Sony Mobile rumoured to develop in-house chips for Xperia devices

by XB on 18th November 2015

in News


Xperia in-house chipSony Mobile is considering the development of its own application processors for use in mobile devices, according to a report from DigiTimes. The report says that both Sony Mobile and LG plan to develop in-house chips, following on other manufacturers that already do this such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei.

If true, this could eventually mean a move away from Qualcomm and MediaTek as the two main chipset suppliers for Xperia devices to date. The report goes on to say that Global Unichip, the Taiwanese-based dedicated fabless ASIC provider, has won development orders from “Asia-based handset vendors”.

However, we’d exhibit caution on this rumour. Sony doesn’t have the buckets of cash that the aforementioned companies have when it comes to developing a class-leading chipset. Would this news worry about how competitive Sony could be? Would you prefer Sony to use the latest off-the-shelf chips from Qualcomm or MediaTek? Or do you feel, this is an important step for Sony to differentiate itself? We’d love to your thoughts below.

Via DigiTimes.

Thanks Hendra and Ramuk!

  • ChilliPSco

    Sony better think of fixing the camera blur issue on the Z5/Z5C first before thinking of making their own chips. If they can’t get the basics right, what chance do Sony have with their own chips?

  • Robert Szombati

    I’d like to see one single chip implemented in future Xperia devices, and that is, a dedicated S-master audio chip!

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  • Serdar Aytamaner

    I would think of it as a good news because it would show Sony’s commitment to mobile device business. But it’s doubtful that they could always be able to keep up with the development speed of the rival manufacturers.

  • Right now it wont be a smart & efficient move by Sony because they need to cut costs not to increase them for that big operation. Also they need to outsource many components in current situation and they need to evaluate their Make or Buy options for Chipsets and then they need to implement it but it should be in a couple of years atleast.

  • Vuyo Ncube

    It would seem out of the blue to develop SoCs for smartphones. Way too expensive to be profitable. LG’s Nuclun operation was a $150 million flop for example. Nvidia lost its modem business for its unpopular Tegra chipsets. Very difficult to penetrate the market.

    Sony might start slow. The chips could be for cheap wearables, smart TVs and IoT stuff. Dual core Cortex A35, single cluster Mali T860, 256 MB RAM, HSA and cheap HSDPA radios could help with low cost, high battery life SmartWatchs.

  • twm

    So, no more Quick Charge 2.0?

  • Le Kawaii Potatoe

    I would like to see Sony’s own SoCs, but there are more important priorities than that right now.

  • ramuk

    You are welcome XB.

  • Alvin

    The first i read the title “what the hell…? But alright… At least some xb viewers here will have their wishes granted.”

  • xAntifreeZe

    All the best Sony! Definitely will differentiate from others if it’s a success :)
    Btw Z5 Premium is great ^^

  • mountain

    Unless they are making a new psvita or xperia play, i do not see why they need to make a soc themself

  • Alvin

    First time i saw the title “what the hell! But it’s okay, at least those xb viewers’ wishes are granted”

  • Shaktimaan

    Well Sony-Ericsson had the NovaThor chipset, before they split…so I guess Sony has some experience in the field.Anyways a big company like Sony should show some in-house power!!

  • Alvin

    Yeah… They should reconsider it since it would be a better Choice if they stick with qualcomm and optumise, make it just works… Or move to exynos or intel… They should realise that their business, especially mobile communications is having a bad performance these days, so for their semiconductors division (except for the camera module one)… If they do it, it will cost a lot, and i know they have a lot of cash but it is just not efficient….

  • Alvin

    Yeah, they really are a giant… Or a sleeping giant to be honest.

    They have a lot of potentials.. But if they don’t do anything or do anything stupid or useless, i don’t think they’ll go to where they should be in like 7-12 years ago..

  • Shaktimaan

    Exactly, they need to spend some of the profits from their camera and PlayStation business, into the mobile division so that it’s profitable again.

  • Alvin

    That would help.. Just a bit… But i want to see that they perform with their own energies…

    By they i mean mobile communications people

  • NeilNTR .

    Could be just other custom chips gpu, sound etc… not necessarily main cpu.

  • jxPerience

    Good job Sony, you should have done this from the time you acquired Sony Ericsson

  • hansip

    with Sony Semiconductor spinoff, such approach makes sense. But i bet they will implement such chip for low end first, since at the top end Qualcomm ones still the more recognizable brand for customer. But with low end solution, they can finally dump Mediatek so they can support Open Source more freely. Hope that’s the case though.

  • ????????????

    It will kill competitors phones in gaming.

  • dragonsneeze

    It may lead to faster longer support and better optimised sw if they can make it. If they also choose quality over quantity and support longer they can be the Apple of the Android realm. Too unreal? Maybe.

