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Lenovo to design own chips: Will it bet on ARM or MIPS?

Chinese tech giant Lenovo is set to design its own chips according to EE Times’ Junko Yoshida. The company, which happens to be the second biggest smartphone vendor in mainland China behind Samsung but ahead of ZTE and Huawei, will apparently increase the number of people working inhouse on chip designing tenfold to 100 over the next three months.

Yoshida claims that her source is a “China-based industry source with direct knowledge of Lenovo’s recruitment of chip designers”. The move comes after Samsung Semiconductors apparently refused to provide Lenovo with an Exynos application processor.

The company used a number of chip providers including Qualcomm, Mediatek and Intel. Lenovo used the Atom Z2580 processor in its latest top of the range smartphone, the IdeaPhone K900. However, Yoshida posits that like Huawei did with HiSilicon, Lenovo might use the threat of a home-grown application processor to influence other partners to collaborate.

Interestingly, the name of the potential partner hasn’t been mentioned and although ARM would possibly be the logical choice, we wonder whether Lenovo will not, instead, adopt MIPS, which has been purchased by Imagination Technologies.

Lenovo has been rumoured (since October 2011) to be planning servers built using MIPS technology and locally-produced chips. The Chinese company already uses MIPS chips in five products including three Security Gateways.

Desire worked at ITProPortal right at the beginning and was instrumental in turning it into the leading publication we all know and love today. He then moved on to be the Editor of TechRadarPro - a position he still holds - and has recently been reunited with ITProPortal since Future Publishing's acquisition of Net Communities.