Mediatek is announcing a new 1 Ghz single core Cortex A9 chip called MT6575, that is optimized for Android 4.0, and should play a big role in the low-end smartphones in the next few years. I’m actually surprised we are not seeing more single core Cortex A9 chips around instead of the same old Cortex A8 that we still see in mid-end phones today.
Cortex A9 has the advantage over Cortex A8 in every way, except perhaps being a little more expensive, but definitely worth it. It’s completely out out order, while Cortex A8 still has in-order execution of instructions, so it can be around 25% faster than Cortex A8 at the same clock frequency, and this is just one of the advantages. But perhaps even more importantly, it’s more energy efficient than Cortex A8. Many phones from the single-core generation couldn’t last too much on a charge because those single core chips were too inefficient, especially the ones manufactured at 65 nm.
The Mediatek MT6575 is capable of providing 720p video playback, 3D support, support for qHD displays, and is able to provide 35% improvement in browser performance and 20% improvement in graphics performance compared to their competitors in the same segment, according to benchmarks done by Mediatek. Speaking of graphics performance, they say it uses a PowerVR 5xx GPU, but they aren’t specifying which one.
Mediatek believes that their chip will power a lot of sub-$200 low-end phones in the near future, that will come directly with Android 4.0 on board. If they can provide adequate performance for ICS in a low-end phone, I think that will appeal to a lot of people who are switching from regular phones to smartphones, because they will be impressed with how polished Android 4.0 is. These sub-$200 phones should start appearing on the market in the first quarter of this year.