Mediatek has seen rapid adoption in low-end and mid-range phones in the past few years, mainly in China, but its chips are quickly spreading to the western markets, as well. One of its more popular chips was the octa-core Cortex-A53-based MT6752, which is now about to get replaced by the Helio P10 SoC.
The Helio P10, announced today, also has an eight-core CPU split into two clusters. Mediatek didn't specify the frequency of the lower-end cluster (presumably no lower than 1.2 GHz), but the higher-end one goes up to 2 GHz. That's the same frequency as the "mid-range" cluster inside the Helio X20 will have when it comes out by the end of the year.
As the CPU is based on the 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture, it should be future proof from a platform standpoint, and it also comes with some useful features such as hardware acceleration for AES encryption. That should enable encryption out of the box with future Android versions without experiencing significant performance slowdowns. Users could also simply enable it manually from the Security settings.
The Helio P10 comes with a next-generation Mali-T860 GPU that's focused on higher power efficiency compared to previous generations. The GPU only has two "cores," but it still manages to be 20 percent higher performance than the Mali-T760 inside the MT6752 while consuming 30 percent less power.
The GPU also brings support for the new Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC) technology and the HEVC video codec. However, it won't support the VP9 codec, which is now required to decode HTML5 YouTube videos efficiently in hardware.
The SoC comes with its own integrated Cat. 6 (300 Mbps downlink, 50 Mbps uplink) LTE modem. The modem supports 2x20 carrier aggregation and the CDMA2000 band, which could make it useful for the U.S. market.
Mediatek's new SoC will also support cameras up to 21MP resolution, or dual-cameras that come with a 16MP+8MP setup. It can play videos of up to 1080p resolution at 60fps.
The Helio P10 will be manufactured on TSMC's 28HPC process node, which should bring slightly more power efficiency to the chip compared to the previous 28HPM process node. However, it should still be behind TSMC's 20 nm node as well as its 16 nm FinFET process node, which should be adopted by higher-end chips from other companies later this year.
Mediatek has shown some aggressive chip designs this year, both at the mid-range and the high-end, but its slow adoption of next-generation process nodes should keep its chips away from more premium devices.
Mediatek's Helio P10 will sample in Q3 this year and will enter mass production by the end of the year, which means we probably won't see it in too many devices until early 2016.