  • David van der Zande

    Sony Mobile is not “an Asian based vendor”. Sony Mobile is a 100% Swedish company, every part of the engineering is done in Sweden.

  • Tibor Hornyák
  • Tibor Hornyák

    this is a licensed technology. Aa samsung do it from qualcomm

  • Timel

    Creating their own SoC it’s also great for Xperia’s software updates

    LG Nuclun isn’t flop, LG’s NUCLUN 2 Chip Can Outperform Exynos 7420 Processor

    http://www.pvsm.ru/images/2015/08/18/poyavilis-predvaritelnye-svedeniya-o-proizvoditelnosti-SoC-LG-Nuclun-2.jpg

  • Timel

    I support Sony to make their own SoC

  • Uzair Syed

    A joint venture between PlayStation and Xperia again would be great. Maybe this time: PlayStation Xperia: a dedicated handheld…that happens to be a phone (keeping buttons and all of course)

  • Max

    I wouldn’t worry about money, Sony has around £16bn in cash and cash equivalents in the bank and it recently raised money on the equity markets to invest money in its semi-conductor operations. They may have set aside some of that for research into their own mobile chips.

  • Nodar Sixarulidze
  • Timel

    Yes! that’s always in my dream

  • Timel

    So interesting! Sony has the strong ecosystem and It is ‘PlayStatation’

    Maybe the flagship smartphone that comes with the same processor as PlayStation 4 would be so cool LOL

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  • Exodite

    It doesn’t seem like Sony would have enough to gain from such a development at the current time.

    They just don’t ship enough units that make use of advanced SoCs to make it financially viable, given the development cycle involved.

    I suppose if they’re aiming at also develop their own chips for use in TVs, cameras and whatever then maybe… but what are the margins on those kind of chips really?

    In the end I’m not opposed to the idea, it just doesn’t seem plausible.

  • Chitti- The Robot

    Special Thanks to Snapdragon.
    Hope this comes to life because if this happens Sony can have more control.
    Better battery life and better image processing.

  • Battal

    Maybe because it’ll cost em less than SD & MT

  • Tangent Lin

    Focus on software side first.. Need to enhance home launcher and add some useful features that allow user to remove if they don’t need it.. Most importantly is camera software side.. Auto mode still not the best.. Camera capture at night have lot of noise..

  • insyt

    Good luck finding a battery that can power a ps4 chip in a smart phone.

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  • Svnjay

    Yeah, the Xperia Play all over again.

  • Shamoy Rahman

    Time to ditch Qualcomm and move into fighting Exynos. I hope the Xperia Z6 comes with a Sony SoC and tops benchmarks.

  • Vuyo Ncube

    Geekbench only tests CPU performance and even then, the newer Exynos 8890 annihilated everyone with 7400 points. The Nuclun 2 will also need at least a Mali T880 MP8 GPU to remain competitive.

    Dude the Nuclun chipset was a flop and never even made it outside South Korea.
    http://www.phonearena.com/news/LGs-flawed-NUCLUN-chipset-reportedly-drives-LG-G3-Screen-sales-to-the-ground_id63451

  • deekbee

    Interesting development, but at the moment there are really only two “designs” out there.

    Apple are “only” licensing the instruction set, the silicon is all their own design. All of the others – NVidia, Samsung, Qualcomm – they’re all based on the original ARM designs, Cortex, etc.

    I do wish that companies (well, Android based manufacturers) would stop just chasing benchmarks – software optimisation is just as important (if not more so). On release the Z5C camera was slow at opening and operation, the recent updates have turned the camera from something a little awkward at times to a device that is rather slick in operation.

    (I put only in quotes, as designing a chip from the ground up with only a reference instruction set is not an easy task, but then even taking a reference/off the shelf design and building your own silicon isn’t an easy task either)

  • lastguru

    Not a good idea, unless they do some low-end chips. Qualcomm invests tons of resources into their high-end chips – I don’t expect a newcomer to beat it. Samsung is huge in semiconductor business, that’s why they’ve succeeded (but even they don’t touch GPU part). I don’t see MediaTek or LG chips beating them. Low-end is a different story, as there is a need to operate on lowest possible margins, and R&D investments are not as huge (ARM reference design with a few tweaks for power consumption could suffice).

  • Roh_Mish

    If this means more open devices, I am all in.

    As far as I know, Sony already has in-house design with their android TV and most other devices. (Mostly cameras and stuff.) They also had a significantly customized architecture for PS3. So they already know a thing or two about processors already.

  • HAWX

    Uuu where is Timel now? :)
    Btw I think they will do processors for low end phones, at least in the beginning.

