Vivo has no intention of creating real “cores”, strategic errors bury major hidden dangers, and may not be able to withstand the cost of lack of “cores”

Due to the chip ban and the split glory, Huawei’s mobile phone market share suffered a cliff-like decline.

According to a survey conducted by the authoritative institution Counterpoint, in July this year, vivo ranked first with a market share of 24%, followed by OPPO with a market share of 20%, followed by Xiaomi’s 15%, Honor’s 13%, and Apple’s 12%.

You know, at the peak of 2020, Huawei’s market share is close to 50%, and now only 8% remains.

In the high-end mobile phone market (unit price over US$600), Apple returned to the top spot with 63%, Vivo and Huawei tied for second with 14%, followed by Xiaomi with 6% and OPPO with 1%.

It can be seen that among the market share that Huawei surrendered, the low-end portion was eaten by vivo, OPPO, etc., while the high-end portion became Apple’s lunch.

This is something that domestic big factories don’t want to see.

The reason lies in the lack of core technology. It may be possible to assemble a “performance monster” with Qualcomm’s chips, Samsung’s screen, Sony’s lens, and Google’s system, but after all, it is almost meaningless compared to the highly self-developed Huawei and Apple.

Therefore, the major domestic manufacturers that are unwilling to “grab” Apple have stepped up their research and development progress. Therefore, we have seen that there are constant news of mobile phone manufacturers developing chips this year.

On September 6, at the imaging technology sharing meeting held by vivo, vivo’s self-developed ISP chip V1 made its debut. It is reported that this is the first imaging chip developed by vivo over 300 people in 24 months.

In March at the beginning of the year, Xiaomi also launched the “Surge C1” imaging chip on the folding screen mobile phone MIX FOLD. OPPO’s ISP chip and SoC chip are also under development, as shown in the following table:

So far, the “Mi OV” core-making pattern has gradually surfaced, but the question is, can core-making really help them gain the right to speak in the high-end market?

Xiaomi’s core-making road should start with the surging S1.

This 2017 SoC chip is also Xiaomi’s only self-developed SoC, which is sold on Xiaomi 5C. However, due to immature training and excessive fever, the market response was not good.

In fact, the SoC chip is not only the heart (CPU) of the mobile phone, but also the core components such as GPU, AI, and baseband. It is very difficult to design and manufacture.

Like Huawei’s Kirin SoC chip, it is the culmination of more than ten years of hard work. It is difficult for other manufacturers to have the same determination and courage as Huawei, and they lack continuous investment in funds.

Therefore, Xiaomi, which suffered a failure, temporarily put down SoC and turned to develop ISP chips.

The so-called ISP (Image Signal Processor, image signal processor) chip is related to the camera effect. The focus, color optimization, sharpening, and noise reduction of the camera are all related to the ISP.

ISP is just a “small chip” in a mobile phone. Compared to SoC, it is much simpler. Xiaomi’s intention may be to make it easy first and then difficult, until it has enough technology accumulation to overcome the difficulties of SoC.
Compared to Xiaomi’s gradual and orderly approach, OPPO is quite bold and intends to focus its firepower on the hard bones of SoC.

To this end, OPPO first established a subsidiary ZEKU (ZEKU), poached Qualcomm’s technical director and MediaTek’s chief operating officer, and then recruited a large number of chip research and development personnel. At present, the team has expanded to nearly 2,000 people and can be independently responsible. Chip end-to-end design.

In addition to developing SoC, ZEKU is also developing ISP, short-range communications, 5G Modem, radio frequency and power management chips and other technologies, with the goal of highly self-developed terminal products.

In the “Mi OV” core-making pattern, Xiaomi and OPPO both intend to make their own SoC chips, but vivo does not have this plan.

Its chief operating officer Hu Baishan made it clear in an interview with the media in July: “Vivo has no plans to invest in SoC.”

Therefore, vivo’s core manufacturing efforts have been centered around ISP. On September 9th, vivo’s flagship mobile phone X70 of the year was officially unveiled. In the publicity, the self-developed chip V1 on this model was placed in a prominent position.

The V1 chip is the first ISP chip developed by vivo.

Refusing to do SoC, vivo has its own considerations.

A very important reason is that the chip update speed has been very fast. At present, Qualcomm and MediaTek are secretly competing for the first release of 4nm SoC chips.

Regardless of the “Mi OV”, it is obviously unrealistic to make 4nm chips. It must be iterated gradually from easy to difficult. This is bound to be a costly and time-consuming super-large project.

Another more important reason may be that vivo is eager to build a hot model similar to Huawei Mate, and wants to use ISP chips to carve up the high-end market.

The clues can be seen from the recent moves of vivo. In December last year, vivo reached a strategic cooperation with Zeiss, and this year it launched its self-developed ISP chip V1.

Similarly, Huawei equipped the Mate8 with its first self-developed ISP chip, which eventually became a hit; on the Mate9, Huawei and Leica teamed up to launch the Leica dual camera, which further consolidated its market position.

With self-developed ISP chips and strategic cooperation with established optical manufacturers, vivo has done both. It is not difficult to see that vivo is imitating Huawei, trying to make its own X series into an explosive model.

However, vivo only knows one thing and does not know the other. The Huawei Mate series has always performed well in terms of performance, screen, system optimization, and battery life. Taking pictures has been an important shortcoming for a long time.

Huawei is determined to develop its own ISP chip in order to make up for this shortcoming, and this allows the Mate8, which has no obvious shortcomings, to completely out of the circle.

Described by numbers, the Mate phone originally scored 90 points in all aspects, but only 60 points for taking pictures. When the picture was upgraded to 80 points, consumers’ views on it were completely changed.

On the other hand, when looking at vivo, taking pictures is the strength of vivo. Even without an ISP chip, vivo’s camera capabilities are widely recognized.

Its shortcomings are system, ecology, interaction, design and other aspects. However, Vivo does not seem to be willing to work hard on the short board. Instead, it chose to develop the V1 chip to patch the long board. This may be the key to the tepid X series.

From the perspective of a third party, Xiaomi and OPPO are relatively aggressive and both intend to conquer the core and most difficult SoC chips, while vivo’s move seems a bit tricky.

Although both OPPO and Xiaomi are still in the R&D stage, vivo rejects SoC so simply, it is likely to bury hidden dangers for its future development.

In the field of science and technology, it is a mistake not to advance or to retreat, and sometimes not to make progress fast enough.

Once Xiaomi or OPPO come up with a relatively mature SoC and continue to iterate, vivo may not be able to bear the cost of lack of “core”.

By then, it will be difficult for vivo to maintain its status in the arena, and may have to face the embarrassing situation of declining market share again, just like the years when Huawei rose.

Because, looking at the world’s three strongest mobile phone manufacturers: Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, they all have their own SoC chips, namely Apple’s A series, Huawei’s Kirin series, and Samsung’s Orion series.

It can be seen that if you want to be the strongest, you must master the core things in your own hands, otherwise it will be easy to be controlled by others.

Just like what Tu Leijun said below, to become a great company, you must master core technologies.

As for vivo, which has long relied on Qualcomm to provide chips, once it encounters a supply cut, mobile phone manufacturing will be completely misfired.

This means that if vivo is content to lie on its laurels and only conduct painless R&D in areas such as photography, it may be difficult to maintain its position as the number one domestic market share in the future.

Waiting for Xiaomi or OPPO to come up with its own SoC, it will be too late for vivo to make up lessons.