A month after Chinese chip manufacturer Mediatek broke Qualcomm's stronghold on the processors and modems powering Sprint phones, it is poised to do the same for Verizon.
The LG Stylo 2 V, an affordable phablet previously relegated to discount carriers in the US, is now available on Verizon. While the device itself may be unremarkable, the Mediatek Helio P10 system-on-a-chip that powers it is a sign of cheaper phones to come that will support all four major US wireless carriers.
That's because Qualcomm—and Intel, to a lesser extent—have long produced the majority of the modems and processors that power low-end and high-end devices sold in the US. Part of the reason for that is the CDMA network used by the nation's largest carrier, Verizon. Mediatek, whose processors already power cheaper phones in the rest of the world, has finally decided that the American CDMA network is worth investing in.
It took a first step towards establishing its US presence last month, with the P10-powered LG X Power on Sprint. But powering a Verizon device, too, will give it far greater reach.
"We would look to scale to many more devices," said Mohit Bhushan, the company's VP of business development. He pointed to the LG Stylo 2 as proof that his company's processors can meet Verizon's notoriously stringent quality standards.
The phone itself isn't likely to catch the eye of consumers used to iPhones and Galaxys. It has a 5.7-inch HD display, a 1.8GHz octa-core P10 processor, a 13MP rear camera, and a 5MP front shooter. It runs on Android Marshmallow and has 16GB of built-in storage, expandable to 128GB via a microSD card.
PCMag analyst Ajay Kumar reviewed the Qualcomm-powered version of the LG Stylo 2, finding it to have strong battery life but middling performance. Graphics-intensive games were borderline unplayable, though the phablet did clock in at a solid 6 hours and 6 minutes of runtime when streaming full-screen video at maximum brightness over LTE.
Get the phone on Verizon for $10 per month for 24 months or $240.