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Home > Embedded Events > [2023]What is an SoC Everything you Need to Know about Smartphone Chipsets

[2023]What is an SoC Everything you Need to Know about Smartphone Chipsets

Date: 27-02-2023 ClickCount: 406

Nowadays, smart phones have many powerful functions, the root of which lies in the cell phone processor, cell phone processor is also called soc, soc is System on Chip, generally refers to the CPU, GPU, DSP, RAM, Modem and other modules integrated together in the chip.



In addition to power management, RF solutions and other functions, the vast majority of cell phone functions can not be completed without soc, which is the role of soc chip. Here's a look at what SoC means and the role and function of the SoC chip.


1. What is SoC (System on Chip)


SoC is called System on Chip, it is the CPU (central processing unit), GPU (graphics processor), digital signal processor (DSP), RAM (memory), modem (Modem), navigation and positioning modules and multimedia modules, and so on together in a system solution.


system on chip


In the field of integrated circuits, it is defined as a system or product formed by combining multiple integrated circuits with specific functions on a single chip, which contains the complete hardware system and the embedded software it carries.


Nowadays, the CPU part of the cell phone soc only accounts for 15% of the chip area, while the other 85% is occupied by the image processor (GPU), digital signal processor (DSP) and other chips or modules, but the CPU is still the core of the cell phone soc.


2. The Role and Function of the SoC Chip


Nowadays, smart phones are powerful, and the chip is a key factor when you buy a cell phone, the soc chip on the phone is very important, so what is the role of the soc chip?


A SoC chip contains CPU, GPU, NPU, BBU, ISP, running memory, audio processor, WiFi control module and other program modules, this control module contains the system software operation measurement, graphical encounter and on-screen display and operation, AI and operation, baseband signal solution, camera photo and shooting solution, audio processing, WiFi connection management method and other cell phone operation In other words, in addition to the power management, the system also provides a wide range of functions.


In other words, except for a few roles such as power management and RF solution, the SOC mostly takes care of all other phone functions. Therefore SOC chip is the most critical part of the cell phone, if some cell phone chip does not contain some of the above mentioned program modules, then this cell phone chip can not be called SOC; and the lack of control modules will generally exist in an external way, but not without.


3. Why the Chip Should be Packaged as SoC


Compared with ordinary chips, the main feature of soc chips is the high degree of integration, and a high degree of integration is the inevitable direction of the future development of the chip industry, which is also the reason why chips are packaged as soc.


From the perspective of cell phone manufacturers, cell phones are developing in the direction of more and more thin and light, so the space inside the phone is inch by inch, a highly integrated chip can effectively improve the utilization of space inside the phone and reduce the difficulty of the phone design; at the same time, it also shortens the development time of the phone, which is conducive to faster product launch.


From the perspective of chip manufacturers, improving the integration of cell phone chips is also conducive to product cost control and improve competitiveness. Because if you use a separate chip design, the initial wafer development costs will be very high.


Chip packaging into soc is in the interest of both parties, so it has become the mainstream design of the cell phone industry.


4. Introduction to 5G Cell Phone SoC chip


The so-called SoC (System-on-Chip) is the production of multiple computing units responsible for different types of computing tasks on the same wafer through photolithography. Corresponding to the 5G SoC chip, which is the main processing chip of the phone, it is composed of a baseband chip and AP (Application Processor, including CPU\GPU) together, or it is integrated from a baseband chip and AP (Application Processor, including CPU\GPU).

5g cell phone soc chip


The baseband chip, which handles the baseband signal (the most basic, unmodulated signal), is equivalent to the Modem (cat for Internet access) used in our homes, which determines what kind of network standard the phone supports (GSM, CDMA, WCDMA, LTE, etc.) and how fast the speed can reach.


The reason why mobile communication is mobile communication is because there is a "baseband chip" which is the key "communication module". The key to the core of the 5G cell phone is its "communication module" - that is, the 5G baseband chip.


The performance of the baseband chip is the key to the performance of the main processing chip of the phone. The 5G chip allows the phone to achieve a theoretical data download rate of up to 10Gbps.


5G SoC chip, in addition to the 5G baseband chip, is the AP chip, including the CPU, GPU, including the application processor. CPU (responsible for managing the phone's operating speed), GPU (to manage the phone's game and other performance), that is, the 5G SoC chip to collect the communication chip and application processing chip.


As seen above, the 5G SoC chip is not a chip as we routinely understand it, but a set of chips. Because it is a set of chips, therefore, the technology and research and development are quite difficult, and the investment is also large.


Some comments point out that the design of any SoC is a balance of several aspects of performance, power consumption, stability, and process difficulty. At the same time, the higher the level of integration, the more difficult the packaging and debugging.


5. The Development of SoC Market 2023 [HOT!]


After Huawei Kirin chip suffered a crackdown, the smartphone chip market gradually developed into a pattern of Apple, Qualcomm and MediaTek three dominant.

 soc market

Among them, Qualcomm and MediaTek are particularly competitive in the Android cell phone market. With the gradual advancement of time in 2022, the latest global smartphone SoC market share analysis report has finally been released, attracting the attention and discussion of countless netizens.


According to the latest global smartphone SoC market statistics report published by market research firm CounterPoint for the first quarter of 2022, the current global smartphone SoC sales ranking is presented, ranking in order: MediaTek 38%, Qualcomm 30%, Apple 15%, ZTE 11%, Samsung 5%, and Heisi 1%.




The importance of mobile SoC as the core of smartphones is self-evident. After the limitations of Kirin chip, the current market is left with only a few giants competing with each other.


The ideal market pattern is a number of giants competing with each other, using the strength of the product to bring users the ideal product with high performance and good price, and living up to the expectations of users in order to get more market opportunities.


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Kristina Moyes is an experienced writer who has been working in the electronics industry for the past five years. With a deep passion for electronics and the industry as a whole, she has written numerous articles on a wide range of topics related to electronic products and their development. Kristina's knowledge and expertise in the field have earned her a reputation as a trusted and reliable source of information for readers interested in the latest advancements in electronics.

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