Chinese phone makers are finally looking to offer their phones to the international community, but with very little developer support available for MTK phones should we push Mediatek to honor GPL, or push manufacturers to rival processors.
Mediatek are without doubt the original reason Chinese phone companies are able to offer such great performing Android smartphones at pocket friendly prices! A quick search through online stores or Chinese phone media coverage brings up great devices ranging from very affordable quad-core phones, to devices which offer the best of the best (1080 display, 2GB RAM, 13 mega-pixel cameras NFC).
Whichever end of the Chinese Mediatek phone spectrum you look at you can be sure of 2 things 1) Great pricing and 2) Zero developer support for custom ROM makers! But we can’t place the blame fully on the phone makers as it is actually Mediatek’s lack of support which is preventing great third-party ROMs from being made for MTK phones!
Although Mediatek hope to become a world leader in smartphone SoC development and production, they aren’t especially fond of supporting developers like rivals Qualcomm do. This is why we are seeing such great developer support for phones like the Find 5, and this is why Oppo will announce that they are a hardware partner for Cyanogenmod this Monday!
Lack of support isn’t the only issue!
The lack of willingness to be open source is only part of the issue though! Anyone who has ever had a crack at building a custom ROM for a Mediatek powered device will know all about Mediatek’s own build method which many complain isn’t as convenient or easy to work with when compared to rivals.
Even if Mediatek opened the gates tomorrow and supplied everything developers need to build excellent ROM’s like Paranoid Android, AOKP or CyanogenMod would there be enough interest from developers? Are they willing to spend time learning Mediatek’s methods?
So what should Chinese phone makers do?
I spoke with a number of Chinese phone makers last week and most of them understand the value of a great developer community, but they either feel their hands are tied, aren’t willing to make tough decisions (this is especially the case with some of the larger ‘traditional’ brands’), or worry that the cost increase in switching to an alternate SoC might loose them customers![poll id="5"]
As fans of Chinese phones what do you think is more important? Take part in the Poll above, and let your feelings be known in the comments section below!