MediaTek P90 chip launching December 13 with AI features

Mediatek Logo next to a building
Mediatek Logo next to a building (Image credit: Android Central)

Hot on the heels of the recent P70 chipset reveal, MediaTek has today announced that its new AI-equipped Helio P90 SoC will be unveiled on December 13. It's set to be the first chip of its kind to bring hardware-accelerated neural networking to the mid-to-high-end smartphone space. In a nutshell, that means less expensive phones running this chip will soon be getting AI features and performance which, in the Android world, were until now limited to high-end chips like Huawei's Kirin 970 and 980.

AI features from more expensive phones are about to become more attainable.

The P90's new AI hardware, combining two APUs (application processing units) with an AI Accelerator, helps the new chip boast three times the neural networking performance of the P60 and P70.

As we've seen from existing flagship phones with dedicated AI hardware, on-device AI can have a host of benefits, and current versions of Android support this hardware acceleration through Google's built-in neural networking APIs.

In today's pre-announcement, MediaTek specifically called out biometric face recognition, digital noise reduction in photos and realtime photo/video effects as areas that'll be enhanced by the P90's new AI hardware, as well as improved environment recognition to assist with exposure control.

In addition to Android's built-in NN APIs and MediaTek's own NeuroPilot SDK, phone makers using the Helio P90 will be able to support TensorFlow, TensorFlow Lite, Caffe and Caffe2.

More details will come when the chip officially lands on December 13, but based on the early details revealed today, the P90 could offer the chipmaker a unique leg-up on the competition in the mid-high smartphone tier.

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.