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Oppo reportedly developing own chips for flagship phones

Oppo is developing its own high-end chips for flagship mobile phones, according to a report in Nikkei. Two people who spoke to the paper said the plan was to release custom SoCs in 2023 or 2024 “depending on the speed of development.” Oppo reportedly wants to use TSMC’s advanced 3nm process technology for the chips.

If the plans come true, Oppo would be the latest major smartphone maker to take control of its own SoC design. Yesterday, Google launched the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, the first phones with a custom SoC called Tensor. Apple and Samsung are also designing their own smartphone chips, as did Huawei before US sanctions decimated its mobile operations.

Oppo currently uses chips from Qualcomm and MediaTek, like all other Chinese smartphone vendors since the crackdown on Huawei. Xiaomi designed and released a low-end SoC called the Surge S1 in 2017 for its budget Mi 5C phone, but since then chip design efforts have been limited to secondary components such as image signal processors.

As Qualcomm exposed in a salty Google subtweet last week, it would lose if big companies like Oppo took over the SoC design themselves. Oppo is the fourth largest smartphone maker in the world in terms of deliveries, according to IDC, and since it shares a supply chain and ownership with Vivo, Realme and OnePlus, Oppo-developed chips could quickly find their way into multi-brand phones.

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