Chinese smartphone giant Oppo unveiled its first in-house chipset at its annual innovation event in Shenzhen on Tuesday. The announced MariSilicon X chip – named after the Mariana Trench – is a neural processing unit that aims to improve photo and video performance through machine learning.
The move adds Oppo to a list of smartphone makers that design their own chips, like Apple. The MariSilicon project, led by Qualcomm veteran Jiang Bo, only started in 2019.
The silicon is made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC) 6-nanometer processing technology and will be featured in Oppo’s next flagship handset in the first quarter of 2022. The current global chip shortage will not affect MariSilicon’s production X, Jiang told reporters at the event.
Oppo also unveiled the third generation of its self-developed smart glasses, calling it an “assisted reality” device instead of an augmented reality device.
The description is appropriate. The helmet, which weighs only 30 g, is reminiscent of Google Glass. It uses the Snapdragon 4100 chip, which is normally found in smartwatches, and is in effect limited to projecting 2D information such as navigation and translation onto its 1.3mm thick bezels. It works as an extension of its smartphone or as a smartwatch with a screen in front of its eyes, rather than an AR device that is aware of its surroundings. It should be shipped next spring.
The third product unveiled is Oppo’s first foldable phone, released a year after its scrolling phone concept. Details of the foldable phone will be announced tomorrow, when we’ll update the story accordingly.
What we do know so far is that the new phone is led by Oneplus co-founder Pete Lau who was named Oppo’s product manager after OnePlus became Oppo’s sub-brand this past. year.
Both owned by the BKK Electronics empire, OnePlus and Oppo shared a supply chain before the merger, but operated independently. The merger saw the two phone makers combine their operational and R&D forces, including their operating systems, while the brands remain separate.
The other OnePlus co-founder, Carl Pei, created a buzz for his new headphone company Nothing, which won over investors and a horde of early adopters.