Oppo filed a trademark for the “Oppo M1” chip back in 2019. At the time it was assumed that this will be an in-house designed chipset as the company reportedly hired engineers from MediaTek and Spreadtrum (aka Unisoc). Last year the company padded out that team with Qualcomm, HiSilicon and more MediaTek hires.
Now leakster Digital Chat Station reveals that the M1 chip is actually a custom Image Signal Processor (ISP). ISPs are responsible for taking in the raw pixel data from the camera sensor and performing all the necessary steps to convert that to the final photo or video frame.
This includes color correction, sharpening and even more complicated procedures such as stacking. The better the processing, the better the final image quality, we’ve seen that proven plenty of times.
Night mode and similar are processed by the ISP
Google had its own custom ISP in older Pixels, though it recently switched to relying on just the hardware inside the Snapdragon chipsets. Oppo had been doing the same until now, but a custom chip will better suit the company’s focus on camera excellence.
This ISP chip is the first product from the Project Mariana team (hence “M1”). This team reportedly includes engineers form sibling brands OnePlus and Realme, so it’s quite likely that their phones will also feature the M1 chip.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that Oppo doesn’t have a custom chipset in the works. It and Xiaomi are reportedly working on 5G chipsets that are slated to arrive this year. Xiaomi already has a custom ISP, the Surge C1 chip, which was featured in the Mi Mix Fold.