Xiaomi has become the latest name to join the elite league of phone manufacturers that make their own processors.
Following the paths of Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, the company would be looking to expand its processor making capabilities as this would give the competitive edge of launching phones quickly into the market and often at an affordable price.
"The ability to create its own chipsets is the pinnacle achievement for any smartphone company," said Lei Jun, CEO and co-founder of Xiaomi.
Xiaomi introduced its very own chipset, the octa-core Surge S1, in its latest Mi 5c smartphone.
The Xiaomi Mi 5c
Xiaomi Mi 5c comes with a slimmer metallic body. It may look like a less powerful and affordable iteration of last year's popular Mi 5 but it is actually fuelled by the first ever Xiaomi in-house processor — the 2.2 GHz Surge S1 chipset.
It also comes with a 5.15-inch screen with 64 GB of internal memory and 3 GB RAM support. The handset comes with a smaller 2,860mAh battery.
Mi 5c uses a 12-megapixel rear camera setup and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and video chat.
Similar to previous handsets, the new smartphone will also run on MIUI — the customized version of Android. It will be based on the latest Android 7.1 Nougat.
The Xiaomi Mi 5c will launch in China on March 3 and will be available for ordering on Mi.com, Mi home stores, and Suning offline stores.
The Surge S1
Since the establishment of Pinecone, Xiaomi's subsidiary, the Surge S1 chipset had been an ongoing project. Although the first version of the chip design was completed the following year, it took almost two years (with financial assistance from the local government) to launch the chips.
The Surge S1 comprises of eight Cortex A53 cores with four clocking at 1.4 GHz and the rest at 2.2 GHz. Mali-T860 MP4 GPU support is there for the graphics, which is decent for an average game. The new generation Mali GPU consumes 40 percent less energy than its predecessor. A 32 bit DSP brings in support for VoLTE and high-quality calls, even in noisy environments.
The Chinese firm, known for its budget phones, claims that the Surge S1 outperforms Qualcomm's Snapdragon 625, the most popular chipset used in a wide range of smartphones including Xiaomi's own Redmi series.
Success Of In-house Chipset
First of all, the success of the in-house chipset would help Xiaomi streamline the production and gain invaluable control over phone design to counter the impacts of slowing sales. Nevertheless, Xiaomi does pose serious challenges to other chip makers. There is a huge probability that MediaTek could lose future Redmi devices.
Perhaps it could only be a matter of time before Xiaomi steps up the competition with improvements in processes and modems.