Xiaomi is taking a page from some its competitors by announcing a new smartphone that is powered by its own silicon. The new Mi 5C, as Xiaomi has named its new phone, features a Surge S1 processor inside. The Surge S1 is Xiaomi's first in-house produced System-on-Chip (SoC). According to Xiaomi, the Surge S1 offers better performance than Qualcomm's Snapdragon 625 chipset.
This is the same approach that companies such as Apple and Huawei take. The same goes for Samsung, though it often uses two different processors for its smartphones, based on region. In this case, the Surge S1 is built by Pinecone, a subsidiary of Xiaomi that was created in October 2014. It took until now to build a fully functioning chipset that would be ready for prime time.
The Surge S1 is based on TSMC's 28nm HPC+ manufacturing process, so it's not cutting edge. It features eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores—four of them are clocked at 2.2GHz and the other four run at 1.4GHz. Graphics chores are handled by a Mali-T860 MP4 GPU. By using its own silicon, Xiaomi should be able to offer cheaper handsets, though it remains to be seen how that plays out long-term.
As for the rest of the phone's specs, it features a 5.5-inch display with a 2560x1600 resolution, 3GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, 12-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2,860 mAh battery that is non-removable. On the software side, the Mi 5c has been dipped into Android 7.1 Nougat and will run MIUI, a customized version of Android.
Xiaomi's Mi 5c will be available in China starting March 3 for CNY 1,499 (around $218 in U.S. dollars). It will come in Gold, Rose Gold, and Black color options.