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Helio P60 Targets “New Premium”

March 13, 2018

Author: Linley Gwennap

As smartphone technology stagnates, the difference between premium and midrange phones becomes harder to detect. MediaTek’s new Helio P60 processor blurs that line further, bringing premium features such as “big” CPUs and AI acceleration to a lower price tier. This approach taps into a growing trend among Chinese OEMs such as Lenovo, Oppo, and Vivo: packing high-end capabilities into phones that sell for $200–$400. The P60 will appear in these devices within the next few months.

MediaTek had earlier indicated that as part of a “pause” in its premium-tier line, it didn’t plan to update its Helio X30. Yet the new P60 is in some ways more powerful than the X30, allowing lower-price phones to implement many of its high-end features. For example, the P60 features four Cortex-A73 CPUs operating at up to 2.0GHz; the X30 has only two such CPUs, albeit at a faster 2.5GHz. Previous P-series chips employed only “little” Cortex-A53s.

The P60 is also the first P-series processor to feature neural-network acceleration, indicating a growing demand for AI acceleration across all prices. It implements a dual-core AI engine, based on the Cadence Vision P6 intellectual property (IP), that quadruples the peak performance of the premium X30 design.

Validating the emergence of the new mid-premium segment, Qualcomm disclosed plans to release a new family of processors dubbed the Series 700. These products will extend the performance of the mid-tier Series 600 (e.g., Snapdragon 660) while sitting below the premium Series 800 (e.g., Snapdragon 845). The first Series 700 models will sample in the second quarter and should appear in phones before the end of this year, well after the Helio P60 reaches the market.

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