Earlier this month, Xiaomi announced that it is coming up with its own processor. The Pinecone processor has been confirmed to launch on Feb. 28 and will make its debut on the Xiaomi Mi 5c handset. It is also expected that the company will use its Pinecone processor to power its up-and-coming flagship, the Mi 6.
Xiaomi announced the launch on its Weibo page. According to reports, the company will come up with two versions for its processor — the Pinecone 1 which will have an octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU, and the Pinecone 2 which will have four Cortex-A73 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores. The chipset will be crafted using the 10nm process.
Companies That Manufacture Their Own Chipsets
Currently, there are only three companies that manufacture and use their own processors: Samsung has Exynos, Apple makes the A-series, and Huawei creates its own Kirin processor. You can now add Xiaomi to the list once it launches the Pinecone on the 28th. This is not the first time that the Chinese company ventured into producing its own chipset. Two years ago, Xiaomi collaborated with another Chinese company to come up with a dedicated Leadcore processor that it used to launch the Redmi 2A.
Why Xiaomi Is Building Its Own Processor
This move means that Xiaomi will be officially parting ways with Qualcomm, which has previously handled the processors that the company used in its handsets. Early last year, Xiaomi faced a phone shortage because Qualcomm was not able to produce the Snapdragon 820, which the company used to power its first flagship, the Mi5. This shortcoming led to a strain between the two companies's business relationship.
Using an in-house processor will benefit phone manufacturers in the long run. Building their own chipsets means they will not be dependent on the processor makers' manufacturing schedules or supply. They will also keep their costs down because they no longer have to pay fees to other companies such as Qualcomm and MediaTek.
Another reason for this shift is that phone manufacturers will no longer have to contend with competing companies just to get the premium chipset. Just take a look at the smartphones that will launch at this year's MWC: none of them will be powered by the top-tier Snapdragon 835 SoC because Samsung already got first dibs on Qualcomm's initial run of the chipset. As a result, LG and HTC had to deploy the older Snapdragon 821 on their handsets. If this becomes a regular trend, then manufacturers will indeed be better off developing their own processors.