Qualcomm is arguably the biggest name in the mobile processor market. Although Apple may actually best it in benchmarks and in practice, that victory is pointless for anyone outside of Apple’s ecosystem. So when Qualcomm’s name gets dragged into any scandal, the mobile market definitely takes a closer look. Unsurprisingly, the US-based chipmaker isn’t keeping quiet and is categorically denying it is doing any sort of whitelisting to cheat benchmark apps.
This recent chapter of a years-old drama began with AnandTech’s discovery that MediaTek, Qualcomm’s biggest rival in the smartphone chipset market, was using a known tactic of identifying benchmarking apps to run the system-on-chip (SoC) in “Sports Mode”. This, in turn, pulls out all the stops and runs the CPU at its peak performance, even if that doesn’t reflect real-world use cases.
MediaTek did not exactly deny that it has such a “feature” in place but laid the responsibility on OEMs who can turn Sports Mode off if they wanted to. It also practically admitted that everyone does it anyway and stopped short of identifying a competitor does likewise. Considering that Apple, Huawei, and Samsung make processors for their own devices, that really leaves only Qualcomm as the possible unnamed rival.
Without naming MediaTek as the source of the allegation, Qualcomm sent a statement to Android Authority to set the record straight. It identifies the practice of whitelisting benchmarking apps as cheating and flatly denies it does any whitelisting of its own.
That, of course, doesn’t discount that OEMs do have the final say and have also used such practices to push Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors to their limits when running benchmarks. It’s highly likely that Qualcomm knew about that even before the first benchmark cheating scandals broke years ago. It was, however, conveniently silent back then.