Since its inception Windows Phone has only supported Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. Microsoft however recently broke rank, and we have seen the first device, the Pipo U8T, shown off at CES 2016 running the Rockchip RK3288W SoC.
The most widely used low-cost smartphone processor however are produced by MediaTek, and Winfuture.de reports that smartphone OEMs at Mobile World Conference 2016 were confident that support for this processor was on its way soon.
There OEM/ODMs complained that the barrier for entry to use Snapdragon processors were too high, with prospective OEMs having to stump up half a million dollars just to become a customer of the company, and that the cheapest Windows 10 Mobile reference design cost at least $60. Additionally licensing costs for supporting various radio frequencies, particularly LTE, added to the cost, and the big discounts large Qualcomm customers enjoyed were not available to smaller OEMs, meaning the chips were literally stacked against them.
According to Winfuture.de’s sources, who did not want to be publicly named, MediaTek’s processors have now improved so much in performance that they are now competitive with Qualcomm’s products, but pricing has remained affordable.
They expected that we would soon see products with MediaTek’s Octa and even Deca-core processors such as the P10 Helio and Helio X 10 or X, which offer high-end performance and global LTE support. Windows 10 Mobile apparently already support the processors, with only political will from Microsoft being in the way.
It is not know yet if all this work will result in actual products, or if the relationship between Qualcomm and Microsoft will remain exclusive for phones, but devices such as the Pipo U8T clearly demonstrates that the cracks are already showing.