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Sony may launch cheap quad-core Android smartphones in 2013, testing chips by MediaTek

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Sony may launch cheap quad-core Android smartphones in 2013, testing chips by MediaTek
When it comes to the chips used in today's smartphones, MediaTek isn't the first name that springs to mind. That's because its products are used primarily in low-cost handsets made by lesser-known Chinese companies, while the big boys go with silicon provided by Qualcomm, NVIDIA, ST Ericsson and the likes. 

Yet 2013 might be the year for MediaTek to make a name for itself.  The company announced that Sony Mobile has requested samples of its MT6589 quad-core SoC. Note that no actual orders have been placed yet, but if Sony finds the chips suitable, it will likely use them in some of the smartphones it is to announce next year. It is pretty safe to assume that a Sony smartphone with a quad-core MediaTek processor would be relatively affordable.

The MediaTek MT6589 is made using a 28nm manufacturing process and uses Cortex A7 processor cores. It can be clocked at up to 1.2GHz and supports LPDDR2 RAM. The PowerVR SGX544 GPU should be capable of handling 720 by 1280 pixel displays. Camera modules of up to 13 megapixels are supported, along with 1080p video recording.   

If the deal goes through, MediaTek is expecting to ship around 200 million smartphone chips in 2013. The company notes that it has shipped about 110 million units in 2012.

source: MediaTek via Techkiddy

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posted on 03 Dec 2012, 07:22 5

1. redmd (Posts: 1367; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

cheap quad core yeah! hope they perform well.

posted on 03 Dec 2012, 07:34 3

2. xfire99 (Posts: 939; Member since: 14 Mar 2012)

Uhh..Cortex A7? Thats old!

posted on 03 Dec 2012, 07:39

4. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1543; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

They are not old, in fact they are as new as the A15. But they are underperformers, check my comment below.

posted on 03 Dec 2012, 08:35

7. hung2900 (Posts: 965; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)

I read it and I don't know what you wanna tell us.
This phone is budget-friendly and a quad-core A7 is perfect.
Not many apps need multi-threading, but the OS itself needs it, coz Android renders parallelly. Multi-threading helps the OS smoother and more energy sufficient. And Cortex A7 is superb in saving battery.

posted on 03 Dec 2012, 09:15

8. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1543; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

It means that most of the applications run in a single thread mainly, so 4 cores with very low perfomance each one doesn't actually help the phone to run smoother. It's better to have 2 cores with higher performance each.
If you check the CPU of your phone it mainly gets stressed when starting an application. And 4 A7 are not going to do a good job at that moment. Two A9s with a bit of a higher clock are a better solution for that. In other words: not always is better to have more cores.
And due to the fact that you have 4 cores they only will be battery savvy if you can shut them down individually. So we'll have to wait for that.
My comment is that for the low end market there are better solutions that this, and that Mediatek is just pulling a market stunt to sell "quad-cores" when dual cores would make a better work for it. So that people should not put their hopes too high just cause it has "quad-core" in it, as it won't have the power of the quad cores we are used to.

posted on 03 Dec 2012, 07:38 1

3. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1543; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

Before people get their hopes too high: there is a reason why A7 quad core is a bad idea. It's called "single threaded peformance".
It's the same comparision of the Tegra 3 (4 A9s) and the dual cores S4 with krait cores, but the other way around. The dual core S4 can perfom better in some cases (with one main thread). But with the A7 and the A9 the difference is bigger as you realy go to the low end in "single thread performance" and some of the apps can perform really bad there.
Most of the applications in the phone market are not fully optimized for multi-threading. They are either single threaded or based on a heavy main thread. Therefore you'll be better off with a good double core A9 a bit higher clocked than with a quad-core of A7s.
Same goes depends on what you compare with as the single thread perfomance goes like this:
A15 > Krait, Swift > A9 > A7, A8

posted on 03 Dec 2012, 08:14 2

5. Captain_Doug (Posts: 1035; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

I assume the reason for picking them is that they are super cheap. However these processors will probably get amazing battery life. They are the low battery life processor that would pair with A15's in a big.LITTLE setup. All claims of performance are eradicated once the word cheap comes into play.

posted on 03 Dec 2012, 08:25 1

6. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1543; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

