July 19, 2024

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Oppo may be developing own chipset for flagship phones, and it is bad news for Qualcomm






Oppo could be the next major smartphone brand that will soon have its own chipset that will power flagship phones. A new report has shed light on the Chinese brand’s next goal: to join the big league where brands like Apple, Samsung, and now Google are investing heavily in R&D to minimise relying on third-party chipmakers. And it could be a fresh blow to the world’s biggest mobile chip manufacturing company, Qualcomm.

Nikkei has reported that Oppo is planning to introduce its high-end chips in either 2023 or 2024 “depending on the speed of development”. Oppo’s custom chipsets will be based on the 3-nanometre process technology that TSMC announced earlier this year. This is a very advanced chip fabbing technology that will pit it against future chipsets from Qualcomm and Apple, the names of which are not clear right now. It is also not clear what Oppo will call its first custom chips. However, the company’s plans, if they come through, will mean bad news for Qualcomm.

Qualcomm is already salty about Google’s latest bid for its Pixel 6 series. For the first time, Google has gone with its own Tensor chip instead of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips that the company has been relying on for previous Pixel phones. Qualcomm even made a snark about Google’s decision to shun Snapdragon chips. And with Oppo bandwagoning, Qualcomm’s problems may just have increased.

Oppo is the world’s fourth-largest smartphone brand, and its decision to develop custom chips will mean not only Oppo-branded phones, but those from sister brands – Vivo, Realme, and OnePlus – will be up for a chance to use them. All these brands currently use Qualcomm and MediaTek chipsets, depending on the market demand and the price of the phones they power. The flagship phones from each brand, however, definitely go for Qualcomm’s high-end chipsets.

All major smartphone brands in the world are now in a race to develop the fastest custom chip. Apple already manufactures its own A-series chipsets for the iPhone and iPad, while Samsung’s Exynos chipsets power an entire family of Galaxy phones and tablets. With Google in the frenzy, the custom race chip just got interesting. Huawei was another brand that used to manufacture its own HiSilicon chipsets before the US suspended its business with major tech companies, including ARM, which gives blueprints for chip designs.

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