Xiaomi reportedly planning to restart its mobile SoC division
Xiaomi's ill-fated mobile SoC division could make a comeback soon, only a year after it allegedly pulled the plug on the project. A Chinese news outlet (via Android Headlines) reports that Xiaomi is hiring engineers and securing intellectual property for the endeavour. The mystery chipset could be the doomed Surge S2 which was slated to be launched in 2018. However, Xiaomi will likely upgrade it with current-generation hardware to keep it up to spec.
Previously, Xiaomi partnered up with TSMC for its mobile SoC needs. For example, the Surge S1 used TSMC's 16nm node. However, times have changed now, and it is unlikely that TSMC (or even Samsung) will have capacity left over for Xiaomi, especially on their newer 5nm, 7nm and 8nm nodes. Therefore, Xiaomi may have to look at other vendors for its silicon needs. SMIC's new 7nm node comes to mind, but the US Government's sanctions on SMIC might muddy the waters a little.
It seems that the Xiaomi Surge C1 ISP's success may have proven enough for Xiaomi to resurrect its long-dead silicon division. Then again, Xiaomi isn't the only Chinese OEM looking to consolidate its ecosystem. Both OPPO and Vivo have expressed interest in manufacturing their hardware in-house. However, Xiaomi could also use the fab space to manufacture components for its vast repertoire of IoT devices.