At first glance, Xiaomi’s problem doesn’t appear to be the low number of high-end smartphone models or the size and diversity of its product portfolio as a whole. After all, one of China’s fastest mobile industry growers back in 2014 and 2015 unveiled the premium Mi 5s, Mi 5s Plus, Mi Note 2 and Mi MIX over the past six months alone.
But arguably the most compelling device of the bunch couldn’t catch on due to extremely limited supply, and the others were probably too confusing and unremarkable to match the typically impressive sales figures of low-cost, low to mid-end Redmi phones.
As such, Xiaomi reportedly plans an expansion of its mid to high-end handset lineup this year, starting with a long-rumored Mi 5c in March “at the earliest.” The upcoming 5.2-incher’s defining characteristic will almost certainly be a homebrewed SoC, itself speculated for quite some time now as a central part of Xiaomi’s growth intentions.
What’s interesting is this Pinecone processor (tentative name), likely developed in collaboration with Chinese fabless semiconductor company Leadcore Technology, is expected to break cover earlier than next month. Specifically, on February 28, i.e. next Tuesday, i.e. during MWC 2017, but in Beijing rather than Barcelona.
It remains to be seen if we’re witnessing the rise of a Samsung and Huawei-contending smartphone vendor/SoC manufacturer, as well as what additional mid-tier and high-end models Xiaomi has in the pipeline to “enhance its competitiveness.”