According to a report from Taiwan, MediaTek is trying to become Samsung's new chip partner, now that Samsung has begun distancing itself from using Qualcomm's chips. MediaTek didn't say much about its deal with Samsung, but the company's Deputy General Manager, Zhu Shan-gzu, admitted their relationship with Samsung has been improving lately.
"We made progress little by little in some direction," Shan-gzu said.
MediaTek has already announced some new chips at MWC 2015 this week, one of which includes the brand-new Cortex-A72 CPU core, which is the successor to the Cortex-A57 core seen inside chips such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 and Samsung Exynos 7420.
MediaTek has been making bigger advancements with new chips at the high-end of the market, as demand for these chips has increased. In China, MediaTek is already a strong competitor to Qualcomm, because many Chinese manufacturers prefer to use its chips. MediaTek's chips have also appeared in some low-end and mid-range phones from Sony, HTC, Asus and other known mobile companies, although MediaTek's chips are in much fewer smartphone models than those of Qualcomm.
As Samsung is looking to differentiate itself from other smartphone OEMs who tend to default to using Qualcomm's chips, the closeness to MediaTek may become inevitable. Samsung can build its own Exynos chips, but those usually target only the high-end of the market, and only its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note flagships have them.
It's unlikely that Samsung will begin producing chips for all performance and pricing levels anytime soon, so a partnership with another chip maker, like MediaTek, makes sense.
At the same time, this is a big opportunity for MediaTek to conquer more of the western markets, where we're seeing much of Samsung's success. A strong partnership with Samsung could help MediaTek sell many more chips considering Samsung's significant smartphone market share. It would also give MediaTek a stronger entry in the U.S. market where most smartphone customers have gotten used to either Qualcomm chips or Apple's own chips in iPhones.