MediaTek wants to put its chips in Chromebooks

MediaTek's new Helio X10 processor could bring 64-bit ARM CPUs and 4K video to Chromebooks

Smartphones with Mediatek chips

Smartphones with Mediatek chips

Most Chromebooks today are running Intel processors, but chipmaker Mediatek wants to change that as it sees an opportunity to expand its market beyond Android tablets and smartphones.

MediaTek's new high-performance mobile chip, the Helio X10, already supports Chrome OS, said Kevin Jou, vice president and chief technology officer at MediaTek, in an interview on Sunday ahead of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Besides powering Chromebooks, the chip is also a fit for other thin-and-light laptops and hybrid laptop-tablets, he said.

Chromebooks are growing in popularity as a low-cost alternative to Windows PCs for users who do most of their computing while online. Most Chromebook applications require Internet connectivity, though more applications are moving to offline functionality as well.

Chromebooks don't require fast processors as most of applications processing is done in the cloud. But a model with an eight-core Helio X10 could be a powerhouse, with the ability to support 4K videos and high-resolution screens. The Helio X10 can encode and decode 4K video at 30 frames per second, and also support monitors with 120Hz refresh rates, which is a key specification for high-resolution gaming.

The Helio X10 could also boost ARM, whose processor designs have been losing favor in Chromebooks as vendors switch to Intel chips. No Chromebook yet has a 64-bit ARM processor, and Helio could change that. Independent benchmarks have placed Helio X10 at par in performance with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810, which is considered one of the fastest mobile chips.

For now, the fastest ARM-based Chromebook is Acer's Chromebook 13, which runs on Nvidia's 32-bit Tegra K1 processor and sells for US$325 on Amazon. Samsung sells entry-level Chromebooks with homegrown ARM processors starting at $199.

The Helio X10 pairs four "big" Cortex-A57 cores, which will handle demanding tasks, with four Cortex-A53 cores, which will handle mundane tasks like audio playback. At a press event on Sunday, MediaTek also announced a successor to that chip based on the latest Cortex-A72 design, which ARM announced last month and claimed was its fastest-ever processor design.

The company is also in talks with Microsoft to support Windows 10 on smartphones, Jou said.

At MWC, Mediatek also announced a new chip called the MT8173, which it claims is the fastest 64-bit processor for Android tablets.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MWCMediaTekhardware systemsComponentstabletslaptopsprocessors

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?