Tags ‘exynos’

Samsung’s SoC profits down as Apple chooses TSMC for A8, although rumor says it will produce processors for iPhone 7

a7-apple

Samsung has been having some issues lately, reporting falling profits in the most recent quarter. Although most of this is due to shrinking growth in phone sales, where Apple continues to dominate in terms of profit share, Apple has also affected Samsung’s income from its microprocessor production business. With TSMC having exclusivity over Apple’s A8 production, to be used in the upcoming iPhone 6, Samsung’s outlook for ‘logic chips’ is also gloomy, as the Wall Street Journal highlights in a new report.

Samsung executives admitted on a recent conference call that the outlook isn’t so bright for this business.

“Sales and profitability from System LSI (logic chip business) worsened as demand from main customers continued to decline,” Robert Yi, Samsung’s head of investor relations said last week. His comments confirmed, albeit indirectly, how Apple’s gradual shift away from Samsung as a customer of microprocessors was eating into its profits.

It has been widely reported that Apple and Samsung’s relationship in the courtroom has caused Apple to look for ways to distance itself from its rival. Until this cycle of iOS devices, however, all of Apple’s SoC’s (the A4 through A7) have been manufactured at Samsung foundries, for yield and technological reasons. The A8, though, will be manufactured by TSMC.

Sales of Samsung’s own line of mobile processor chips, the Exynos line, has also been weak. There is some potentially good news on the horizon, however. A new report posted by the Economic Daily News claims that Samsung has snagged production of Apple’s next-generation iOS processor, ostensibly named the ‘A9′. The validity of the rumor is very questionable at this early stage of course, as it is not clear why Apple would go back to Samsung so quickly. However, this rumor does corroborate with a DigiTimes study from July, which said Apple is looking to use 14 nanometer processes for the A9 SoC, something which Samsung foundries are already set up to do.

Last month, TSMC began shipping its A8 chips as part of the iPhone 6 production ramp. According to the Wall Street Journal, the chips are produced using a 20 nanometer process.


Filed under: iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple, DigiTimes, Exynos, iOS, iPhone, Samsung, TSMC, Wall Street Journal

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Photo

Benjamin Mayo

August 5th

Apple

Mac

Samsung Galaxy S 4′s Quad-Core/Octa-Core Chipsets Are Focused On Efficiency And LTE

gs4

Much about the Galaxy S 4, Samsung’s new flagship smartphone, is the company remixing its Galaxy S III formula — with no big changes to the design or UI look and feel, and new software features such as face tracking additions like Smart Scroll and Smart Pause that add to and build on what came before. On the hardware side Samsung is also following its prior pattern, putting different chipsets in the U.S. and international versions of the phone as it did with the S III. So while the U.S. S 4 has a 1.9GHz quad-core chip, the international version gets a 1.6GHz octa-core chip.

Samsung did not confirm exactly what the U.S. chipset is at yesterday’s launch, but the word on the street is it’s Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600. The international S 4 chipset, however, is apparently Samsung’s own Exynos 5 chip, which is built on ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture — so what you’re really getting is a quad-core phone with two clusters of four chips that it switches between, depending on how taxing whatever you’re asking it to do is.

Octa-Cores vs Eight Cores

“It isn’t an eight-core chip in the traditional sense of eight cores — it’s not like the same jump from dual-core to quad-core,” says Nick Dillon, analyst at Ovum. “The lower powered cores run when it’s just idling in the background and then when you need the full power it kind of clicks over to the other one.”

So this is not a case of the U.S. getting shortchanged on S 4 cores, rather it’s just two different approaches to achieving similar power-plus-efficiency ends — all the more important for a phone with such a big screen (pushed up to a full ‘phablet’ 5 inches from the S III’s slightly more modest 4.8-inch pane).

“I guess somebody like Qualcomm would probably argue they don’t need to have that complexity [of octa-cores] because what they’re able to is dial down the power of their main chip to a lower power when it just needs to idle,” Dillon adds. “They can adjust the clockspeed and the power that goes into them on the fly so they really don’t need this compromise of having four extra chips.”

Speaking to TechCrunch at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona last month, Qualcomm’s Raj Talluri, SVP of product management, did argue just that — saying the chipmaker is focused on “heterogeneous compute” for the next generation of chipset innovation, or getting the various components to work together better, rather than just sticking in more cores.

