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Helio P90 Raises Mid-Premium Bar

January 29, 2019

Author: Tom R. Halfhill

Although overall smartphone sales are stagnant, vendors are still investing in the growing mid-premium segment. MediaTek’s new Helio P90 does its part by boosting performance across the board—particularly for AI processing, which enables vendors to add more smarts to their phones. By targeting handsets that sell for $300 to $500, the Helio P90 brings some premium features to this lower price tier.

These devices are pricier than higher-volume midrange phones but more affordable than the premium phones whose prices can soar to $1,000 or more. Last year, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 710 breathed fire into the mid-premium segment by scorching MediaTek’s contemporaneous Helio P60 in almost every metric. The new Helio P90 pours some water on the 710 and raises the standard for this tier.

The Helio P90 easily surpasses the Helio P60 and its slightly enhanced sibling, the Helio P70—two recent products now demoted to the midrange. The P90 is a veritable forklift upgrade. It cranks up the CPUs, GPU, AI engine, camera interface, video accelerators, LTE baseband, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Only the display output and other I/O interfaces remain the same. Despite the extensive redesign, MediaTek is manufacturing the P90 in the same low-cost 12nm technology as its two predecessors. Slated to ship in phones in 1Q19 or 2Q19 (depending on customer schedules), the P90 sets a new standard in mid-premium features and performance that competitors will be hard pressed to beat this year.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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