Sony is allegedly working on an in-house smartphone SoC

Sony is allegedly working on an in-house smartphone SoC
According to Taiwanese publication Digitimes, Sony will join the ranks of Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and LG as yet another smartphone maker that designs its own mobile chipsets. 

Now, before we jump to the details, it should be mentioned that Digitimes has a hit or miss reputation at best when it comes to surfacing details on upcoming products. As such, make sure to digest this info with a dose of the proverbial salt.

The Digitimes report, quoting the usual unnamed industry sources, says that Sony is planning to develop an in-house mobile SoC. Looking at the top smartphone manufacturers by global sales volume, most of those in the top five design their own chips. Apple designs its own AX chips, Huawei designs the Kirin chips, while Samsung designs and also manufactures its in-house Exynos chips. 

Even LG has tried its luck at designing a mobile SoC, and while the original LG Nuclun was anything but a success, recent leaks indicate that LG Nuclun 2, a chip that will be designed by LG but manufactured by Intel and TSMC, will mark major performance improvements compared to its predecessor. 

Unfortunately, the report makes no mention of what to expect from Sony's first chipset. In the age of online leaks, it's unlikely that notable progress on such a major project would have been able to remain hidden from public eyes. Furthermore, even if Sony is indeed planning to design its own smartphone chip, we don't expect to see a Sony chipset powering the flagship smartphones from the Xperia Z lineup anytime soon.

source: Digitimes via GforGames

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46 Comments

1. chenski

Posts: 759; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

Everybody is designing socs now!

9. Shocky unregistered

Indeed, you can thank Qualcomm for that. The last two generations from them have been poor, OEM's want to steel customers from Apple and it's hard to do that with the SoC that simply isn't as good. Snapdragon 820 looks decent so far but I think it's too late, the damage is done.

15. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

It'll make sense to make their own soc. They're building their own factory, they have a vast experience in doing that, we all know how successful Playstation's are.

18. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Let's be honest, the cell chip wasn't exactly a runaway success. But Sony does have the experience and more competition can't hurt.

41. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

I'm with you @Finalflash but as you said competition can't hurt and we consumer will benefit from it.

22. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Playstation uses processor made by AMD.

26. ph00ny

Posts: 2025; Member since: May 26, 2011

IBM's cell proc?

33. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2340; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

It's not necessarily Qualcomm that is to blame for it. LG has been working on their own SoCs long before the 810 came out and showed to be a disaster. The real reasoning behind this is that these companies will save money by producing their own chipsets instead of having to use ones from another manufacturer. When you keep production for most parts in-house, it means that you are more than likely getting the part for next to nothing than when it comes to another manufacturer where there is a natural mark-up in order to make a profit. That and now these manufacturers can control the performance/efficiency levels and can even mix and match certain technologies. For instance, I would figure Sony would be VERY interested in using the nVidia GPU licenses on whatever chipset they produce. I'm thinking that in the future we could see a Playstation Phone (a rebirth of the Xperia Play) because now we are so advanced in our GPU technology for smartphones we can actually have real console-like graphics in the palm of your hand (compared to when the Xperia Play was produced and it was still nowhere near console-level).

37. Marienx

Posts: 115; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

What this stupid companies don't get is that if you are NOT designing the software along with the soc then they will never be good... And this is why Apple's chipset gets high benchmarks. Btw, I don't like Apple. Android enthusiasts here.

2. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Sorry but this sounds like bulls**t. Sony's making no profits on mobile and they want to waste money on designing chips instead of buying them (which is rather cheaper)

21. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Well they do make tons of consoles and they have designed chips before and they do want to make money in the mobile space while having synergy with all of their services. So Yea... They probably will make chips.

25. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

But they make money on consoles, they don't make money on mobile. See the difference? Why the hell would they waste more money

3. vuyonc

Posts: 1089; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

If they're designing in house chips, it should probably be for cheap wearables, smart TVs and IoT stuff. Sony doesn't need a Nuclun flop.

8. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

2016 is the Game of Phones!

20. Shamoy

Posts: 112; Member since: Dec 28, 2013

Sony is not LG.

4. KParks23

Posts: 722; Member since: Oct 13, 2010

I highly doubt this, the current state sony is in if they start throwing money to R&D a SOC that would be very dumb! Now although the SD810 was the only thing holing the z5 back u also gotta believe that they learned there lesson and the SD820 will not have these problems. so the only thing sony needs to work on is like we all been saying getting there phones to all markets in a timley manner and cut down there number of flagships they really need to launch phones on all us carriers that should be there #1 priority right now i think we pretty much all can agree the z5 was a beast and looked really good also. A little marketing would not hurt either.

40. dimas

Posts: 3343; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Yeah it's dumb. Because making billions on camera sensors and investing on r&d to improve their product is stupid, right? Let them burn their wallet for consumers and all we have to do is buy an affordable flagship in the future.

