In the race to provide phone manufacturers with a 10nm SoC chip, MediaTek is neck and neck with Qualcomm. A company road map shows that the firm’s first 10nm chipset, the Helio X30, is supposed to rollout from a TSMC foundry sometime this month. By reducing the process size, the chip will produce more power using less energy. The first commercial devices to be sold with the Helio X30 installed should be in stores during the second quarter this year. Qualcomm’s 10nm Snapdragon 835 chipset will be employed on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ in certain countries starting in the second quarter.
MediaTek is a fabless chip supplier which means that its designs are built at a third party foundry. There is speculation that MediaTek will cancel orders for the Helio X30 placed with TSMC, by 50% due to lack of demand. While Meizu and LeEco had both agreed to produce a handset that would run using the Helio X30, LeEco had to bow out due to financial problems. And Xiaomi has begged off of a deal it had with MediaTek to build a custom 10nm Helio X30 chipset for its phones.
MediaTek is still waiting to hear from Oppo and Vivo, which together could ship as many as 220 million smartphone units in 2017. Neither manufacturer has announced whether it would support the Helio X30 in a new smartphone this year.
The chip features a deca-core CPU. The most powerful tasks are assigned to a pair of Cortex-A73 cores running at a clock speed of 2.8GHz. Four Cortex-A53 cores with a 2.2GHz clock speed handle middle of the road chores. Four Cortex-A35 cores take care of the light housekeeping at speeds up to 2GHz. The chip supports up to 8GB of RAM and features a quad-core Power VR GPU.