This is not a rumour, this is not a leak, this is just us looking into the crystal ball.
There's a new player in the quad-core SoC game and it's from Taiwan. MediaTek’s MT6589 will be seen in a plethora of devices this year. Already, it has been featured in the Micromax A116 Canvas HD and the Karbonn S1 Titanium, both of which have great specs at a low price. However Micromax’s smartphone overshadows Karbonn’s on many fronts, the 720p display being one such instance. Of course, 720p displays are so 2012. What we are seeing more and more of are 1080p screens in phones like Xperia Z and the HTC Butterfly. Eight megapixel cameras have also to a large extent fallen by the wayside. More and more manufacturers are equipping their phones with 13 megapixel snappers. For the sake of this fortune-telling, we are focusing our powers on Micromax and its popular Canvas series. What would the Canvas 3 look like? What could its specs be?
Full HD or nothing!
MediaTek sprung a surprise launching the world's first quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC, which will be available in phones launching in Q1 2013. The MT6589 is by no means a laggard in the quad-core game. Based on benchmarks, it can give you about 75-80 percent of the performance of a Tegra 3, Snapdragon S4 Pro or an Exynos quad-core processor, but it is available at half the price. More importantly, it brings support to a wide array of features that can be considered high-end. So let’s get the ball rolling.
Display The MT6589 SoC is fabricated by UMC and features a PowerVR Series5XT GPU. The same processor that is powering the A116 Canvas HD’s 720p display can support displays up to 1080p. At the moment, though, 1080p displays are an expensive affair, but after the first wave of full HD phones, the prices are bound to come down. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to think Micromax may be ready with a 1080p display smartphone in Q4, just in time for the Diwali season. Of course, that early a timeline could mean that the phone might be priced closer to Rs 20,000 or even Rs 25,000, but even at that price it would be a steal. While we are on the subject of displays, the MediaTek processor’s GPU is powerful enough to support 3D, including real-time 2D to 3D conversion and support for 3D displays. We are just dreaming here, but a 3D 1080p display on a smartphone is the stuff of wet dreams.
Camera The MT6589 supports sensors up to 13 megapixels with integrated in-system programming. The camera on the back of the A116 is an 8MP snapper. Bumping that up to 13 will give Micromax equal footing with the new flagships of brands such as Sony, which included a 13MP camera in the Xperia Z, and Samsung, which is expected to include a 13MP camera in the Samsung Galaxy S IV. If 13 megapixels do not satiate your photography needs, the MT6589 also has support for 3D cameras. These have not been seen on mobile phones since the HTC Evo 3D and LG Optimus 3D and it will be the first 3D camera phone to be launched by an Indian manufacturer.
Dual-SIM Dual Active radio Not only does the MT6589 have an integrated graphics solution, it also comes with a built-in 42Mbps HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA-capable dual-SIM dual-active radio. This means that it will support 3G speeds of up to 42Mbps, which is a huge improvement over the dual-core MT6577, which was capped to just 7.2Mbps download speed by the hardware.
Connectivity bonuses The MTK6589 also has in-built support for Miracast technology, which is great for seamless content sharing on multiple screens. It also has a pre-integrated connectivity combo, which supports 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and FM Radio. The n band is still nascent and isn’t supported on many mid-range handsets released in the last year or so.
Can we get some Key Lime Pie, please?
Power efficiency It’s all well and good having a powerful quad-core processor, but any adverse effect on the battery life will not be well received. Thankfully, the 28nm manufacturing process is a boon for power efficiency. In fact, MediaTek claims its MT6589 is also the coolest running quad-core setup in the market. The company has even released a video as evidence.
Of course, it's no surprise that Micromax has tapped into MediaTek’s economical solution to produce high-specced phones at market-beating prices. When Micromax arrived on the scene, their phones were priced at around Rs 7,000 and were able to offer decent specs at a very reasonable price. They scaled up their offerings a little to deliver better specs and naturally the price went up to compensate, hitting the Rs 10,000 mark. With the Canvas HD they have pushed their price into the Rs 15,000 band; the next inevitable step would be to launch the Canvas 3 with the specs that we have discussed above, at a price of about Rs 20,000 to Rs 22,000. Given Micromax’s past launches this could very well be the case and with this they’d be slugging it out in the big league with a massive price advantage. We can only hope, but the Canvas 3 becoming the hottest gadget of 2013 may not stay in the realm of fantasy.