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Rumor | OPPO will launch a smartphone with its own in-house SoC by 2024

The MariSilcon X NPU. (Source: OPPO)
The MariSilcon X NPU. (Source: OPPO)
OPPO is one of a handful of Android mobile device OEMs that has released a phone with first-party silicon, in the form of a co-processor for the main SoC supplied by either Qualcomm or MediaTek thus far. Now, according to the latest leak, this is just the first step on the road to full, Apple A-series-like processor production. Therefore, the first '100% OPPO' phone is tipped to launch as early as 2024.

To listen to some correspondents and leakers, the holy grail among most smartphone OEMs is to become Apple, in the way that the Cupertino giant is able to design and manufacture its own in-house processors for its iPhones.

These mobile chipsets, the latest of which is the A15 Bionic, allows their maker to keep its hardware and software development completely in-house (and closed-source) in a way that is out of reach for most of Apple's competitors.

They, on the other hand, need to work with their respective SoC vendor to modulate their aims for the rest of a given device's hardware (not to mention their versions of Android) in ways determined by the one-size-fits-most nature of processors such as those of the Snapdragon and Dimensity lines.

However, doing otherwise would require that a company has access to tremendous resources (cash included); even Google has only just now managed to get its first-gen Tensor chipset into an own-brand phone thus far, after all. Then again, there are some others that either have or are approaching similar status, a good example of which is OPPO.

This OEM is just one of a handful of contemporaries with its own in-house chipset at work in a phone on the market today. The MariSilcon X is a neural processing unit (NPU) that augments the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 found in the Find X5 Pro flagship; however, its successors could get even more complex, functional and central soon.

According to the leaker Mobile Chip Expert on Weibo, OPPO has ambitions to follow the X up with a full, Axx Bionic-alike processor for one of its own smartphones, and has the research and development capacity (not to mention the government subsidies) to reach this goal. 

To this end, OPPO has apparently put "tens of billions" of yuan into this project to date, and has generated "thousands" of proprietary integrated-circuit designs thus far. To this end, the putative first-party CPU could start rolling off the lines by 2023, and ship in a working, market-ready phone the following year.

This alleged device may be far from a flagship, however, as OPPO has apparently engaged 5 and 6 nanometer (nm) processes at TSMC to produce its oneday full SoCs. Potentially outdated architectures aside, the point for OPPO may be that it will have launched its first-gen phone completely independent of the usual players such as Qualcomm and MediaTek in a relatively short time-span: less than 2 years from now.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 04 > OPPO will launch a smartphone with its own in-house SoC by 2024
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2022-04- 7 (Update: 2022-04- 7)