MediaTek of Taiwan uses Arm’s new tech for mobile devices

The British chip design company Arm, owned by SoftBank, is putting out new tech for mobile devices, and Taiwan’s MediaTek has signed up to use it.

The British semiconductor tech company Arm, owned by SoftBank Group Corp, released new technology for mobile devices on Monday. MediaTek, a Taiwanese company that makes smartphone chips, said it will use this technology in its next-generation product.

MediaTek has been making low- and mid-range smartphone processors for a long time. Recently, it has been trying to enter the market for integrated circuits (ICs) for high-end smartphones, which was once dominated by Qualcomm, which has been in a legal fight with Arm over chip licencing agreements since last year.

MediaTek said in a blog post on Arm’s website that the new products will help the next wave of smartphones work better SoftBank’s shares ended up 8.2% in Tokyo, the most significant jump in over a year. CEO Masayoshi Son is focused on getting Arm listed. MediaTek stock went up by 1.1%.

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“Investors are very interested in any news about AI [artificial intelligence] or chip technology,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market analyst at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. “When they heard about Arm, they jumped on it.”

Arm gives chip designers plans that they can use to make their hardware. At Taiwan’s Computex conference and trade show, it will show off the Immortalis-G720, a chip for video image processing and AI apps, and the Cortex-X4, a processor that will be the brains of the mobile device.

Arm said that both new chips are 15% faster than their predecessors. The Cortex-X4 also uses 40% less power, which is essential for smartphones that must keep their batteries going for a long time.

Arm also said it had “taped out” the Cortex-X4 at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC); this means that it had a chip made at the factory, which is an expensive process usually done by IC designers who sell the end chip.

Reuters asked Chris Bergey, the general manager of Arm’s client line of business if the tape out meant Arm was making a chip to sell instead of its long-time business model of giving the blueprint to chip makers. Bergey said this is a step Arm sometimes takes to help customers test out new manufacturing technology.


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