Looking at Apple and Google’s latest moves of transitioning into their own designed silicon, an increasing number of smartphone brands are thinking of following in their footsteps. This will definitely put some pressure on the legacy chip makers such as Qualcomm and MediaTek. The latest entrant into the club is OPPO. The brand has already developed an in-house NPU for aiding the cameras on their flagship smartphones, but they aren’t stopping at it.
As per the latest report from the Chinese publication IT Home, OPPO’s IC design subsidiary Shanghai Zheku is developing an application processor (AP). OPPO is expected to announce this sometime next year in 2023. The chipset is expected to enter mass production the very same year. Initially, this won’t be a threat to legacy chip makers, but the next part of OPPO’s plan might raise some eyebrows.
The smartphone maker is planning to build further upon that AP, which is expected to be made on TSMC’s 6nm node and might get spun into a full-fledged SoC with a modem as early as 2024. This supposed SoC will most likely power OPPO’s upcoming flagship smartphones and might pass down to OnePlus and Realme as well. This chip is being rumoured to be based on TSMC’s 4nm node, which the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1+ will be allegedly based on. If the report is indeed accurate, it will hint at OPPO’s ambitious plan to reduce its dependency on Qualcomm and MediaTek for mobile SoCs.
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Designing SoCs is a tough business, and the market is filled with countless examples of even legacy chip makers delivering faulty chips. Qualcomm has had its fair share of issues with the Snapdragon 800 series chips and now the 8 Gen 1. Moreover, Samsung has had similar issues with their Exynos lineup and, finally, Google with their Tensor chip. It will be interesting to see how OPPO navigates through all of this.