“System on a chip” designs are important when it comes to tablets and smartphones. They have low power consumption and take up less room on a device. They also aren't substantially slower than alternative solutions.
Big brands like Qualcomm and Nvidia often get the most attention when it comes to SOCs, but not in the budget market. In China and Tiawan, many handset makers turn to companies like MediaTek to provide low cost chips that allow them to bring out the most affordable devices possible. Up until now, these budget chips have only come in single and dual core solutions. Starting in the first quarter of 2013, this is finally changing.
Android Authority previously reported that the first quad-core SOCs from MediaTek would arrive in 2013. Now we have word that mass-production of the chip will begin in the fourth quarter of this year. This means that the first devices to run on the quad-core MediaTek 28nm solution will actually surface in first quarter of next year.
What brands will employ these low-cost chips? Don't expect big names like Motorola or Samsung, at least not right away. MediaTek has no plans to reach out to bigger manufacturers at the moment, though local brands like Acer and Lenovo could eventually deploy these quad-core SoCs. More than likely, the chips won't make their way outside of the Asian market anytime soon.
Even if we don't see these processors outside of Asia, MediaTek's move to quad-core is certainly good news. Why does it matter? Their move indicates that quad-core solutions are getting cheaper. As costs drop, more and more budget chip makers are going to follow suite and offer affordable quad-core chips aimed at the low and mid-range market.