OPPO and Xiaomi could launch their own 5G chips this year

Chinese smartphone makers OPPO and Xiaomi are working on their in-house 5G mobile chips, which could debut in late 2021 or early 2022. Currently, both companies are sourcing chipsets from Qualcomm and MediaTek for their smartphones.

Xiaomi and OPPO working on 5G sub-6GHz chips

The DigiTimes report states that OPPO and Xiaomi are working on internal development of a 5G chip under 6 GHz. They will be joined by Unisoc, a factory-less semiconductor company, to compete against companies like MediaTek and Qualcomm.

A report from Reuters It also details that OPPO is currently doing R&D for radio frequency (RF) and Bluetooth chips. It already develops the power management chips needed for its flash chargers.

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Other details about the chips that both companies are developing internally remain unknown for now. Xiaomi recently launched the Mi Mix Fold. This mobile uses its Surge C1 image signal processor (ISP) developed custom for professional image processing. It took Xiaomi two years to develop the chip, with an investment of around $ 21 million.

The news that OPPO and Xiaomi are working on their own 5G chips comes on the heels of reports that Google will use its internal GS101 chip in the Pixel 6 this year instead of a Qualcomm chip.

It is not clear if OPPO and Xiaomi are considering using their internal 5G chips for products outside of China or not due to various licensing issues.

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All Android smartphone vendors rely on Qualcomm or MediaTek chips for their mobiles. This is a cheaper alternative to developing your own chips in-house, which is often a costly affair. However, there is always the risk of being disconnected from the supply chain due to trade sanctions and other issues, which could greatly affect your business.

Xiaomi’s previous custom chip failed to impress

Xiaomi had previously developed and released its Surge S1 chip with the Mi 5c in 2017, which was not impressed with its performance and efficiency. The company never got around to releasing another custom chip since then until it announced the Mi Mix Fold with its Surge C1 ISP.

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Xiaomi and OPPO have accelerated their internal chip development after seeing Huawei’s access to the global chip supply chain cut off. The current semiconductor shortage doesn’t help either. This has prompted a slew of Chinese companies to start work on developing their own chips. The Chinese government also invested billions of dollars to drive the development of the semiconductor industry.