“Clearly we will do the right number of cores to get the right performance but that’s not all we focus on,” Talluri told TechCrunch, pointing to video, audio, camera, LTE, touch input, gestures, different forms of user interface, noise cancelling tech, gaming and more as all areas the chipmaker now has to consider. “If all we had to do was multicore my job would be very easy.”

So which approach is best? Four big cores that can act like they’re little or a pair of big and small quad-cores? At this early point it’s hard to say, until the comprehensive benchmarks and real-world tests start rolling in.

“Whether [Samsung's octa-core chip is] actually going to bring any real world benefit in terms of top end speed or in fact battery life… we’ll have to see,” says Dillon, adding: “This is the  first device with the chip in it — the first phone at least.”

Of course, from a spec sheet point of view, Samsung’s octa-core boast might garner a little more attention than the quad-core label. ”From a marketing point of view, it obviously sounds impressive,” adds Dillon. “It’s still a specs race at the top end. You’ve got to have the fastest process so if you’re able, through your own technology, to include what looks like an even better processor — on paper at least — then you’ve got to.”

But marketing vanity metrics won’t win you long term customer loyalty if the overall experience is poor. And while mobile apps that truly tax multicore chips remain thin on the ground, every mobile user knows what it’s like to run out of juice — hence both Samsung and Qualcomm are focusing on making less wasteful use of all that power sitting in our pockets.

LTE

Why can’t Samsung just stick its own Exynos chip across the board in the S 4? The answer is likely to be LTE/4G — underlining once again how Qualcomm’s decision to wrong-foot the competition by moving quickly on LTE continues to pay off for mobile’s No. 1 chipset maker.

“Samsung is not as advanced in terms of their LTE modem development as Qualcomm are, who are by far the leaders in that space,” notes Dillon.

IHS Screen Digest analyst Ian Fogg also explains the chip variation between geographies as “almost certainly” down to “LTE maturity in terms of bands available” — since the processor is integrated with the LTE hardware (and different LTE bands are in use in different parts of the world).

While Samsung have now got LTE connectivity in their own modem, it’s likely they don’t have support for commonly used bands in the U.S. such as 700Mhz, says Dillon.

“Maybe they’ve had to fall back on Qualcomm to provide that variant, that connectivity in that market,” he adds. “You imagine that if that capability was there they’d stick their chip in everything.”

Quad-Core Apps

What about apps? Is there much making use of quad-cores at this point? ”It’s hard to tell whether Samsung are making the most of all this extra power,” concedes Dillon. Many of the Samsung software additions to the S 4 are focused on the camera, with apps like dual record and dual shoot, but such apps are likely to be able to lean on dedicated image processing hardware to do the grunt work, rather than requiring massively multicore processors.

“We’ve kind of got to the point where most dual-core chips and definitely quad-cores, there’s nothing really that pushes the limits of them,” adds Dillon. “There are a few very specific applications — some augmented reality stuff for example is pushing the boundary but the majority of what you’re doing on most phones, switching between apps, general usage, you’re not going to see any difference.

“So I think the focus has shifted somewhat to power efficiency and battery life — which is where the whole big.LITTLE thing comes in. Having the high power but also using less power meaning you can actually make it through the day on a charge — which is a real issue.”

The multicore race for mobiles may not quite be over — at least not on the marketing front — but it looks like a war of diminishing returns at this point. “I think it will be of reducing interest for consumers,” concludes Dillon. “I don’t think consumers will see a direct benefit from it. Never mind looking on paper but in terms of reality — having a quad-core over an eight core, whether you’ll actually see any difference between those is debatable.”

It’s pretty much the same point Qualcomm’s Talluri made last month, when asked whether phones actually need eight cores: “We definitely haven’t said eight cores, we said we have four good ones,” he told TechCrunch.

But Talluri did point to some apps — such as video games and a video editing application Qualcomm was demoing at MWC — as examples of software that is beginning to tax quad-core hardware.

He also suggested video is are an area where quad-core chips have the potential to support new types of (disruptive) experiences and applications. “Slowly applications are catching up to using multicore,” he said. “We have very nice video editor application – the first real quad core application I think that’s not a gaming or a browser. And you can see as you plug in more cores the performance is better.”


