Could this be the end of the road for the underperforming Samsung Exynos chipset? After the Exynos 2200 promised plenty but underperformed, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Samsung is set to abandon its own silicon in the upcoming Galaxy S23 for an exclusive provider.
“Qualcomm will likely be the sole processor supplier for Samsung Galaxy S23 (vs. 70% shipment proportion for S22) thanks to the next flagship 5G chip SM8550 [Snapdragon 8 Gen 2] made by TSMC 4nm,” he tweeted (opens in new tab).
In a follow up (opens in new tab), he then put the boot into Samsung’s own chipmaking operation, stating that the 4nm Exynos 2300 won’t be adopted because “it can’t compete with SM8550 in all aspects”.
The chip, he said, compares unfavorably to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 which, thanks to TSMC’s design rule, will have “obvious advantages” over its predecessor in terms of power and efficiency.
(2/3)2. S23 may not adopt Exynos 2300 made by Samsung 4nm because it can't compete with SM8550 in all aspects. 3. SM8550 is optimized for TSMC's design rule, so it has obvious advantages over SM8450/SM8475 in computing power and power efficiency.July 8, 2022
The overall upshot of this, he concluded, is that the the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will increase Qualcomm’s near total dominance in the high-end Android space further. “The economic recession affects the high-end market less, so the market share gain will significantly benefit Qualcomm and TSMC,” he tweeted (opens in new tab).
(3/3)4. Qualcomm/SM8550 will gain more market share in the high-end Android market in 2023. The economic recession affects the high-end market less, so the market share gain will significantly benefit Qualcomm and TSMC.July 8, 2022
An easier choice for the next generation
For the average American buyer, this won’t make a great deal of difference. The Samsung Galaxy S series has always used Qualcomm chips in America, with the company reserving its own Exynos-powered alternative for RoW markets, predominantly Europe and Asia.
But if you’re reading Tom’s Guide, you’re likely not the average buyer, and you may have previously considered importing another version of a Samsung Galaxy S handset if it offered markedly improved performance to what’s available domestically.
In theory, anyway: that’s something that’s never been tested, because the Exynos has always offered weaker performance than the Qualcomm equivalent. With the Samsung Galaxy S22, the pre-launch talk was that this would be the year that the tables turned: AMD’s involvement in the chip would make it a gaming powerhouse, and it might even be capable of ray tracing!
As mentioned above, reports of its power turned out to be exaggerated, giving Americans no reason not to stick to the domestic supply.
If Kuo is right, then it appears Samsung has finally accepted defeat and realized that the theoretical advantages of making its own chips (see Apple’s success with the A and M series) are blunted if the real-world performance is underwhelming.
Of course, Qualcomm might not be the only beneficiary to this decision — last year’s budget Galaxy A32 embraced MediaTek, and there was even a strange rumor that the S23 could do the same thing. But if Kuo is correct, it sounds like Samsung will instead stick to the tried and tested, making Qualcomm the only option worldwide.