Xiaomi Mi 5-20

The rumor mill has repeatedly touched on an in-house Xiaomi processor codenamed ‘Rifle’ recently. The story has just received a little more credibility, with The Korea Times being told from industry insiders that the new SoC will be unveiled next month, more than likely at the May 10 launch of the Xiaomi Max and Mi Band 2.

Whether the Xiaomi Max will feature the new chipset is unknown at this point, with long-standing rumors claiming that device will arrive with the Snapdragon 820 instead. But it is this very reliance on the likes of Qualcomm that reportedly sparked Xiaomi’s desire to produce its own processor. If true, this will mean five out the top six smartphone vendors globally are at least occasionally using their own chipsets.

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Qualcomm has recently dropped the amount of royalties it requires from Chinese vendors in an attempt to maintain its chips’ presence in the increasingly important Chinese smartphone market, both in terms of production as well as consumption. But the very expectations the Chinese market is forcing on non-Chinese vendors – low-cost, high-powered smartphones – is a double-edged sword.

With increasing local competition, the Chinese industry itself is looking cut costs wherever possible as well. Not paying Samsung, Qualcomm or MediaTek for their processors is a great place to start. We don’t know too much about the Xiaomi ‘Rifle’ at this point, other than it is reportedly based on ARM architecture, but with an expected unveiling in just two weeks, we don’t have long to find out exactly where it will sit on the SoC performance spectrum.

What do you think about a Xiaomi processor? Which SoC do you trust the most?

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