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MediaTek is working on a 7nm 5G chipset, expected to be better than P90

The Helio P90 hasn't surfaced in smartphones just yet, but MediaTek is wasting no time on a follow-up.

Published onMarch 5, 2019

The MediaTek Helio P90 chipset.
  • MediaTek executives have confirmed that they’re working on a 7nm chipset.
  • The new chipset will support 5G connectivity and will be positioned above the Helio P90.

MediaTek isn’t always on the cutting edge when it comes to the high end of the market, but the company generally does a great job of delivering competitive budget silicon. Now, the company has confirmed in at interview with Android Authority that it’ll be announcing a 7nm, 5G-capable chipset this year.

Finbarr Moynihan, MediaTek’s vice president of corporate sales and business development for the Americas and Europe, said the 7nm chipset would be positioned “towards the higher end” of the market. The executive added that this processor would be more capable than the Helio P90. The company’s current top-end chip is built on a 12nm process, and sports a variety of machine learning hardware.

“I think you’ll see something moving up-tier from us,” Moynihan said when asked whether we could see the Helio X series name making a comeback as a result. “How we brand it and what it shows up as, I’m not sure. But you’ll certainly see more high-end capability than, say, we’ve exhibited on the P90.”

Qualcomm 5G PowerSave promises 4G battery life on 5G phones
Qualcomm 5G PowerSave at MWC 2019.

Kevin Keating, MediaTek’s director of global public relations, also said the upcoming chipset series would offer 5G capabilities. Of course, the Taiwanese company has its own M70 5G modem, revealed late last year. And it’s previously stated that manufacturers will be able to get their hands on this modem at the end of 2019, with phones launching in the second half of 2020.

A MediaTek executive also told journalists during the Helio P90 pre-briefing last year that its next chipset would offer Arm’s beefy Cortex-A76 CPU core. We don’t know if the 7nm 5G-capable processor is the next chipset in question, but it seems like a no-brainer for the company to switch to the new core here.

It’s unclear if MediaTek will be targeting proper flagship phones with the new 7nm chipset, but the company’s strength is in delivering cost-effective processors. So hopefully phones equipped with the new SoC won’t be as expensive as Snapdragon 855 phones from the likes of LG and Samsung.

NEXT: The best smartphones of MWC 2019

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