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Helio A-Series Targets Low End

August 7, 2018

Author: Mike Demler

The Helio brand started as MediaTek’s premium smartphone-processor line, but with the introduction of the A-series, it now covers all price tiers. The new Helio A22 integrates four Cortex-A53 CPUs running at up to 2.0GHz. The company manufactures it in TSMC’s 12nm process, keeping pace with Qualcomm’s recently released Snapdragon 429—an entry-level quad-core processor that employs the same technology. The A22 is already in production, and Xiaomi is using it in the low-cost Redmi 6A smartphone, which sells in India for 5,990 rupees (less than $90).

The A22 extends MediaTek’s strategy of building processors that push high-end features into low price tiers. It cuts costs by using half as many CPUs as the Helio P22, which targets $150–$250 phones, but it has the same Imagination PowerVR GE8320 GPU. Other features the company is extending into entry-level phones include its Pump Express fast charging and Transmitting Antenna Switching (TAS) 2.0 technology.

The A-series processor carries other features over from the midrange and premium Helio P- and X-series chips, including dual Imagiq ISPs, Miravision display enhancement, and a built-in sensor hub. Although the A22 omits a dedicated neural-network accelerator, developers can use MediaTek’s NeuroPilot SDK to run face recognition and image-enhancement algorithms on the CPU and GPU, albeit with lower performance and higher power consumption. The software works with Google’s Android neural-network API (NNAPI). The chip will run Android P Go Edition (now in beta), which Google designed for low-cost phones with low DRAM capacity.

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