Chinese handset maker Xiaomi Corp (小米) yesterday launched its first in-house mobile phone chipset for its new smartphones to better suit clients’ needs, following in the steps of its rivals, including Huawei Technologies Inc (華為).
The new chipset, dubbed Surge S1, is to first be used in Xiaomi’s latest flagship model, the Mi 5c, the company said in a statement at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
The handsets are to be available in China from Friday at online and brick-and-mortar stores for 1,499 yuan (US$218.23) each.
Two-and-a-half years ago, Xiaomi established fully-owned chip design subsidiary Pinecone (松果) to develop chipsets for its own use.
“The ability to create its own chipsets is the pinnacle achievement for any smartphone company. For Xiaomi, the move is an essential next step in our development,” company cofounder and CEO Lei Jun (雷軍) said in the statement.
Xiaomi can better integrate its hardware with software technologies by designing chipsets in-house, Lei said.
The company did not say if it would supply its chipsets to other mobile phone vendors.
Hisilicon Technologies Co (海思半導體), a handset chip designing subsidiary of Huawei, only designs chips for its parent company.
The Surge S1 employs a high-performance octacore ARM Holdings PLC Cortex-A53 processor featuring big.LITTLE architecture, and was designed for use in mid to high-end smartphones, the statement said.
The chipset is made using a 28-nanometer process, Xiaomi said.
Xiaomi has applied for more than 16,000 patents, of which it has been granted 3,612, including 1,767 international patents, it said.
Hsinchu-based chip designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) said it did not expect smartphone makers entering the handset chip design sector to significantly affect its business, citing high technological barriers and expensive development costs.
Unless they sell as many as 100 million units per year — Samsung and Apple annually sell 200 million units each — it will be too costly for handset makers to develop mobile chipsets for their own use, MediaTek co-chief operating officer Jeffrey Ju (朱尚祖) told reporters.
Xiaomi is one of MediaTek’s clients.
Xiaomi last year sold about 50.32 million smartphones, 3.7 percent of the 1.36 billion units sold worldwide, market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) data showed.
Huawei last year sold about 131 million units, the data showed.
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