Nikkei Asia reported on Wednesday that Guangdong-based smartphone maker OPPO is developing high-end mobile chips for its upmarket phones. This is to gain control of chip components and become less dependent on semiconductor suppliers such as Qualcomm and MediaTek.
A source said OPPO plans to equip its self-developed mobile System on Chip (SoC) in smartphones to be released in 2023 or 2024, as per the development process. OPPO hopes to use TSMC’s 3 nm process and is now the second batch of customers using TSMC’s cutting-edge technology after Apple and Intel.
If so, OPPO will join other smartphone manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung Electronics which all started to develop their own processors. Self-developed chips can also strengthen OPPO’s control over the supply chain which the company hopes will reduce the impact of large-scale supply shortages and interruptions.
In addition, OPPO is reported to be developing its own AI algorithm and customized image signal processor for its smartphone cameras. As more users prioritize camera and video functions in buying mobile phones, OPPO’s rivals in China, such as Xiaomi and vivo, have launched their own image signal processors. Compared with the development of SoC, image signal processors are not as difficult to develop. SoC requires both CPU and GPU functions, security and connectivity, and integration with a given operating system.
OPPO declined to comment on the chip development process, and only said its core strategy is to develop high-quality products. “Any R&D investment is to enhance product competitiveness and user experience.” OPPO said. TSMC also declined to comment.