MediaTek, the Taiwanese chipmaker who enabled the democratisation of the smartphone in emerging markets like India, kicked off CES 2015 in Las Vegas by announcing a tie-up with Google and Sony to launch the world’s first Android Lollipop-based HD television.
The new TV, enabling users to experience movies and shows directly from Google Play along with streaming of apps and play Android games with voice search, will become available later in the year. Being Google Cast ready, the new television will be able to stream content from smart devices, but without any Chromecast-like hardware.
Speaking to IndianExpress.com, MediaTek president Ching-Jiang Hsieh, President of MediaTek said the company is already the leader in television processors and the new SoC is an attempt to merge their strengths in home entertainment as well as smartphones.
Masashi Imamura, President of Sony Visual Products Inc., said the two companies have had a long partnership and the latest product was the culmination of two years of joint efforts. “MediaTek has a long heritage in cross-platform synergy and is well-poised to help us drive innovation in the home entertainment industry. Utilising MediaTek’s cutting-edge TV SoC, this partnership will allow both companies to spearhead the next level of television experience to the market,” he said.
Incidentally, MediaTek is the most commonly used processor in high-end televisions. The company claims three out of every five smart televisions is running its processors. However, with innovation on cost efficiency being one of MediaTek’s strength’s, as it has displayed in the smartphone segment in both India and China, the new television could usher in an era of affordable smart televisions. “We have been investing in television related products for a long time. We are now using our leadership position in the industry to drive a new and better user experience for the user,” explains Vice-President and CTO Kevin Jou.
In fact, MediaTek has been talking about the ‘Super Mid’ segment in smart phones for over a year now. Recent mid-segment phones like the Meizu MX4 and Lenovo Vibe X2 running MediaTek’s Tru Octacore processors offer multi-core processing and power efficiency superior to most top-end phones thus making the high-end irrelevant for many users. In 2014, this super mid has also been accumulating most of the volumes.
“Providing good performance for everyone is as opportunity as well as a problem. You have to have really good products as a really good price and we were the first to do that. Yes, this means cannibalising revenue at the high end. But everyone has to realise that margins are going to go away,” says MediaTek’s chief marketing officer Johan Lodenius. “So while some big companies are seeing their decline in developed markets we are seeing a growth in the emerging markets like India and China,” he says, adding the so-called emerging markets are now developed in their own rights.
For the record, MediaTek shipped close to 40 million smartphones into India last year, out of which 35 million was for local brands.
(The author is in Las Vegas on the invite of MediaTek India)