OPPO MariSilicon X imaging NPU beefs-up smartphone photography

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The trend among OEMs to manufacture their own in-house chipsets is trending by the look of things. Huawei, Apple, Google, Samsung, and Xiaomi have all tried out the idea and not all have succeeded. Take for example Xiaomi who announced its chipset in 2017, only to make the shift to image signal processing chips later on. Now at the annual INNO Days event, OPPO has introduced its maiden imaging NPU called MariSilicon X (built by TSMC) based on the 6nm manufacturing process. This puts OPPO in the elite club of smartphone makers with their own in-house silicon.

The Chinese smartphone maker aims to drastically improve the photo and video quality of its mobile devices with this new chipset that boasts a neural-network accelerator in its guts. Together with the image signal processor, the chipset will enable Android devices to process camera data quickly and efficiently which all goes well for future OPPO smartphones.

First devices to get the MariSilicon X NPU will be the next generation Find X series (Find X4 in particular) slated to be announced in Q1 2022. The chipset will eliminate the reliance on the ISP present in Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC and better hardware-software compatibility.

Advanced AI and Algorithms on the imaging processor will result in better noise reduction, color reproduction, HDR, dynamic range, and better details. As per OPPO, the chipset will enable 4K AI Night Video capture in RAW format, making use of the complete image data, apparently the first time ever on Android phones.

At the event, OPPO claimed the accelerator chip on the MariSilicon X can perform 18 trillion 8-bit integer neural network operations per second and employ machine-learning algorithms for the images without massive battery drain. For the end-user, this means images that’ll pop out instantly and videos that will have quality visuals.

There are no more details about the chipset introduced by Oppo Senior Director Jiang Bo at this point, and no real-time date exhibiting the performance of the chipset. However, we presume it will up the ante in photography for the brand.

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