Is Xiaomi going it alone, ditching Qualcomm processor?

13 Feb 2017

Xiaomi HQ in China. Image: testing/Shutterstock

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi looks set to build its own processors as it differentiates itself from numerous Android rivals.

Xiaomi will no longer use Qualcomm’s popular processing chips in its smartphones, according to the Wall Street Journal, in a move that could put the Chinese company back into the top five device manufacturers.

At the start of 2016, Vivo overtook Xiaomi as the world’s fifth-largest smartphone seller in the world. With Apple, Samsung and Huawei out of reach, Vivo, and Oppo above it in fourth, are likely in Xiaomi’s crosshairs.

However, given the competition at the low end of the Android smartphone market, it has to deviate from its rivals.

With a reported name of Pinecone, the company’s first foray into this realm is expected within a month, according to the article, potentially driving the upcoming Mi 6, expected in March.

As yet, Xiaomi doesn’t sell phones directly into the EU or the US.

The news is another blow to Qualcomm, the microprocessor giant at the centre of a $1bn dispute with Apple.

Apple thinks it was treated unfairly by Qualcomm, while the latter claims the iPhone manufacturer is making “a lot of assertions”.

Antitrust claims in China, the EU and South Korea have also hurt the company.

Beyond that dispute, Qualcomm’s interest in NXP, a leader in the growing near-field communication (NFC) chip area, could be delayed.

Xiaomi HQ in China. Image: testing/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic