The most powerful phone in the US - no longer iPhone or Galaxy? MediaTek enters the United States!

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
The most powerful phone in the US - no longer iPhone or Galaxy? MediaTek enters the United States!
Although the word “MediaTek” might not mean much to Americans, the mobile chips of the same name are actually the most popular smartphone/tablet mobile processors in the world. So, let that sink in…

Sure, the Taiwanese chip-maker might not be TSMC’s number one customer in terms of profit margins, but that’s only because Apple sells a gazillion iPhones, which need… more chips.

But now, MediaTek is taking a big step in order to challenge its more reputable competition from Apple and Qualcomm, and that’s because, later this year, we’re expecting to see the first smartphone sold in the United States that runs on a cutting-edge MediaTek SoC!

Considering smartphones have been around for around two decades, this is a major breakthrough for the Taiwanese company founded back in 1997, which is planning to enter the US market with a “high-end, premium” flagship SoC.

The boring US smartphone market is about to change for the better: MediaTek ready to challenge Qualcomm, Apple and Samsung in the United States

Geekbench 6
Higher is better
Geekbench 6
Higher is better
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better3DMark
Higher is better
vivo X100 Pro2082
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max2958
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra2187

Let’s face it… One of the best ways to describe the US smartphone market is … “boring”.

Compared to Asia and Europe (the two most diverse smartphone markets), the US market is largely a two-horse race between Apple and Samsung. Lenovo-owned Motorola and Google’s Pixel devices are slowly making market share gains but that’s about it.

However, one thing Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and Google phones in the US have in common is that none of them are powered by a MediaTek chip, and that’s a shame, because MediaTek makes some of the best mobile processors on the market right now.

They are perfectly in line with what Qualcomm and Apple have to offer, and ahead of Google’s Tensor, or Samsung’s Exynos (which are more or less the same thing anyway).

Samsung vs Motorola vs Google: Which Android phone-maker will cheat on Qualcomm with MediaTek in the US?

To cut to the chase, as you might’ve guessed, the big question here is… who’s going to cheat on its current chip provider, and switch to a MediaTek SoC?

Is it going to be Google? No one’s going to miss Tensor - that’s for sure. Or could it be Motorola - perhaps if MediaTek comes forward with a better offer than Qualcomm. I mean, it certainly won’t be Samsung…

Although Motorola might be the most likely “traitor” from the top 3 bunch, I’ll go ahead and guess it might actually be a different phone-maker, and that’s OnePlus (with Nothing coming in as a close second in my book).

OnePlus is a Chinese-owned company, and Chinese phone-makers adore MediaTek chips. Meanwhile, Nothing is a new player on the phone market that just made use of a MediaTek SoC for the mid-range Nothing Phone 2a. Rest assured, Carl Pei will continue to be on the lookout for better, more cost-effective chip offers than what Qualcomm has to offer.

Android flagships most likely to switch to a MediaTek SoC in the US: Can Google drop a bombshell on Samsung and Qualcomm?

  • OnePlus Open 2, OnePlus Open 3
  • OnePlus 13, OnePlus 14
  • Nothing Phone 3, Nothing Phone 4
  • Motorola Edge 60 Ultra, Motorola Edge 70 Ultra
  • Google Pixel 10 series, Google Pixel 11 series

To get more specific, I believe the foldable OnePlus Open 2 might be the most likely candidate for the first flagship Android to use a MediaTek chip in the US.

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Compared to traditional slabs, the OnePlus Open isn’t made in large volumes, and it’d be the perfect way to “test the American waters”. On the other hand, a OnePlus 13 (and/or eventually, the OnePlus 14) are also decent candidates that can drop Qualcomm in a pinch. OnePlus already makes and sells several mid-range phones that use MediaTek chips (outside the US, of course).

However, without a doubt, the most intriguing turn of events would be if Google was to abandon Samsung/Tensor to switch to a MediaTek SoC. And believe it or not, this is far from wishful thinking on my part.

We’ve already seen leaks of Google’s roadmap involving the Pixel 10 and Pixel 11 series, which suggest Sundar Pichai & Co are planning to drop Samsung and/or Tensor to switch to a different, more powerful and efficient SoC for future Pixel flagships.

Watch out, Apple and Qualcomm! MediaTek’s Dimensity 9400 could be the fastest smartphone SoC in the world when it launches later this year

Finally, what I find to be the most intriguing question is exactly which new MediaTek chip will become the company’s first SoC to hit the US smartphone market.

This could very well be the existing Dimensity 9300, or the tweaked Dimensity 9300+, which should be a match for Apple and Qualcomm’s current best alternatives - the A17 Pro and Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.

However, the best case scenario is if MediaTek decides to jump straight to the (still) mysterious Dimensity 9400 - a flagship chip rumored to bring groundbreaking performance gains thanks to “30 billion transistors” packed in the (physically) largest smartphone SoC ever.

For context, as mentioned by Alan in this story, Apple’s current leading iPhone chip, the A17 Pro SoC boasts “only” 19 billion transistors.

The Dimensity 9400 is said to be built on TSMC’s latest 3nm tech - also to be utilized by Apple’s upcoming A18 and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4.

So… yes! There’s a chance the most powerful phone sold in the United States by the end of 2024 isn’t an iPhone, or a Galaxy… but an Android flagship phone powered by the Dimensity 9400.

Either way, I hope MediaTek’s entry into the US smartphone market isn’t a pilot study of some sort. Let’s hope MediaTek is planning to extend its products to mid-range and budget phones too, because that’s another category where the company’s processors truly shine - value.

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