Comments Off on Samsung Galaxy S 4′s Quad-Core/Octa-Core Chipsets Are Focused On Efficiency And LTE

Photo

Natasha Lomas

March 15th

Gadgets

Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S 4′s Quad-Core/Octa-Core Chipsets Are Focused On Efficiency And LTE

gs4

Much about the Galaxy S 4, Samsung’s new flagship smartphone, is the company remixing its Galaxy S III formula — with no big changes to the design or UI look and feel, and new software features such as face tracking additions like Smart Scroll and Smart Pause that add to and build on what came before. On the hardware side Samsung is also following its prior pattern, putting different chipsets in the U.S. and international versions of the phone as it did with the S III. So while the U.S. S 4 has a 1.9GHz quad-core chip, the international version gets a 1.6GHz octa-core chip.

Samsung did not confirm exactly what the U.S. chipset is at yesterday’s launch, but the word on the street is it’s Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600. The international S 4 chipset, however, is apparently Samsung’s own Exynos 5 chip, which is built on ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture — so what you’re really getting is a quad-core phone with two clusters of four chips that it switches between, depending on how taxing whatever you’re asking it to do is.

Octa-Cores vs Eight Cores

“It isn’t an eight-core chip in the traditional sense of eight cores — it’s not like the same jump from dual-core to quad-core,” says Nick Dillon, analyst at Ovum. “The lower powered cores run when it’s just idling in the background and then when you need the full power it kind of clicks over to the other one.”

So this is not a case of the U.S. getting shortchanged on S 4 cores, rather it’s just two different approaches to achieving similar power-plus-efficiency ends — all the more important for a phone with such a big screen (pushed up to a full ‘phablet’ 5 inches from the S III’s slightly more modest 4.8-inch pane).

“I guess somebody like Qualcomm would probably argue they don’t need to have that complexity [of octa-cores] because what they’re able to is dial down the power of their main chip to a lower power when it just needs to idle,” Dillon adds. “They can adjust the clockspeed and the power that goes into them on the fly so they really don’t need this compromise of having four extra chips.”

Speaking to TechCrunch at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona last month, Qualcomm’s Raj Talluri, SVP of product management, did argue just that — saying the chipmaker is focused on “heterogeneous compute” for the next generation of chipset innovation, or getting the various components to work together better, rather than just sticking in more cores.

“Clearly we will do the right number of cores to get the right performance but that’s not all we focus on,” Talluri told TechCrunch, pointing to video, audio, camera, LTE, touch input, gestures, different forms of user interface, noise cancelling tech, gaming and more as all areas the chipmaker now has to consider. “If all we had to do was multicore my job would be very easy.”

So which approach is best? Four big cores that can act like they’re little or a pair of big and small quad-cores? At this early point it’s hard to say, until the comprehensive benchmarks and real-world tests start rolling in.

“Whether [Samsung's octa-core chip is] actually going to bring any real world benefit in terms of top end speed or in fact battery life… we’ll have to see,” says Dillon, adding: “This is the  first device with the chip in it — the first phone at least.”

Of course, from a spec sheet point of view, Samsung’s octa-core boast might garner a little more attention than the quad-core label. ”From a marketing point of view, it obviously sounds impressive,” adds Dillon. “It’s still a specs race at the top end. You’ve got to have the fastest process so if you’re able, through your own technology, to include what looks like an even better processor — on paper at least — then you’ve got to.”

But marketing vanity metrics won’t win you long term customer loyalty if the overall experience is poor. And while mobile apps that truly tax multicore chips remain thin on the ground, every mobile user knows what it’s like to run out of juice — hence both Samsung and Qualcomm are focusing on making less wasteful use of all that power sitting in our pockets.

LTE

Why can’t Samsung just stick its own Exynos chip across the board in the S 4? The answer is likely to be LTE/4G — underlining once again how Qualcomm’s decision to wrong-foot the competition by moving quickly on LTE continues to pay off for mobile’s No. 1 chipset maker.

“Samsung is not as advanced in terms of their LTE modem development as Qualcomm are, who are by far the leaders in that space,” notes Dillon.

IHS Screen Digest analyst Ian Fogg also explains the chip variation between geographies as “almost certainly” down to “LTE maturity in terms of bands available” — since the processor is integrated with the LTE hardware (and different LTE bands are in use in different parts of the world).

While Samsung has now got LTE connectivity in its own modem, it’s likely they don’t have support for commonly used bands in the U.S. such as 700Mhz, says Dillon.

“Maybe they’ve had to fall back on Qualcomm to provide that variant, that connectivity in that market,” he adds. “You can imagine that if that capability was there they’d stick their chip in everything.”