  • Roh_Mish

    This. I still have my old Sony walkman phones and they have better audio. The Qcom dsp and third party dac just doesn’t cut it

  • Ryuzaki Raiga

    “But it’s doubtful that they could always be able to keep up with the development speed of the rival manufacturers.”

  • Ryuzaki Raiga

    they should concentrate to wearable, IoT and smart TV instead of wasting on Xperia SoC

  • Matt

    Nooopppeee nope nope nope.

    Later on in the future, maybe but now? Nope I think Sony do not have any resources to do that right now or next year

  • marcyff2

    if they create it with a specific device in mind it might have a faster release than most. The biggest problems with Qualcomn, intel, MediaTeck and Nvidia processors is that they have to account different devices with different settings.

  • fsured

    When I first saw this article, this is what I thought they would be doing. Developing individual chips or custom master chip to run certain functions they developed instead of having to depend on a chips that every oem uses.

  • marcyff2

    better yet good luck squeezing a desktop grade processor to the size of a phone. Just the temp in itself would burn some pockets

  • marcyff2

    experience in the field they have, sony has a huge hardware and components background.

  • Roh_Mish

    A part of issue is that the aging Qcom dsp is just isn’t capable of processing data fast. (Not that its the main issue)

    And a new ISP means new software and that could mean far better image.

  • Roh_Mish

    I don’t think this thing will make appearance until early 2017.

  • MoYeung

    probably HTC, not Sony.

  • Roh_Mish

    Think of it. A connector at bottom of phone and with a controller sold separately, you can easily get a Xperia play 2. (A cover with the slide out controller.)

  • Roh_Mish

    Apple has some of the components straight from arm.
    And they still use powerVR

  • jose

    in my humble opinion, sony better make cross business with samsung in a win/win relationship, sharing both top exynos and top camera sensors. Lets be honest, samsung it’s doing a very good job with the camera sensors thay sony supplies, imagine the s6 with the new z5 exmor rs. Sony can play with the exclusive they have when introduces new camera sensors

  • Tochi Nwodu

    Experiments at this point wouldn’t be a welcome idea
    Assuming it was still sony -ericsson maybe it might work..
    The level competition is high.. make some profits then, try the experiment

  • Timel

    Wearable? You mean the devices like those boring Sony smartwatchs? The Sony smarteyeglass?

  • tristi lumina

    Unfortunately, Sony dont care about your complaints. LOL

  • nfs2010

    7400 Score of the new Exynos is probably just another fake score. Samsung officially confirmed 30% performance improvement (over 7420) when they announced their new Exynos 8890 & we all know that’s the theoretical max that needs to be taken with a grain of salt :)

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/9781/samsung-announces-exynos-8890-with-cat1213-modem-and-custom-cpu

  • nfs2010

    Exactly – Replacing mediatek is feasible if this turns out to be true. Replacing Qcom is a whole different game & I don’t think Sony’ll go that far right off the bat.

  • This might sound great on paper, but with Sony Mobile having such a measly market share currently, app compatibility might be an issue.

  • shenoy

    Sony made chips? Sony always charge premium. Now sony made chips will reduce the cost of xperia or increase? I am afraid the cost may increase further. But am sure quality will be top notch.

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  • KzX

    Cost wil be decrease because Sony doesn’t need to pay qualcomm for chipsets.

  • Tochi Nwodu

    It so wouldn’t….check out samsung

  • Timel

    Agree, You may be right.

  • Timel

    I found one LOL
    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/nov/16/smartphone-battery-huawei-technology-charge-48-per-cent-five-minutes

    Hauwei invest so much in r&d and now look like Hauwei is going to be one of the biggest leader innovation in this era

  • Timel

    Creating their own SoC will be good for Xperia’s software updates also, I mean ‘FASTER UPDATE’

  • Timel

    How do you know? The fact that Sony insiders have read Xperiablog.net

  • Vuyo Ncube

    Noted. An Octacore CPU containing custom Cortex A72s on Samsung’s newer 14nm LPP process is no joke nonetheless.

  • nfs2010

    True. But 820 with 100% perf. improvement (more salt) & rumored S7 variant with 820 make things quite interesting.

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  • Irrelevant. Sony mobile is basically living its last year. Samsung has announced BRITECELL too today, so watch Sony loose iPhone contracts and many others in the coming months in the only still profitable area of their business – imaging. Ouch! It’s gonna hurt Sony, it’s gonna hurt real bad real soon.

  • Tommie Nichols

    This is exciting news considering how powerful ps4 is the most powerful console and the chip inside of it is made by sony and it’s state of the art, better than the rest. They have away of making more powerful chips than others… Can’t wait to see how “active” this chip will actually make a phone.. But apple to me has one of the smoothest mobile operating systems let’s see the underdog (sony) rise..As always.

