Chinese smartphone makers OPPO and Vivo are set to release in-house ISP (Image Signal Processor) chips. According to Vivo, its chip design team was assembled two years ago, numbering approximately 600 people. The first ISP chips will be used in the X70 smartphones scheduled for release later this year. OPPO, meanwhile, has about 1000 people in its chip design team, and its first ISP chip will be included in the Find X4 smartphones due next year.
Apart from OPPO and Vivo, many Chinese smartphone makers have looked into developing ISP chips in-house, since most phone ISP modules are integrated into SoCs, leaving little room for customization for smartphone makers. For example, both Xiaomi and Huawei have undertaken efforts to develop ISP chips. Xiaomi’s ISP develop began in 2019 and became commercialized in 2021. As early as 2015, Huawei’s Kirin 950 processors already integrated in-house ISP modules.
For Chinese chipmakers, ISPs merely mark the beginnings of their chip projects, with SoCs being the ultimate goals. In fact, OPPO has a plan to develop in-house SoCs too, especially after acquiring 58 cellular wireless patents from Intel in 2019. Now its chip design team is staffed by thousands of people.