MediaTek launches quad-core tablet chip

Taiwan's MediaTek has launched a new quad-core ARM processor for tablets that is slated to be used in an upcoming IdeaTab device from Lenovo.

The MT8125 chip features a quad-core processor built with ARM's Cortex A7 CPU and can run at up to 1.5 GHz. It has a dedicated graphics processor with support for 1080p high-definition video playback and image capture from cameras with up to 13 megapixel resolution.

In addition, the MT8125 chip can be equipped with modems for 3G HSPA+, 2G EDGE and Wi-Fi wireless communications.

Lenovo will use the new chip in an Android tablet called the IdeaTab S6000, according to MediaTek.

The Taiwanese semiconductor company is best known as a chip maker for handsets circulating in Asia, but the company is also hoping to break into the tablet sector, a major market for growth, said Roger Sheng, an analyst with research firm Gartner.

The iPad, which is powered by ARM chips designed by Apple, is currently dominating the world's tablet market. But new processors from MediaTek could help pave the way for more rival devices running Google's Android OS, Sheng said.

To market its chips, MediaTek can rely on its strong business relationships in both Taiwan and mainland China, which PC vendors including Acer, Asus and Lenovo are based. "I think the major advantage for MediaTek is their experience in the Chinese market," he added. "Almost all the Android tablets are made in Taiwan and China, except for Samsung in Korea."

PC vendors are also looking for new growth opportunities. Both Acer and Asus have already signaled they plan to release more Android tablets in a time when the PC market continues to struggle.

"The timing is good for MediaTek," Sheng said. "7-inch, 8-inch tablets have also grown in popularity."

The MT8125 is just the latest system-on-a-chip (SOC) from the company. In December, MediaTek released another quad-core SOC meant for Android devices.

Last year, MediaTek had a 1 to 2 percent share of the tablet processor market, according to Sheng. But this year, he expects that figure to grow to over 5 percent.

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