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MediaTek's latest chip designed for Android Things and virtual assistants

MediaTek has unveiled its new MT8516 chipset, designed to power smart home devices and voice assistant equipped speakers

Published onMay 18, 2017

MediaTek has just unveiled its latest chipset, but this one isn’t built with smartphones in mind. Instead it’s targeting the latest trend is smart assistant power speakers, or Voice Assistant Devices (VADs) as the company calls them. The new MT8516 has also been pre-certified to support Google’s Android Things platform and will therefore likely end up running the increasingly popular Google Assistant too.

The MT8516 is built around a quad-core ARM Cortex-A35 CPU setup, operating at just 1.3GHz. The A35 is ARM’s most power efficient processor, designed with battery life and low cost in mind while also supporting ARM’s 64-bit instruction set. MediaTek’s platform supports LPDDR2, LPDDR3, DDR3, DDR3L and DDR4 RAM options, depending on the performance target required.

“Smart home products are growing in popularity and MediaTek’s expertise is making connected devices smarter, smaller and more power efficient without sacrificing performance,” - Joe Chen, Executive Vice President and Co-COO of MediaTek

MediaTek has also included a selection of connectivity options, integrating Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 on chip. Audio interfaces are also vitally important in VADs, so the MT8516 also includes support for up to 8 TDM channels and 2 PDM inputs, in order to support audio inputs from multiple sources. This is particularly useful for noise cancellation and is used in applications that attempt to locate the source of a sound, which includes VADs.

Android Things certification is an important win for the chip too, as it means that it’s supported by Google’s developer tools that are designed to help expedite development using the platform. MediaTek says to expect the first Google Assistant powered devices making use of the MT8516 to appear in Q4 2017.

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