- Oppo is working with OnePlus and Realme on custom chips.
- Oppo says it does not want to compete with Qualcomm and MediaTek with its chips.
- Samsung, Huawei, Apple and Xiaomi develop custom chips for their phones.
Huawei had a bad year in 2019 after the United States government imposed a trade ban with the Chinese phone maker. The move was expected to wipe off Huawei from the smartphone market as most of Huawei's component suppliers who were American were obliged not to do any trade with the company. However, Huawei started working on its own operating system to keep selling its phones while its custom chips were sort of like a lifeline for the company to sustain in that situation. It seems that the whole episode made other companies start working on their own hardware.
According to a recent report from CNBeta, Oppo is the latest one to commence its own chipset development and to help with its cause, it is reeling in development teams from OnePlus and Realme. There's no further information on how these chips will function and what will be the performance credentials - all we know that the company is working on custom chips.
Oppo, OnePlus and Realme have largely relied on Qualcomm chipsets and MediaTek chipsets for their phones in the last few years. Both Qualcomm and MediaTek chipsets are based on technological advances from ARM. While Oppo hasn't given any reason behind the development of these custom chipsets, it seems that these BBK Electronics brands want to keep themselves ready if they ever have to face a Huawei-like situation.
However, these custom chips are not going to compete with those from Qualcomm and MediaTek. Oppo says in the report, "Our ultimate goal of making chips is to serve our customers well. This is a long-term investment, not to compete with our partners."
OnePlus could be one of the bigger gainers with a custom chip. OnePlus has been lately leaving the affordable flagship territory and slowly moving towards the full-blown flagship territory. It now competes in the same segment as Apple and Google, both of which rely on custom chips for their products. Google uses custom chips for superior camera performance whereas Apple builds its iPhone completely around its custom A-series chips.
Chances are that OnePlus could start using custom chips initially to improve its camera performance or some other parameter, and maybe later, we could see a OnePlus phone relying completely on custom developed chipsets. We could see the same for Oppo and Realme, but nothing is confirmed for now.
Currently, some of the top phone makers in the world rely on custom chips. Samsung uses its own Exynos chips for most of its phones around the world while Huawei uses its Kirin series chips to power its phones. Xiaomi also developed its Surge S1 chip, which was essentially a midrange chip but it never saw a successor.