To date, Xiaomi executives had flocked to Qualcomm or MediaTek microprocessors for their smartphones, but that could change soon, according to The Wall Street Journal Xiaomi will begin to develop its own mobile processors.
That is a new differential for a company that can join this group of manufacturers with their own processors: Apple, Samsung and Huawei have been offering devices with their own CPUs for some time, something that helps improve performance and efficiency of devices, but also to improve the profit margin and the independence of third parties.
Developing processors, codenamed “Pinecone”, are expected to be available in a month, and a few days ago it was already being said that these developments were directly targeting the high end: they would (theoretically) compete with Promising Snapdragon 835 from you to you.
The “base” models will be the Pinecone V670 made of 28-nanometer technology, will feature eight Cortex-A53 cores and a quad-core Mali-T80 MP4 GPU, and will offer competitive mid-range and entry-level solutions.
The interesting thing is the Pinecone V970, apparently made with technology of 10 nanos (the same as that of the Snapdragon 835, for example) and will offer four Cortex-A73 cores at 2.7 GHz and four Cortex-A53 at 2 GHz looking Efficiency. The GPU is the 12-core Mali G71, so we would certainly have a powerful SoC for future Xiaomi smartphones.
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A risky but important step at a strategic level
The Xiaomi movement makes clear the ambition of this manufacturer: very few can afford to develop their own microprocessors, but the advantages for those who make them are obvious. We will see if Xiaomi has the ability to massively manufacture these components, because Samsung for example varies between its Exynos and the Qualcomm according to the region of the world where it sells its high-end devices.
It is possible that Xiaomi effectively combines its own micros with those of other manufacturers with which it had been working until now. In fact the move is strategically important because patent litigation prevents Xiaomi from selling Qualcomm-based models in India, something that limits its options in that country and that would be solved with this strategy.
As Mark Li, an analyst at Bernstein Research, said, this move by Xiaomi “is risky” because the resources needed “to develop competitive mobile chips are high.” That is where probably the acquisition of Leadcore Technology Ltd, which occurred in November 2014 for about 15 million dollars: it would be this manufacturer who would be in charge of the development and production of these micros probably.