company has already added nearly 6,000 billion in dividends since 2004, but also how investment in R & D -a 20% of its annual revenue approximately- and amounted to over 7,000 million dollars in these last 10 years.
These figures and overview of the company gave way to the analysis of two of the clear pillars of the future strategy of MediaTek in the mobility segment. The first was his role in the Android One project, announced by Google recently and has a clear objective: to provide access to the world of smartphones to those billions of people still remain to have that possibility.
All are good examples of a scenario in which more and more local manufacturers demonstrate their ability to take advantage of a clear advantage: its ambition is not to conquer the world, but only those countries which have their original home , and focus those users and the market is total. That could be the key to the conquest of emerging markets by MediaTek, especially when we talk about that has become the official partner of Google for Android One such provision.
Johan Lodenius, CMO of MediaTek, a reflection was kept for industry and the media: according to your company, this change in economic center of gravity makes your company is facing a prodigious opportunity: to conquer all these new “middle class “that until now had 1,800 million devices, and in 2030, according to forecasts, will reach 4,900 million.
It’s what MediaTek calls “the booming market “means Super”, in which most of the volume of devices will be placed in that middle range that will occupy 80% market share. There will still products range input and high – end products, but the massive growth, assured the executive, you will be here.
The secret of success was in products such as those who have begun to show the latest MediaTek chips, and allow “give a great user experience to more and more people”. Lodenius speech is certainly in line with many analysts and media (myself included), and focuses on a clear reality: many people do not need a high -end because, quite simply, the midrange is good enough. And it is getting better.
But of course: MediaTek is a technology company, and that had much to say, Kevin Jou, CTO of the company. This manager is the creator of numerous patents in the field of mobile telephony (was involved in creating the CDMA and CDMA2000 system), and much of the developed in its long period of 22 years at Qualcomm, a company from which they come other MediaTek executives and engineers.
Jou commented in his presentation how heterogeneous computing seems to be the next big step in processing systems in mobile. The idea is similar to that proposed GPGPU computing on our desktops and tries to harness the power of the GPU for settlement of the problems that normally undertakes the CPU.
Today MediaTek has solutions that could be considered as intermediate. This is his HMP technology (Heterogeneous Multiprocessing) that yes, focuses solely on the CPU and cannot use GPU or DSP as with heterogeneous computing. MediaTek ago about working on such products, and the MT8135 SoC is a good example of this, but there is still a leap into the HC platform on which the processing capacity will win many integers.
This trend will accompany other technologies that will have important practical implications in the coming months and years. It is the case of a ‘Sensor Hub’ that Jou told us that allows reduces global consumption generated by all those sensors that are increasingly integrated into larger numbers in our mobile devices. According to figures from Jou, a conventional solution consumes 10mA, while the hub lowers the figure to 0,2mA and competition can only reach 0.5 mA.
Also interesting are the developments in multimedia player, with an important job in the H.265 / HEVC codecs integrated into different processors (like the first codec H.265 30 fps 4K2K MT6595) or the support of a super mode slow motion recording in H.264 format at 480 fps in the MT6595 and MT6795 and such moves over (at least on paper) to 240 fps achieved with the iPhone 6 and its new camera.
In terms of cameras Jou also highlighted the capacity of its stabilization systems or other technologies as its Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), present in the MT6595 and allows, as in other similar solutions – including manufacturers, too, new iPhone 6/6 Plus) times improve focus and tracking objects in focus.
Another advance we expect to see soon- in fact, we hope that very soon is the technology developed in collaboration with Japan Display Inc (JDI), which will allow us to enjoy a frequency of 120 Hz refresh on the screens of our mobile instead of 60 Hz that we currently offer. That improvement will be crucial to improving the user experience in all kinds of scenarios, and if you have already tried ever a PC monitor 120 Hz (TV) surely will understand its importance.
Clearly, MediaTek has sufficient resources to continue to raise security solutions in the mobility market. His latest processors are used in products of large companies -the new Kindle Fire HD 7 HD 6 and integrate the MT8135 SoC and chipset MT6628- connectivity, but also maintain this commitment to the recent local manufacturers- the Kazam Tornado 348 with its 5 15 mm thick are proof of that, and integrate MT6592-, and although it seems that we will see them in the high ranges more honking, that absence is not for lack of performance.
However, the most interesting are not so much the ability of those bets as the global vision that we could get from a company with this unique strategy – supporting local manufacturers – seems to be gaining ground on its competitors.
That, considering that the commitment to emerging markets is evident with Android One, could mean a turning point in an industry that continually talk about the latest processors from Qualcomm and MediaTek seem to forget that – and, hopefully, other future competitors- have so many ballots (or more) to conquer the hearts of the new generation of mobile devices, wearables, and electronic devices in general that await us.