Quad-Core Apps

What about apps? Is there much making use of quad-cores at this point? ”It’s hard to tell whether Samsung are making the most of all this extra power,” concedes Dillon. Many of the Samsung software additions to the S 4 are focused on the camera, with apps like dual record and dual shoot, but such apps are likely to be able to lean on dedicated image processing hardware to do the grunt work, rather than requiring massively multicore processors.

“We’ve kind of got to the point where most dual-core chips and definitely quad-cores, there’s nothing really that pushes the limits of them,” adds Dillon. “There are a few very specific applications — some augmented reality stuff for example is pushing the boundary but the majority of what you’re doing on most phones, switching between apps, general usage, you’re not going to see any difference.

“So I think the focus has shifted somewhat to power efficiency and battery life — which is where the whole big.LITTLE thing comes in. Having the high power but also using less power meaning you can actually make it through the day on a charge — which is a real issue.”

The multicore race for mobiles may not quite be over — at least not on the marketing front — but it looks like a war of diminishing returns at this point. “I think it will be of reducing interest for consumers,” concludes Dillon. “I don’t think consumers will see a direct benefit from it. Never mind looking on paper but in terms of reality — having a quad-core over an eight core, whether you’ll actually see any difference between those is debatable.”

It’s pretty much the same point Qualcomm’s Talluri made last month, when asked whether phones actually need eight cores: “We definitely haven’t said eight cores, we said we have four good ones,” he told TechCrunch.

But Talluri did point to some apps — such as video games and a video editing application Qualcomm was demoing at MWC — as examples of software that is beginning to tax quad-core hardware.

He also suggested video is are an area where quad-core chips have the potential to support new types of (disruptive) experiences and applications. “Slowly applications are catching up to using multicore,” he said. “We have very nice video editor application – the first real quad core application I think that’s not a gaming or a browser. And you can see as you plug in more cores the performance is better.”


Comments Off on Samsung Galaxy S 4′s Quad-Core/Octa-Core Chipsets Are Focused On Efficiency And LTE

Photo

Natasha Lomas

March 15th

Gadgets

Mobile

Samsung’s 8-Core Exynos 5 Octa Processor: Your Next Phone Will Be Fast

Samsung's Exynos processors have powered a lot of the faster devices out there, from the Galaxy S II, which was way ahead of everyone in terms of speed, to the newer Nexus 10. Now the Exynos 5 Octa Processor is here. Wait, octa? As in eight cores?Developing... More »


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brent rose

January 9th

Uncategorized

Who Wants a Quad-Core Computer for $130? [Guts]

When Raspberry Pi released their diminutive, ARM-based PC for $35, people were rightfully chomping at the bit to get their hands on something so cheap and small and hackable. But the 700 MHz, single-core ARM 11 processor it wasn't exactly a powerhouse. Enter Hardkernel's ODROID-X, which packs a quad-core Samsung Exynos chipset on a 3.5 inch motherboard. More »


Comments Off on Who Wants a Quad-Core Computer for $130? [Guts]

Photo

Adrian Covert

July 13th

Uncategorized

Who Wants a Quad-Core Computer for $130? [Guts]

When Raspberry Pi released their diminutive, ARM-based PC for $35, people were rightfully chomping at the bit to get their hands on something so cheap and small and hackable. But the 700 MHz, single-core ARM 11 processor it wasn't exactly a powerhouse. Enter Hardkernel's ODROID-X, which packs a quad-core Samsung Exynos chipset on a 3.5 inch motherboard. More »


Comments Off on Who Wants a Quad-Core Computer for $130? [Guts]

Photo

Adrian Covert

July 13th

Uncategorized

MEIZU announces the first Exynos-powered quad-core smartphone

MEIZU on Monday announced its flagship MX Quad-core smartphone that is slated be available in June. The handset is the first to feature the new Exynos A9 quad-core chipset, which will reduce CPU power consumption by up to 20% compared to earlier versions. The device is also equipped with a 4-inch 960 x 640-pixel display, a 1,700 mAh battery, an 8-megapixel BSI camera with an f/2.2 aperture and MEIZU’s unique Android 4.0-based Flyme OS. The MX Quad-core will be available for ÂĄ2,999 ($480) in China or HK$3,099 ($400) in Hong Kong for the 32GB variant and ÂĄ3,999 ($635) or HK$4,099 ($530) for the 64GB model. MEIZU’s press release can be found after the break.

