Does MediaTek Really Benefit if Qualcomm Inc. Stumbles With the Snapdragon 810?

By Markets Fool.com

In one of my earlier articles, a reader left a link to a recent story titled "MediaTek rebounds on Qualcomm's chip issues," published by Taiwan News. According to the article, reports have surfaced that MediaTek has "received more 4G chip orders as its rival chipmaker Qualcomm was struggling with chip issues."

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The article also claims that due to the alleged delays with the Snapdragon 810, smartphone vendors have "shifted orders to MediaTek to ensure a smooth supply." It adds that the winners in this situationwill be MediaTek and Taiwan Semiconductor.

This all seems plausible until you realize that while handset vendors mighthave shifted orders from Qualcomm to MediaTek, it likely has nothing to do with a potential Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 delay.

Let's look at what LTE chips MediaTek is planning to ship
According to the report, MediaTek's brand new MT6732 and MT6752 processors have been in production since October, and devices powered by the latter chip will ship "before the Lunar New Year of 2015," or mid-February 2015.

The highest-end MediaTek chip listed in the article -- the MT6752 -- offers the following specifications:

MT6752 SoC

CPU

8-core ARMCortex A53

GPU

ARM Mali-T760

Imaging

16MP capable Image Signal Processor

Cellular

Cat. 4 FDD and TDD LTE

Video encode/decode

H.265 1080p30 playback, H.264 1080p30 record

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Source: MediaTek..

This is a solid midrange chip. But if you look at what Qualcomm is offering with the Snapdragon 810, it becomes clear the chips aren't even in the same league:

Snapdragon 810

CPU

4-core ARM Cortex A57/4-core ARM Cortex A53 in big.LITTLE

GPU

Adreno 430

Imaging

Up to 55MP dual ISP

Cellular

Category 9 LTE-Advanced

Video encode/decode

4K capture and playback with both H.264 and H.265 formats

Source: Qualcomm.

The Qualcomm chip sports a faster processor complex, likely a faster graphics processor, a much more advanced LTE modem, and better imaging and video encoding/decoding. These processors aren't direct competitors by any stretch of the imagination.

Some thoughts
In terms of performance and capabilities, the MT6752 looks far more like a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800/801 competitor than it does a rival to the Snapdragon 810 or 808. For this reason, I highly doubt that any potential delay in the Snapdragon 810 (if such a delay is real) would cause any smartphone vendors to shift orders from Qualcomm to MediaTek.

Additionally, I'm not convinced Taiwan Semiconductor would really benefit from handset vendors moving towards MediaTek chips. While Qualcomm does have secondary sources for chip manufacturing, it is well known that Qualcomm builds the vast majority of itschips at Taiwan Semiconductor. MediaTek also relies heavily on Taiwan Semiconductor, and it may even contract with the company exclusively (in contrast to Qualcomm). As a result, share movements between Qualcomm and MediaTek should not have a significant impact on Taiwan Semiconductor.

All told, I think the hooplasurrounding these potential chip delays on Qualcomm's part are overblown, particularly as the company has already reaffirmed early 2015 availability of the Snapdragon 810. Qualcomm shareholders should have nothing to worry about.

The article Does MediaTek Really Benefit if Qualcomm Inc. Stumbles With the Snapdragon 810? originally appeared on Fool.com.

Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Qualcomm. The Motley Fool owns shares of Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.