  • Miguel Ortiz

    The PS4 uses an AMD chip which isn’t really powerful at all

  • Tommie Nichols

    Yes Amd “jaguar”, but that GDDR5 memory is all sony I believe giving it more processing power than the “other” contenders.

  • azzido

    Xperia Play 2 with 6 inch display!
    Can’t wait!

  • azzido

    Good news.
    Hope Sony again join with Toshiba and IBM to produce perfect chip.

    They only need to remember that high-end users require best performance.
    When it comes to CPU this may not be a problem, however I am worrying about GPU.

    Good luck.

  • azzido

    Thanks to this Sony may avoid mistakes done by other manufacturers like Qualcomm, note Z3+ did not sell because of 810… This is a fact.

  • Edwin

    About time Sony, don’t get slow down by other companies.

  • Timel

    PS4’s chip is much powerful more than even Snapdragon 820

  • Timel

    PS4 Chip made by AMD

    Sony dont even have the ability to make their own SoC, Sony dont have know-how and money

  • Timel

    I prefer detachable controllers

  • Timel

    Sony SoC will use Nvidia or AMD GPUs

  • Danny

    GREAT! I’m hoping Sony would consider building their own SoC or team up with Renesas, Toshiba or other Japanese semiconductor Manufacturer to create a chip that could rival the top players.

  • Miguel Ortiz

    You’re comparing a desktop chip to a mobile chip

  • aseuss

    Sony already has deep experience in semiconductor design and manufacturing: they design and produce image sensors which are used in Xperia, phones made by Apple, Samsung, and HTC and in cameras made by Canon, Nikon and GoPro; NFC chips used in Felica payment systems around Asia; and until recently produced Cell chips, which they played a key role in designing, which were used in the last generation of gaming consoles. So I have no doubt that they can bring a well designed mobile chip to market. They’re probably thinking that even if theydon’t sell phones, they can sell these mobile SoC’s to othercompanies, just like they have been doing with their image sensors.

  • Shamoy Rahman

    maybe, we’ll see

  • Faizal Mohd

    probably they just build it on top of a snapdragon like motorola used to do. a custom chip made just for sony. it makes sense to bake s-master audio chip inside the main chipset. sony know audio video but qualcomm doesn’t. sony used to only baked in their propiotery tech as a software layer in forms of bravia engine, then they provided the hardware in terms of triluminous. so custom chipset is a simple evolution of these. google too also reported to be looking to do the same.

    and with sony providing the majority of camera module it might make sense for sony and qualcomm to colobarate to take advantage of sony camera.for example 13mp front camera isnt possible on a snapdragon but possible on mediatek helio. again sony is a master of camera but qualcomm don’t. so relying on a chip where their makers arent a master of video,audio nor camera is not a briliant move that is why probably apple design their own chip on top of arm design.

    also since sony isnt going to chase volume. it is weird for them to build a new factory unless they intersted in pulling what google used to plan for motorola that is to provide variety like those of moto maker.

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  • Rikimaru Azuma

    Their Bravia are already awesome(But as all sony product except PS people don’t really knows exactly what Sony bring).

    Then we need more information before to juge.
    If Sony decide to move on its own chipset perhaps it’s could bring improvement has they did with Bravia.

  • kaostheory

    And true Playstaion compatibility. To be able to play Vita or older console games would be huge.

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  • Geese Howard

    Rumors usually start from ‘somewhere’, so this may be true. However I don’t think we will see Sony doing so anytime soon, Only time would tell. I personally find Qualcomm’s Snapdragon pretty decent.

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  • Fawas Kutni

    Oh Hell Yeah

  • Kunal Shukla
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  • Svnjay

    Bravia tvs use mediatek chipsets.

  • Timel

    I totally agree, Sony should do that. but… Sorry I’m really sorry, Sony dont think the same way

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/business/sony-denies-chip-rumor/

  • Rikimaru Azuma

    Yes you are right ;). I express wrong. I wanted talk about X1 who is clearly designed by Sony in order to bring best picture and post traitement.

  • Timel

    So interesting! Not just Google and Apple that have strong ecosystems Sony also has the strong ecosystem and It is ‘PlayStatation’

    Maybe the next Xperia flagship smartphone wil come with the same processor as PlayStation 4 and the PS4’s orbis OS and then we can play PS4 games natively on our Sony smartphones, it would be so cool, a cool idea LOL

  • kaostheory

    PS4 compatibility might be a stretch, but definitely 2 and possibly 3. Also I just ordered Google Cardboard (actually plastic version) and would love to see my Xperia to be used for Morpheus.

  • Shamoy Rahman

    That is a smart idea. Sony is already mass producing FD-SOI (better than FinFET) chips for Xiaomi’s smartwatch.

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