Robert Triggs / Android Authority

TL; DR

  • Oppo reportedly develops custom chipsets for premium phones.
  • The first phones with these processors should come onto the market in 2023 at the earliest.

Custom processors are one of the biggest challenges facing smartphone brands, with only Apple, Google, Samsung and Huawei currently having flagship-level in-house silicon. However, we’ve heard murmurs about for the past year or two Oppo work on your own custom chipsets.

Now, Nikkei Asia reported that the company is actually developing high-end chipsets for its “premium” smartphones. Oppo plans to use these chipsets in phones launched in 2023 or 2024, two informed sources at the point of sale said on the matter.

Oppo is apparently considering using TSMC’s 3nm design for these new chipsets. Further technical details were not disclosed, but it is a safe bet that Arms are using high-end CPU cores and GPUs. The company will likely have to develop parts like imaging chips and modems too, though we’ve seen Google appear to be using Samsung’s modem for its own tensor processor.

Why should Oppo go this route?

The news comes over a year after an apparent internal Oppo memo leaked on a so-called Mariana Plan. The memo allegedly confirmed the existence of a custom processor initiative within the company and an intention to spend $ 7 billion on that effort over three years. It has also been alleged that OnePlus and Realme engineers were working on the project, suggesting that phones from these brands could also offer custom silicon.

Either way, we can see why Oppo and other smartphone brands want to get into this arena. Custom chipsets give OEMs better control over their supply chain, especially given the global chip scarcity and the US trade ban against Huawei.

Custom silicon also enables cell phone manufacturers to better tailor the hardware to the experience and features they envision. We have already seen that on Google and they Pixel 6as the company uses dedicated machine learning silicon for offline inference and enhanced imaging capabilities.

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