ZTE to debut their first mobile chip next month

Samsung does it. Apple does it. Even Huawei does it. What am I talking about? Designing chips. It’s one thing to be just another handset OEM, cobbling together parts from various vendors, putting said parts in a plastic shell, and hope for the best. It’s another thing altogether to hire a team of engineers to make a chip tuned to your exact specifications.

According to the Korean website ETNews, that’s exactly what ZTE has secretly been doing, and they’ll unveil what they’ve been working on at the PT/Expo Comm China 2013 Expo, which takes place in late Septembers. Details about the chip are light, though it’s been “confirmed” that it will be able to access 4G LTE networks.

Why bother making your own chips instead of buying something from MediaTek or Qualcomm? Think of an action movie where the plot is a bunch of people robbing money from a bank. At the start of the film, the team is huge, but one by one the members of the team start killing each other so they get to keep more of the money. What’s the point in splitting $100 million with 10 people when you can split it with three or four?

Same thing here. With ZTE making their own chips, they don’t have to pay the overhead incurred by Qualcomm or MediaTek making a profit. And since ZTE owns a substantial amount of wireless patents, they’ll save on paying royalities.

Will ZTE’s chip be some super ultra crazy monster piece of silicon? Doubtful, but you never know.

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