Vivo “Operate the Core”, the 5nm competition in the mobile phone market has begun

Behind the joint efforts of terminal manufacturers to develop or customize chips, there is an opportunity to upgrade the new generation of computing architecture…

5nm chips add a new army. Recently, Samsung’s Exynos 1080 chip was officially released in Shanghai. It uses Samsung’s most advanced 5nm EUV FinFET process and ARM’s latest Cortex-A78 and Mali-G78 architectures.

Publicly disclosed data shows that, compared with Apple’s just released A14 processor chip, Samsung Exynos 1080 is slightly weaker in terms of CPU performance, game performance, battery life, etc., but the performance is still remarkable.

Old tree and new branch, Samsung Exynos1080 enters the 5 nanometer era

Prior to this, Huawei HiSilicon and Apple both released their own 5-nanometer chips. But unfortunately, as everyone knows, sales of HiSilicon’s 5-nanometer chips are limited.

Lagging behind mainstream processor chips for many years and being able to catch up with Apple’s A14 processor in a short period of time, Samsung’s 5nm process and Arm’s latest architecture are indispensable. In addition, the close cooperation with the mobile phone manufacturer vivo is also the reason why Samsung Exynos is catching up quickly.

Vivo “management”, deep customization rules

In May of this year, two chip trademarks applied by vivo-“vivo SOC” and “vivo chip” surfaced. They cover a series of processors such as central processing units, modems, computer chips, printed circuits, and computer storage devices. Vivo’s layout in the chip field is more than just cooperation.

During the development of Exynos 980 in cooperation with Samsung last year, vivo was exposed as a chip engineer at Ziguang Zhanrui. At that time, many news reports speculated that vivo will develop its own chips.

At the end of 2019, Hu Baishan, executive vice president of vivo, responded in an interview with the media, saying that vivo began to think about deep participation in chip SoC design as early as a year ago. To achieve this requirement, relevant professional talents are needed.

But he emphasized at the time that “this chip team is not pure chip research and development”, and the focus is on front-end definition and architecture design.

Lagging behind mainstream processor chips for many years, it can catch up with Apple’s A14 processor within two generations. Samsung’s 5nm process and Arm’s latest architecture are indispensable, and vivo’s contribution also plays a key role.

The 5nm competition in the mobile phone market has begun

In the past two years, vivo has continuously strengthened its cooperation with chip manufacturers other than Qualcomm, branding vivo colors on the cooperative chips, and has also seized the sales opportunities and highlighted differentiation.

In 2019, Exynos980 is the first-generation chip developed by vivo in conjunction with Samsung. vivo has participated in the integration and optimization of several major items including 5G radio frequency solutions, imaging system integration solutions, establishment of standardized tests and energy efficiency optimization.

Not only Samsung, but also in-depth cooperation between vivo and MTK. The key is that MTK took the lead in developing high-end 5G chips Dimensity 1000+ series chips, and vivo mainly assisted in optimizing the lack of chip performance.

At that time, Hu Baishan, executive vice president of vivo, said clearly that it may take a year and a half for the chips with the taste of vivo to be on the market. It now appears that Hu Baishan is referring to Exynos 1080.

The 5-nanometer war in the mobile phone market

If the outside world predicts well, vivo will become the third mobile phone manufacturer to adopt 5-nanometer chips after Huawei and Apple.

Other manufacturers have to wait for the launch of Qualcomm’s 875 chip. Also in the near future, there are rumors that the standard chip will also use the 5nm process and will be launched at the end of December 2020.

Previously, TSMC had revealed that the same power 5nm chip is 15% faster than the previous generation 7nm chip. This is of great significance for the current AI processing of smart phones, such as image, camera and other functions.

The BBC analysis article once pointed out that the adoption of 5nm chips can really make mobile phones smarter.

Mobile phone manufacturers have a long history of “core”. Since the earliest Huawei designed the Kirin chip, later Xiaomi designed the surging chip, Google released the mobile phone gesture operation chip to Apple’s self-developed 5G chip, various manufacturers have flocked to it.

5nm process makes smartphones smarter

Even with Samsung’s chip as a springboard at the earliest, Apple did not suffer from the “lack of core” losses. For example, due to constant lawsuits with Qualcomm, it turned to embrace the Intel baseband chip with insufficient performance, Apple’s iPhone 8 signal was poor, and it fell from the first echelon of 5G mobile phones. The road to baseband chips.

For domestic mobile phone manufacturers, supply chain security is undoubtedly a key factor, but on the other hand, as Huawei relinquishes the market and wants to truly enter the high-end market originally occupied by Huawei and Apple, it seems that only self-developed chips can be used. Only by going out of differentiation can the market be opened up.

But self-developed chips are never easy. After the failure of self-developed surging chips, Xiaomi has turned to investing in the chip industry chain in the past two years. It has been ten years since Apple released its own Arm-based PC chip, and we only saw its first Mac chip today.

In the past two years, vivo has obviously begun to strengthen cooperation with a number of chip manufacturers. In addition to Qualcomm, the cooperation with Samsung and MediaTek is also working hard at the same time. Different from the self-research strategy of Apple and Huawei, Vivo relies on its own understanding of user needs and transfers it to chip manufacturers, and its customization depth is continuously strengthened.

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