Oppo: a home processor in the boxes for 2024

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Oppo begins to develop its own processor. Like Apple, Samsung or even recently Google, it is the turn of the Chinese manufacturer to get into the race by preparing a homemade processor which should see the light of day in 2023 or 2024.

For a smartphone manufacturer, having its own processor is a definite advantage. The first is to have better control over your own production line, while avoiding being dependent on availability and prices from a third-party supplier. The second interest is to make a chip whose capacities will adapt perfectly to the manufacturer’s smartphone projects.

The recent pandemic and its consequences on the supply of chips and components have certainly helped to encourage smartphone manufacturers to develop their own product. They were also numerous to take the plunge. Google, with its first Tensor in-house SoC which integrates the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Apple and its Apple A15 Bionic processor which is the heart of the very recent iPhone 13 Pro and of course Samsung are part of this list. The South Korean manufacturer is also a historic one with its Exynos processors which already fitted its high-end terminals more than 10 years ago.

Oppo’s recent commercial success in the market (10% of global smartphone shipments in Q3 2021) and its affiliation with the multinational BBK Electronics have certainly facilitated the financing of this ambitious project. For manufacturers who do not have an in-house SoC, the main suppliers of high-end chips remain Mediatek and Qualcomm, whose processors equip a very large part of the market. Oppo has so far relied heavily on Taiwanese MediaTek processors, which power part of its popular Reno 6 range.

Oppo relies on an engraving fineness of 3 nm

Processors with 3 nm engraving fineness will be 10 to 15% more efficient than 5 nm. © Shutterstock

Oppo is therefore starting to develop its mobile processors based on 3 nm technology from TSMC, a key company specializing in the manufacture of semiconductors. This new engraving fineness of 3 nm should make it possible to reduce the materials used for the manufacture of semiconductors by 20%. A reduction which has no impact on the performance of the chip, but which results in a significant drop in production cost for the manufacturer. Oppo is not the only manufacturer to seek the advantages of this new smoothness of engraving since Apple and Intel would already have the technology of engraving in 3 nm on their test benches, according to Nikkei Asia.

Even if the 3 nm and 4 nm engraving details will be officially available from 2022, Oppo has no plans to share it with its mobile devices before 2023 or 2024, the time to finalize the design of its future home processor.

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