Chinese phone maker Xiaomi also produces a whole bunch of other things, including TVs, rice cookers, and self-balancing scooters. And according to several recent reports, it looks like the company is also starting to make its own processors.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Xiaomi will be the second major Chinese smartphone maker to design the chips that run in its phones.
Huawei is the first. That company uses “Kirin” processors in its Hauwei and Honor-branded smartphones. Xiaomi’s new chips are expected to be called “Pinecone.”
The news comes on the heels of similar reports from Chinese news sites earlier this week.
Xiaomi is said to be planning to unveil the first Pinecone chips by the end of the month, and the new processors are a result of a partnership with chip maker Leadcore Technology.
Rumor has is that there will be at least two different Pinecone chips: a higher-performance model with four ARM Cortex-A73 CPU cores and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores and a cheaper model with eight Cortex-A53 cores.
It’s unlikely that the new processor will be competitive with Qualcomm’s upcoming top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835 chip, but it should offer performance that’s on par with mid-range Snapdragon 600 series processors. More importantly, it would give Xiaomi the opportunity to fine-tune its hardware and software to work together in order to offer better performance, efficiency, or whatever other tweaks the company chooses to prioritize.
There’s no word on whether Xiaomi plans to sell its chips to competing phone makers anytime soon, but it’s interesting to see that the smartphone space continues to shape up very differently than the PC space, where there are only two major chip makers, Intel and AMD.
Qualcomm may be the dominant player in the smartphone market, but there are plenty of phones powered by other chips made by MediaTek, Samsung, Huawei, and maybe soon Xiaomi.