MEIZU officially announces the new MEIZU MX Quad-core

MEIZU announces the world’s first smartphone with the quad-core Exynos A9 CPU

HONG KONG – April 16, 2012 – MEIZU today announces the brand new MEIZU MX Quad-core smartphone to be available in June this year. Among many surprises, the MEIZU MX Quad-core is the first smartphone in the world to use the brand new and powerful Exynos A9 quad-core processor.

The MX Quad-core uses a power efficient quad-core Exynos A9 CPU with industry-leading 32 nm HKMG technology which has been optimized to reduce CPU power consumption by up to 20%. In addition, it will last even longer with a new 1700mAh battery.

With its state-of-the art hardware, the MEIZU MX Quad-core is better in every way than its predecessor. The MEIZU MX Quad-core CPU is 60% faster, and GPU 50% faster compared to the previous MX. Whether it is browsing through menus, playing the latest games, or watching 1080p video, the MX Quad-core easily beats dual-core devices.

MX Quad-core comes with a vivid 292 PPI high definition ASV display. With no visible pixels on the screen, it provides the user with the ideal smartphone viewing experience. On the back side, the MX Quad-core has an 8 megapixel BSI camera with an f/2.2 lens aperture, capable of taking great photos even in low light conditions. The MX Quad-core will come with MEIZU’s unique Flyme OS based on Android 4.0, providing users with beauty, simplicity and buttery smooth performance at every interaction.

The MEIZU MX Quad-core will be available in MEIZU’s 400 retail stores during June at ÂĄ2999/3999 CNY and $3099/4099 HKD for capacities 32GB and 64GB in Mainland China and Hong Kong, respectively. With MX Quad-core, the company also releases MX back covers in five colors in addition to the original white, allowing users to experience the MX on their own terms. Coinciding with the announcement of MEIZU MX Quad-core, the MEIZU MX will have its price adjusted to ÂĄ2399 CNY and $2599 HKD in Mainland China and Hong Kong respectively. The reduced price for the MEIZU MX is effective as of April 16, 2012.

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Photo

Dan Graziano

April 17th

Uncategorized

Samsung exec says Galaxy S III may launch in April

Despite an earlier leak that made a May announcement seem increasingly likely, Samsung is apparently still considering an April launch for its highly anticipated Galaxy S III smartphone, South Korean news site MK reports. Samsung president for the China region Kim Young-ha is quoted as having said that the company is still pushing for an April launch. ”In order to increase sales of the Galaxy S3 as well as the Galaxy Note which is already very popular in China, the company is considering rescheduling the rollout of the Galaxy S3 from May to April,” Kim reportedly said Wednesday while speaking at the Samsung Forum 2012. An earlier report suggested that the flagship smartphone is currently slated for a May 22nd announcement, as tipped on the home screen of a leaked product render. With HTC’s One-series smartphones set to launch next month, the South Korea-based vendor is undoubtedly under pressure to push up its Galaxy S III release, though carriers could stand in the way here in the United States. BGR exclusively reported that the Galaxy S III will feature a 4.8-inch display with 1080p HD resolution, a quad-core Exynos processor, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a remarkably slim case made of ceramic.

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Zach Epstein

March 21st

Uncategorized

Samsung exec reportedly confirms quad-core Exynos, 4G LTE in Galaxy S III

An unnamed Samsung executive reportedly confirmed that the company’s highly anticipated Galaxy S III smartphone will be equipped with a quad-core Samsung Exynos chip featuring on-board LTE and WCDMA radios, the Korea Times reported on Monday. BGR exclusively reported last month that the Galaxy S III would feature a 1.5GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor, a 4.8-inch full HD 1080p display, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a ceramic case, 4G LTE connectivity and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. According to the executive, Samsung is attempting to distance itself from Qualcomm, which has previously provided the manufacturer with single-chip solutions. “It was believed that Qualcomm chips had greater stability and suited easy upgrades. But, that’s the old story,” the executive said. Samsung still has a cross-licensing deal with Qualcomm to use its firm’s single-chip solutions through 2024.

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Photo

Dan Graziano

March 19th

Uncategorized

Samsung’s Next-Gen Mobile Chipset Is Nearly as Powerful as a Laptop [Guts]

If you have an affinity for Android Tablets, you'll certainly fawn over the next generation Exynos 5250 chipset, complete with a 2 gigahertz, dual-core ARM Cortex A15 CPU and a GPU capable of powering a 3D display at 2560x1600. More »


Comments Off on Samsung’s Next-Gen Mobile Chipset Is Nearly as Powerful as a Laptop [Guts]

Photo

Adrian Covert

November 30th

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