Fully on mark! What Mediatek is looking for with this is to add the marketing stunt "quad-core" to their list. But that's doesn't mean they'll provide a good experience to users or that it's the best solution.
As per batery life it will depend on the implementation, if they are able to dinamically switch off some of the cores it will be fantastic. But if they don't having all the time 4 cores sipping battery it may not be a good idea, even if they are just A7. The phones/tablets that will use the big.LITTLE will probably have much bigger batteries than the cheap ones that use this SoCs.

posted on 24 Jan 2013, 02:00

12. Darkerm (Posts: 319; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)

It this Chipset MTK MT6589 Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 with GPU PowerVR Series5XT
better than my Xperia S Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon Dual-core 1.5 GHz with Adreno 220?

posted on 24 Jan 2013, 05:21 1

13. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1543; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

Around the same, the A7 and the Scorpion have similar DMIPs/MHz (similar performance at the same clock speed, 2.1 and 2.0)
So the MSM8260 has better single threated performance (as it is clocked higher) while the MT6589 has better multi threaded performance (as it has two times more cores).
For the GPU they should be also quite similar, but I personally bet on the PowerVR, even they have not really given any real data on it... So I can't be sure.


In other words: you can argue one way or the other based on personal preference :P
But the MT6589 shold be much more battery friendly as it's built on 28nm, while the MSM8260 is still on 45nm. So I would chose it over the Qualcomm. Remember that you are talking about a 2 years old chip (Qualcomm S3 series)...

posted on 24 Jan 2013, 09:50

14. Darkerm (Posts: 319; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)

Thanks for your nice and short but detailed Reply.
Yeah, my Xperia S it battery hungry but I don't care cuz I can play HD games with Adreno 220 .
BTW, can you tell me the different of "MSM8260 and MSM8260A (which got Adreno 225 GPU)" ?

whic GPU is better Mali 400 mp (Quad core) or Adreno 220?

posted on 24 Jan 2013, 12:06 1

15. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1543; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

MSM8260 is an Qualcomm S3 (2010 chip) built in 45 nm with Scorpion cores and Adreno 220.
MSM8260A is Qualcomm S4 (2012) built in 28 nm with Krait cores and Adreno 225.
So the second one is around twice as powerful as the first one (225 doubles the 220 performance and krait cores + higher clock nearly doubles the CPU too)

For the GPUs it actually depends on the clocking.
Mali 400 @233 (SGSII) >= Adreno 220 @266
Mali 400 @400 (SGSIII) >= Adreno 225 @400

They are very similar the ones I put in the same lines, in general Mali is better for printing pixels and 2D (it has more pixel shaders, 4 in fact as that´s what they call "cores") and Adreno better for 3D (as it uses unified architectur and has therefore more vertex shaders)

posted on 25 Jan 2013, 06:09

16. Darkerm (Posts: 319; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)

Now a days gaming generally means 3D. So Adreno is better than Mali in 3D gaming?

posted on 25 Jan 2013, 07:38 1

17. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1543; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)

Yes and no.
Adreno 225 is better than Mali-400? Yes, for the reason you just said.
But between Adreno 220 y Mali-400 I would take the second, as it has more power to move pixels, and the 220 it's a bit short there, specially for high resolutions.
You can never really say an statement "Adreno is better than Mali", you have to tell which model you compare with and even for what pourpose.
EG: Mali-604 > Adreno 320 > Adreno 225 > Mali-400MP4 @400 > Mali-400MP4 @250 > Adreno 225
And so on. I could add the PowerVRs to the list.
Note: you can see the benchmarks here

posted on 03 Dec 2012, 10:30

9. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4319; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

"Testing chips"??!!
What the fudge!!
Makes Sony sound so desperate...darn!!

posted on 03 Dec 2012, 12:51

10. Firedrops (Posts: 249; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)

I really doubt whether using lower a7 quads will be better than using average a9 duals, which are most likely priced similarly.

Other than being a marketing gimmick, I don't see how using very low-end quads offer any better performance than even last year's duals. Also, I for one know that quads heat up the device a lot faster and stronger than duals, the efficiency just isn't there, causing a lot of battery wastage and stunted performance at elevated temperatures.

posted on 05 Dec 2012, 19:52

11. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

It's now called the XPERIA E

posted on 14 Feb 2013, 07:19

18. abinovarghese (Posts: 2; Member since: 14 Feb 2013)

plz help me friends....
i want to buy a new handset....
and am really confused b/n xperia sl and canvad hd....
can you sujest me one...i love to play hd games and to watch hd vedios along with net browsing...so which of these handset will be most suitable for me?am really confused...

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