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Unisoc T760 Launches Tanggula

May 25, 2021

Author: Aakash Jani

Tanggula, a mountain range in China, is taking on a new meaning. Under that mountainous moniker, Unisoc plans to deliver four new 5G –chip families to revitalize its smartphone lineup. It kick-started the campaign by releasing the Tanggula T760 for midrange smartphones.

The new chip integrates a 5G modem based on Unisoc’s Makalu design, named after the world’s fifth-tallest mountain and befitting the alpine analogy. It boasts an octa-core CPU, a quad-core GPU, and a new deep-learning accelerator (DLA) to provide big performance gains over its predecessor, the T618. TSMC manufactures the T760 in 6nm EUV technology, and phones based on the chip are expected to reach customers by year-end.

Unisoc has struggled financially since its formation in 2018 as the union of Spreadtrum and RDA Microelectronics. Early this year, its parent company (Tsinghua Unigroup) defaulted on a $200 million bond, raising concerns about its stability and about China’s commitment to backing the semiconductor company. Since 2017, when Unisoc (then Spreadtrum) lost Samsung as a customer, mobile revenue has been shrinking. According to Counterpoint Research, the Chinese company’s unit market share has dwindled to 4%, down 5x from its peak. Its current products serve mainly in low-cost (sub-$200) phones.

Unisoc pins its 5G smartphone hopes on a four-pronged Tanggula strategy. The 6-series family targets low-cost phones, the 7-series targets midrange ($200–$300) phones, the 8-series targets mid-premium ($300–$500) phones, and the 9-series ambitiously targets premium phones. As a first step, the company rebranded its only current 5G processors, the T7520 and T7510, as the T770 and T740, respectively. They join the T760 to complete the first 7-series generation. Unisoc plans to fill out the other three segments in 2022.

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