Winners and Losers of the week: Xiaomi’s launch extravaganza, Qualcomm loses to MediaTek

After a hiatus of one week, it is with great pleasure that I welcome myself back to being the author of NextPit’s weekly ‘Winners and Losers’ column. For those reading this article for the first time, the purpose of this weekly series is to give you an overview of the key developments in the world of technology in the past seven days. And in the process, we also pick two entities who we think are ‘Winners’ or ‘Losers’ for the week.

Our pick for the Winner this week was a rather easy one. Xiaomi – for launching, I don’t know how many phones. The choice was unanimous, and almost everyone at team NextPit voted in favour of the Chinese electronics brand. The loser of the week was also a unanimous choice – Qualcomm – which lost its crown of being the biggest smartphone SoC vendor of 2020 to MediaTek. As always, before we talk about these two companies, let us quickly take a look at some of the other notable tech happenings of the week gone by.

Among the most talked-about developments, this week was the news about the cancellation of a smartphone known as the OnePlus Nord SE. Now, it is notable that OnePlus has never publicly admitted to having been working on this device. This phone was first ‘revealed’ by leakster Max Jambor who revealed that the OnePlus Nord SE was a pimped up OnePlus Nord with 65W charging and a slightly bigger battery. Anyway, the news is that the OnePlus Nord SE is not happening.

Staying with OnePlus, our second major highlight of the week was the fact that OnePlus Nord N100 received a much-needed software update this week. The new software variant is numbered Oxygen OS 10.5.8 in the EU and 10.5.6 in North America. Apart from the February 2021 Android security patch, this update also comes with several improvements in terms of power consumption and overall system stability. If you haven’t received the update yet, fret not. It’s on its way!

oneplus nord 2020
The OnePlus Nord N100 / © OnePlus

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro might be brand new. But this week saw hints about Samsung reportedly working on its successor already. Per an APK teardown of the Galaxy Wearable app by the good folks at  AndroidPolice, we sort of know that Samsung is possibly readying a prodigy dubbed the Galaxy Buds 2.

Another major development this week was the announcement of the Poco X3 Pro for the Indian market. The difference in prices between India and Europe for the same phone is quite significant. In Europe, the Poco X3 Pro starts at EUR 296, while in India, you only need to shell out Rs 18,999 (EUR 260). One of the few occasions where I feel lucky to be living in a developing country.

Poco X3 Pro
The Poco X3 Pro is much cheaper in India than in Europe! / © Xiaomi

This week was also a harbinger of good news for smartphone SoC enthusiasts. Arm Ltd – the British semiconductor and software design company – announced the arrival of a new Arm architecture called Armv9 that promises better SoC performance on future mobile SoCs. For well over a decade, all Arm-based chipsets were based on ArmV8 architecture. We are, therefore, at the cusp of a major performance boost in terms of CPU and GPU performance across the board on both Android, iOS and macOS platforms. 

Winner of the week: Xiaomi for its extravagant launch event

xiaomi mi mix fold event nextpit 10
The Mi Mix Fold is here / © Xiaomi / Screenshot: NextPit

It is not always that we pick a Winner for the sole reason that they launched a new smartphone. However, we had to make an exception this week for Xiaomi. This week saw the company announce the launch of a bunch of new products in a mega launch event that spanned two days! What is also notable is the fact that all the products seem to be extremely good.  The list of products announced by Xiaomi this week

  • Mi 11 Ultra – the absolute top-tier flagship smartphone from Xiaomi
  • Mi Mix Fold – Xiaomi’s first-ever foldable smartphone that you and I can buy
  • Mi 11 Pro – A pro version of the existing Mi 11, which we reviewed
  • Mi 11 Lite – A Mi 11 but skimps on some features, uses a lower-tier SoC and therefore, ‘Lite’.
  • Mi 11 Lite 5G – A version of the Mi 11 Lite with 5G support
  • Mi 11i – Another Lite version – but this time with a flagship SoC
  • Mi Band 6 – An improved Mi Band 5

Apart from these, the company also announced a bunch of new laptops and even an AC. Both these products, however, shall only be available in China for now. Xiaomi also took this event as an opportunity to announce its intentions to become a player in the electric vehicles space.

Loser of the week: Qualcomm, because MediaTek shipped more SoCs than them in 2020

Our pick for the loser of the week is easily Qualcomm. The American semiconductor company was for a really long time the most dominant player in the smartphone SoC space. While it still manages to maintain that lead when it comes to the flagship SoC space, the same cannot be said about the affordable and mid-range SoC space.

Snapdragon 888
Qualcomm may have the fastest SoCs – but more people bought MediaTek in 2020! / © Qualcomm

According to reports, MediaTek reportedly shipped 351.8 million smartphone chipsets in 2020, which is an increase of 113.8 million over 2019. This surge in shipments also means that it now holds a global market share of 27.2%, compared to just 17.2% in 2019. Impressive or not? It remains to be seen if MediaTek manages to continue with its growth trajectory in 2021 as well. Do you think Qualcomm will claw back in this year?

Well, that brings us to the end of this week’s ‘Winners and Losers’. O you agree with our picks? It’s Ok if you don’t, but in that case, do let us know why in the comments below!

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