Oppo shutters its custom chip team, brings end to MariSilicon custom ISP efforts
Oppo has shut down its custom silicon team, according to South China Morning Post. The team largely focused on developing custom image signal processors (ISPs) for the company's smartphones, dubbed MariSilicon, which it had hoped would give it a significant edge on the competition. While Oppo's recent Find X series flagships have indeed garnered praise for their camera performance, it appears that the company's management no longer feels the cost of developing custom ISPs is justified. The company's phones are typically fitted with either Qualcomm Snapdragon or MediaTek chipsets, both of which already incorporate high-quality ISPs that are by-passed for its MariSilicon where also fitted.
According to the report, the Oppo custom silicon team - which is housed within Oppo's subsidiary Zeku - was shocked to learn of the news. Zeku had been posting job advertisements as recently as two weeks ago with no hints that Zeku's operations could be shuttered. Oppo has subsequently confirmed the news report, providing the following statement to Android Authority:
Due to the uncertainties in the global economy and the smartphone industry, OPPO has to make difficult adjustments for long-term development. Therefore, the company has decided to cease the operation of ZEKU.
The Zeku team most recently produced the MariSilicon Y chip which was an exciting development for fans of hi-res audio. The chip can support bitrates as high as 12Mbps over Bluetooth with full support for 24-bit/192kHz audio in combination with Oppo's in-house URLC codec. However, as Samsung will attest, developing custom silicon is expensive and difficult. It shuttered the Samsung Austin Research Center (SARC) in 2019, which had been developing custom Arm-based "Mongoose" cores for its Exynos SoCs.