The last time MediaTek make a press release about a new processor – the Kompanio 1300T – we didn’t write anything about it. After reading the press release, the SoC sounded interesting and was seemingly aimed at Android tablets. You can read the press release here and likely see where some of the confusion came from, however, as the final blurb of the post mentions the fact that Kompanio chips are present in devices like Chromebooks along with tablets and personal computers. This statement caused many to believe that this 1300T was bound for Chromebooks, but the press release never actually states this.
Kevin Tofel from About Chromebooks wrote an entire piece clarifying the mix-up and did a great job making sense of what felt like a bit of a PR stumble on MediaTek’s behalf. After all, why didn’t MediaTek just clearly say something to the effect of, “This new Kompanio 1300T will be featured in future Android tablets” and be done with it? For our part, we discussed it on our podcast and didn’t really think much more of it after the fact. Until yesterday.
A new Kompanio SoC, same confusions
MediaTek chose to announce a new 5G-enabled Kompanio 900T SoC yesterday and just like the last press release, there was a quick mention of Chromebooks in the closing blurb. Just like the first press release, this blurb was just there to try and inflate the standing of MediaTek’s newly-branded Kompanio line of chips. By rolling in the MT8183 (or the newly-rebranded Kompanio 500 that is in devices like the Lenovo Duet) into this lineup, they can confidently say they are the #1 ARM chip maker for Chromebooks by a long shot, and that’s a nice thing to be able to say as you are telling the world about your newest SoC. Check out the closing paragraph from the press releases from both the Kompanio 1300T and the new 900T:
MediaTek Kompanio chips have played a critical role in MediaTek’s business in recent years. Kompanio chips are now widely adopted by many device manufacturers, powering several best-selling personal computing devices, including Chromebooks and tablets. Tablet computers powered by the Kompanio 1300T platform are expected to be announced in the third quarter of 2021.from the MediaTek Kompanio 1300T press release
The MediaTek Kompanio platform has been widely adopted by device manufacturers around the world to create the world’s most popular mobile computing devices, including Chromebook laptops and tablets. Devices powered by MediaTek Kompanio 900T will be available soon.from the MediaTek Kompanio 900T press relase
Reading both of these closing paragraphs from both of these announcements, you can see where there is clear confusion, but based on the clarification offered on when the 1300T was announced, I’d wager the same logic can be applied this time as well. The main thing I’d point to between the two announcements is the inclusion of a similar opening for both the 1300T (confirmed not to be for Chromebooks) and the 900T in the press release:
MediaTek today announced its new Kompanio™ 900T chipset, expanding MediaTek’s portfolio of mobile computing solutions for tablets, portable notebooks and other devices. The introduction of Kompanio 900T follows MediaTek’s recent launch of Kompanio 1300T, which is designed for premium tablets.from the MediaTek Kompanio 900T press relase
MediaTek today announced the launch of its Kompanio 1300T, a SoC designed to power incredible experiences across computing devices. Built on the leading 6nm process technology, the chip is bringing premium performance to tablets with advanced 5G, multimedia, AI and gaming technologies for a premium user experience. Kompanio 1300T allows OEMs to build powerful, lightweight and portable tablets for online education, business, streaming services, gaming and AI applications.from the MediaTek Kompanio 1300T press release
Notice the clear lack of the mention of the word Chromebook anywhere in this? The only time Chromebooks come up in either of these press releases is in the final paragraphs we mentioned above. These chips are clearly part of the same overall family – Kompanio – but also in the same sub-group with one another as well. The “T” at the end of the model name presumably stands for “tablet” and, more specifically, Android tablets as was clarified last time with the 1300T.
With the Chromebook-specific Kompanio chips, we see clear reference to Chromebooks in the official posts from MediaTek that specifically mention the three options available and coming to Chromebooks: the MT8183, MT8192 and MT8195 – A.K.A Kompanio 500, 820, and 1200 respectively.
As you can likely tell, this is all very confusing and some clarity from MediaTek in these press releases would go a long way towards keeping things straight. While I think their decision to finally decide on a unified branding for their tablet/Chromebook chips is great, it can easily cause things to get murky when we’ve now referred to the processor inside the Lenovo Chromebook Duet as the Helio P60T, the MT8183, and now the Kompanio 500 within the span of 18 months. I like what MediaTek is doing by sticking with a simpler naming scheme, but they need to do better when they make their announcements of clarifying the intent of these new chips.