MediaTek launches AI platform; Sony eyes more cooperation

Taipei-MediaTek Inc., Taiwan's largest integrated circuit designer, introduced an artificial intelligence platform in Las Vegas on Monday, a day before the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 kicks off.

Sony Corp. of Japan, which has worked with MediaTek to launch smart TVs since 2015, said it looks forward to cooperating with the Taiwanese firm in AI technology development.

In addition to Sony's NNabla, other global tech giants such as Google's TensorFlow and Amazon's MXNet have also worked with MediaTek in the field of AI.

Through a combination of hardware and software technologies, the new AI platform -- NeuroPilot AI -- is expected to bring a wide range of applications together to power 1.5 billion consumer products, including smartphones, smart homes, cars and many others, MediaTek said.

MediaTek said its current AI solutions for voice assistants, TVs and autonomous cars, will be showcased at CES, one of the world's largest consumer electronics exhibitions, to demonstrate the power of AI and how it is redefining modern consumer devices.

"2018 is a new era in device innovation. MediaTek is committed to enabling our partners and customers with the technology advancements consumers demand through the power of AI integration with our chipsets," Jerry Yu (???), corporate vice president and general manager of MediaTek's Home Entertainment Business Group said in a statement.

"AI enhanced technology is quickly becoming part of consumers' every day experience. MediaTek's AI platform is designed for today's smart devices and to pave the way for an AI-powered future," Yu added.

MediaTek has high hopes about AI development, citing recent research as saying the global production value of the AI industry is expected to pass US$14 billion by 2023. As a result, the company is determined to serve as a supplier of a wide range of chips for AI applications.

Smartphone chips are a major source of sales for MediaTek, while the company is gearing up to expand its product mix in a bid to fend off rising competition in the smartphone chip market.

Meanwhile, MediaTek said it posted NT$18.65 billion (US$632 million) in consolidated sales for December, its lowest in seven months, down 10.06 percent from a month earlier. The decline was caused by slow peak effects in the IC industry, said analysts.

However, the IC designer did achieve one goal in the fourth quarter of last year by posting NT$60.40 billion in consolidated sales which was within its expected range of NT$59.2-NT$64.3 billion. The fourth quarter figure was down 5.1 percent from the previous quarter.

In 2017, MediaTek's consolidated sales fell 13.54 percent from a year earlier to NT$238.22 billion.

According to IC Insights, MediaTek lost its place as one of the top three global IC designers, falling to fourth place last year.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel