Ice Universe: Oppo is working on its own smartphone chipset
Smartphones are limited by batteries and thermals and perform best when specialized hardware does the heavy lifting – hardware like Oppo’s MariSilicon X ISP and the new MariSilicon Y Bluetooth chip. partial, for best results a fully custom chipset is required. That seems to be the thinking at Oppo headquarters as ice universe reports that the company plans to introduce its own smartphone chipset in 2024.
Oppo has reportedly hired thousands of people to work on the project, but unfortunately additional details are scarce at this time. It will almost certainly be an ARM-based chip, which means it will use Cortex processors and Mali GPUs with MariSilicon designs integrating for things like the ISP and parts of the wireless connectivity.
ISP MariSilicon X is manufactured in TSMC’s 6nm foundries
It will be interesting to see who Oppo chooses as a partner in this venture. Google went with Samsung because designing a complete chipset from scratch is a complicated process, even when using off-the-shelf parts. But if Oppo’s team really is that big, a basic design isn’t out of the question.
Last year, MediaTek announced the Dimensity 5G open resource architecture and opened up its chipsets to smartphone maker customizations, although we haven’t seen anything as extensive as the Tensor chip.
A little over a year ago, we heard a rumor that Oppo was interested in building a custom chipset based on TSMC’s 3nm node. At the time, the report claimed that the first phones with the new silicon would arrive in 2023, but TSMC’s 3nm foundries have experienced delays, which may have thrown a wrench in those plans. For what it’s worth, the MariSilicon X chip is made in TSMC’s 6nm foundries, so the two companies already have a working relationship.
We could see a Cambrian explosion of custom chipsets – even Samsung Electronics would like to build a custom chip, separate from the Exynos chips provided by its sister company Samsung System LSI. It doesn’t always work, however, Xiaomi took a chance in 2017 with the Surge S1, but that quickly fell apart.