MediaTek will sit out the ARM race for Windows 10 PCs

MediaTek doesn't see an opportunity in the Windows 10 ARM PC market, especially with x86 dominance

Despite a turbulent past, Windows PCs with ARM are making a grand return later this year, but only with Qualcomm chips.

Another big ARM chipmaker, MediaTek, is sitting out the opportunity to put its ARM-based chips in Windows PCs because the company sees it as a limited opportunity.

MediaTek's chips are already used in Chromebooks, but ARM has had a turbulent history with Windows. That's another reason for the company to stay out.

ARM getting into PCs is like Intel trying to get into smartphones -- it's a risky proposition, said Finbarr Moynihan, general manager of sales at MediaTek.

PCs are dominated by x86 chips from companies like Intel and AMD. But Intel failed in its attempt to unseat a dominant ARM in smartphones, and ultimately quit making chips for handsets.

"We've been down this path before, and we'll see," Moynihan said.

ARM's last attempt to get into Windows PCs was a flop. Microsoft designed the Windows RT OS, which was a version of Windows 8, for tablets with ARM chips. Dell, Asus, and Microsoft were among a handful of companies that made Windows RT tablets but later pulled their devices off the market. Windows RT failed due to incompatibility with x86 applications and user confusion.

Even PC makers are cautious about Windows 10 on ARM and want to test it on devices before committing to make a product. But Dell, which was burned by Windows RT, is receptive to the idea of an ARM-based Windows 10 PC and considers it an interesting idea.

But Microsoft seems to have learned from the issues and is readying Windows 10 for ARM via emulation. Microsoft has demonstrated regular x86 applications running on ARM-based Windows 10 PCs.

These ARM-based super thin and light laptops will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chip and are designed in the vein of smartphones, with the ability to stay on and connected for extended periods of time. The Snapdragon 835 chip is designed for smartphones and has features like Bluetooth 5, 4K graphics, and an integrated LTE modem.

MediaTek on Monday announced a new top-line chip called Helio X30, which has 10 cores. It's designed for smartphones but boasts features that could also make it feasible for low-end PCs. It has blazing fast CPUs, integrated LTE, and high-end graphics, enough for a PC.

While the chip could be used in Chromebooks, MediaTek is mainly targeting Helio X30 at mid-range Android smartphones priced between $300 and $500.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?