Xiaomi greets MediaTek with a handshake, Qualcomm feels awkward
I think we should see other processors
The latest top-of-the-range phone from handset maker and rising dragon Xiaomi will use the ambitious ten core Helio X20 processor from semiconductor company MediaTek.
A surprise move, given that the Chinese Apple-wannabe has already put Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 in its Note-series smartphones. The move is also bad news for Qualcomm, which has seen Samsung defect to its own in-house processor.
Apple too uses a CPU of its own design.
The battle for market share between market leader Qualcomm and world number two MediaTek has become a much closer race (and more interesting).
In February Qualcomm put out a press release saying that there was an industry show of strength for the Snapdragon, with quotes from super-senior bods at Microsoft and Motorola.
Moreover, Lei Jun, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Xiaomi, said it was "making every effort to bring the newest and most innovative technology to our enthusiastic customers, drawing on the best in the industry".
"Our collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies on the Snapdragon 810-powered Mi Note Pro provides us the ability to deliver more performance, features and user capabilities to a mobile device than ever before," he added.
Reliable sources have told El Reg that the new jumping-flagship phone from Xiaomi will pack a MediaTek SoC (System on Chip).
This has a Tri-Cluster CPU architecture: two ARM Cortex-A72 cores (running at 2.5GHz for extreme performance) and two clusters of four ARM Cortex-A53 cores (one running at 2.0GHz for medium loads and one running at 1.4GHz for light activities).
Much like adding gears to vehicles, dividing the cores into three clusters provides a more efficient allocation of tasks for optimum performance and extended battery life.
Looking at the other features of the X20 gives a clue as to what the next high-end Xiaomi phone might feature. It should be LTE-A Cat 6, which theoretically offers 300Mbps.
The processor has support for dual main cameras with a built-in 3D depth engine that allows for a faster shot-to-shot snapping in creating complex depth-of-field images; it will run the display at 120Hz and has a low power sensor processor (ARM Cortex-M4) to for lightweight, always-on applications such as MP3 playback and voice activation.
The sensor hub operates on an isolated, low power domain to assist with tasks for better battery efficiency. It is also expected that Xiaomi will use the MT6795 eight-lawnmower Ferrari processor in its Redmi Note 2.
Qualcomm is expected to strike back with a deca-core processor of its own, bizarrely named the Snapdragon 818.
Rumour has it that this is a much higher power device than the MediaTek offering with CAT 10, four low power cores (1.2GHz Cortex-A53), two mid-range cores (1.6GHz Cortex-A53) and four of the new ARM super high power cores (2.0GHz-Cortex A72). ®