5. Kumar123 unregistered

Does Sony have any experience in designing chip? Just curious.

7. sceamgid

Posts: 25; Member since: Nov 12, 2015

yes , ps vita and ps3's cell , they also desings imaging and sound chips...

14. lalalaman

Posts: 638; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

ps vita worked like a charm...i wish its better than that

23. S.A.S.P

Posts: 19; Member since: Sep 06, 2015

no(only imaging and sound chips) The PSVita uses the ARM CPU architecture(ARM Cortex-A9 for Wi-Fi version) and PowerVR SGX 543MP4 GPU Samsung manufactures those chips for Sony! and only thing left for Sony to do was naming that chip!(labeled Sony CXD5315GG) also the cell processor was designed and manufactured by IBM Sony and Toshiba just helped IBM to customize it for what ps3's needs

28. Luki82

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 18, 2015

Dont be silly. PSVITA have Toshiba SoC (ARM) with 3D VRAM (via TVS). Cell is made from IBM (G5) and Toshiba SPU (vector processors) and first patent is from Sony and NEC. Dont write bul**its.

29. Luki82

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 18, 2015

"This type of face-to-face connection showed up back in 2006 in the original Sony PSP, and Toshiba had dubbed it “semi-embedded DRAM”, now they are calling it “Stacked Chip SoC”. The ball pitch is an impressive ~45 µm, almost as tight as TI’s copper pillars, but they are staggered to achieve 40-µm pitch. So what are the five chips that are in the stack? At the base we have the processor chip; face to face with it is a Samsung 1-Gb wide I/O SDRAM; and the top three dies comprise two Samsung 2-Gb mobile DDR2 SDRAMs, separated by a spacer die, and conventionally wire-bonded. The base die is ~250 µm thick, and the others ~100 – 120 µm."

30. Luki82

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 18, 2015

"By combining the processor with the different memories in the same package in the Vita, Sony and Toshiba have produced one of the few true system-in-package (SiP) parts that we have seen. And I would call it 3D, even though industry convention is now restricting that term to TSV-based parts – so it’s not 3D, in our current argot."

31. S.A.S.P

Posts: 19; Member since: Sep 06, 2015

you don't know even what your talking about! SPU / Sheet Manufacturing Equipment Building materials its about Building materials!

34. Luki82

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 18, 2015

Stop writing bull*its.

35. S.A.S.P

Posts: 19; Member since: Sep 06, 2015

just do search about "Toshiba SPU">>google it! and about cell processor Sony to IBM: please can we make some awesome processor together? IBM to Sony: WTF! no way! Sony : please!! I will pay you! IBM :oh ok ! just sit down there and don't touch anything ok?! Sony : ok and thank you Sony : hey Toshiba ! come here! his doing it Sony : now we are in! and now people(fans) know us as a processor designer like IBM! who knows what we did in this progress !!! about RSX GPU >>Based on G70 Chip in turn based on the NV47 (GeForce 7800 GTX) but with only 8 ROPs activated and 128 Bit memory interface

36. sceamgid

Posts: 25; Member since: Nov 12, 2015

i dont know why you talk about you dont know any sh t. ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/7502.wss sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Press_Archive/200411/04-112​9E/ "A team of IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba engineers has collaborated on development of the Cell microprocessor at a joint design center established in Austin, Texas, since March 2001. " "Initial production of Cell microprocessors is expected to begin at IBM's 300mm wafer fabrication facility in East Fishkill, N.Y., followed by Sony Group's Nagasaki Fab, this year."

42. Luki82

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 18, 2015

Stop writing bull**its. Toshiba invate IBM to Japan in late 2000 and want make only SPU processor without PPU. IBM want PPU inside. Toshiba and Sony make first 128-bit processor (EE in PS2). Type Wikipedia 128-bit -> Hisotry -> A CPU with 128-bit multimedia extensions was designed by researchers in 1999.[4]: Suzuoki, M.; Kutaragi, K.; Hiroi, T.; Magoshi, H.; Okamoto, S.; Oka, M.; Ohba, A.; Yamamoto, Y.; Furuhashi, M.; Tanaka, M.; Yutaka, T.; Okada, T.; Nagamatsu, M.; Urakawa, Y.; Funyu, M.; Kunimatsu, A.; Goto, H.; Hashimoto, Type u nerd in google patents "sony cell broadband Masakazu Suzuoki Takeshi Yamazaki". Yamazaki work for NEC before Sony in Supercomputers. Suzuoki work for Toshiba. Once again. Stop writing bul**ts.

43. S.A.S.P

Posts: 19; Member since: Sep 06, 2015

you are just a Sony's fan boy/Girl ! who trying to defend your beloved company so I understand that and no problem here if you cant accept the truth BTW just try to calm down ! because your insulting make no sense to me baby

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