How MediaTek became the best kept secret in smartphones

How MediaTek became the best kept secret in smartphones

What kind of chipset do you have in your phone? If you’re reading this article, you probably know the answer right off the top of your head. Maybe it’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Google’s Tensor G2, or A16 Bionic in your brand new iPhone 14 Pro. Or, just maybe, have the MediaTek logo on them.

MediaTek isn’t a company we talk about a lot when discussing smartphones in the US, but it’s a company we definitely should be talking about. I recently attended MediaTek’s Executive Summit in Sonoma and had the opportunity to sit down with the company’s Deputy General Manager of the Smartphone Business Unit, Yenchi Lee. I came off the top with a renewed appreciation for MediaTek’s hidden success over the years, as well as more excitement about where it could go in the future.

Massive success hiding in plain sight

Global smartphone shipments from the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2022 Joe Maring/Digital Trends

It’s easy to think that Qualcomm has complete market control when it puts flagship chips in Galaxy S22And the OnePlus 10 Proand other phones, but MediaTek has a strong foundation as the No. 1 chip for Android phones in the US You may not see MediaTek chips in hype-worthy phones from Samsung or Google, but its focus on mid-range and low-end phones is a strategy that clearly works — very we will.

Besides its huge presence in the US, MediaTek has been the number one provider of global smartphone chip shipments for the past eight quarters, recently accounting for 37% of global smartphone chips compared to Qualcomm’s 28%. These are particle Numbers, numbers that have been really consistent over the last few quarters.

How does MediaTek do it? It’s a MediaTek chip that you’ll find in the Galaxy A32, OnePlus Nord N300or later Motorola Edge. They aren’t the phones that get the most attention in the tech news spotlight, but they are the “normal” phones that people buy — lots of them.

And MediaTek doesn’t stop with phones from those well-established brands. Speaking with Yenchi Lee about MediaTek’s approach of bringing MediaTek chips into more smartphones, Lee said, “We [MediaTek] We actually work with all kinds of small brands too…we do [also] Talking to many new brands now.” He wouldn’t confirm to me Which These trademarks, but it’s an important comment regardless. MediaTek’s mobile business is already in a strong position, but that doesn’t stop the company from reaching out to more smartphone brands and expanding its reach even further.

The MediaTek flagship push we’ve been waiting for

Mediatek Dimensity 9200 in a display case.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

But why is this exciting? This is likely good news for MediaTek’s bottom line, but how will it affect you and yours? In addition to more mid-range MediaTek chips making their way to US smartphones, we may soon see a day when MediaTek’s flagship technology appears in the US as well.

MediaTek used part of this year’s summit to talk about it Dimension 9200the latest flagship chip for smartphones over the next year, namely so far chip. The Dimensity 9200 features an improved 4nm design, reduced power consumption by up to 45%, mmWave 5G, and Wi-Fi 7. If there’s something you want in a flagship smartphone heading into 2023, the Dimensity 9200 probably has it.

Mediatek Dimensity 9200 chip label.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

There is only one kind of uncertainty looming large: availability. Last year’s Dimensity 9000 chip was also incredibly powerful, but unlike a few phones from the likes of OnePlus and Xiaomi, it had a very limited release. Will the Dimensity 9200 see a similar fate?

Do not believe me so. “The main part is still something we want to take advantage of. We’re happy to work with OEMs, and hopefully next year or the year after that – we don’t know yet – they’ll be able to get our flagship 9200 into the US market,” he told me. Something we’re working on, and we’re not stopping there.” MediaTek’s Director of Media Relations and Analysts Brad Mullen also made a good point about mmWave support for the Dimensity 9200, stating, “Having mmWave in the 9200, I think, will definitely help appeal to the US markets.”

“More than a mobile phone” does not mean ignoring the mobile phone

Motorola Edge (2022).
Motorola Edge (2022) has MediaTek Dimensity 1050 chipset. Joe Maring/Digital Trends

A big focus for MediaTek as 2022 ends and 2023 enters is to make the world more aware of its business beyond smartphones. When MediaTek comes up in conversations, it’s often about one of its smartphone chipsets. And while these are important things, MediaTek wants to raise awareness about everything else they do, which isn’t much to admit.

In 2009, MediaTek’s business was largely dominated by three major areas: PC, consumer, and the overall “others” category. By 2026, MediaTek envisions to be evenly spread among consumers, industry, PC, mobile, and other fields. And while MediaTek went from being a $228 billion company in 2009 to an estimated $780 billion in 2026, its mobile business has jumped from 6% to 13% of its operations.

OnePlus Nord N300 5G With Box
Christine Romero Chan/Digital Trends

These numbers are important because they indicate that MediaTek isn’t going away from the mobile space anytime soon. While the company’s slogan for the coming year is “More than Mobile,” Lee made it clear that “More than Mobile” doesn’t mean MediaTek is reducing its focus on mobile, it simply wants people to know it’s not Just mobile company.

“Mobile continues to be our number one priority and what drives our future,” said Mullen. “Obviously there are other areas where you’ve seen that. VR, cars, Wi-Fi 7, Fifth generation networkAnd all that.”

“But we just need different applications, different customers. So when we introduce MediaTek as a whole company, they’ll be able to see that we’re in different spaces,” he said. “Although mobile is still mentioned a lot, we gradually want to see more devices such as PSVR and TV. In the future we hope to announce more news.”

More MediaTek in more places

Sticker with the MediaTek logo in orange.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Will 2023 be the year MediaTek becomes synonymous with flagship smartphones like Qualcomm? I’m really not sure, but I also don’t think MediaTek cares about that.

MediaTek certainly wants its mobile business to be as big as possible, and if it gets to a point where a MediaTek chip gets as much attention and attention as a new Snapdragon, great! But MediaTek is clearly doing well with its less flashy approach to mobile devices, and I can’t say I got the company one bit wrong with that.

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