Samsung is reportedly embarking on a massive new project to design its own custom smartphone chips and take on those from Apple and Google. However, it could be a while until we see them in action.
A report from Korean newspaper Dong-a Ilbo (opens in new tab) (via Naver (opens in new tab)) claims Samsung is forming the fantastically named "Dream Platform One Team," consisting of 1,000 staff from Samsung Mobile and Samsung LSI (large-scale integration, part of modern processor design). Their mission: to build a new dedicated chip for Samsung Galaxy phones. This new initiative is to be announced in July, with a goal of launching in 2025, the report says.
It continues that because of the resources needed for the project, Samsung won't produce its own high-end chips for the next two years. That likely means the next couple of generations of Galaxy S phones, including next year's Samsung Galaxy S23, would run on Snapdragon chips only.
The apparent goal is to take on not only Apple, or Google, with their respective A-series and Apple M1 series and Google Tensor chips, but also TSMC, the foundry that builds chipsets for Apple, Intel, Nvidia and many other tech companies.
We'd had some warning that this could be on the way before. Leaker Ice Universe recently said Samsung was working on its own chip for the Galaxy S25, while a different source claimed that the Galaxy S23 could use a MediaTek chip rather than a Snapdragon or Exynos one. That would fit with Samsung being unable to supply its own flagship-grade Exynos silicon next year or in 2024, and instead having to buy others in.
This "dream team," if the report is accurate, could be just what Samsung needs then. Making Exynos chips properly competitive with rival silicon would give Galaxy phones a fighting chance against iPhones or other Android phones in the performance stakes.
It'll also have the welcome side effect of uniting Samsung's phone hardware globally. Samsung sells its flagship Galaxy S phones, such as the Galaxy S22, with Snapdragon chips in the U.S., but with Exynos silicon almost everywhere else. Because the Exynos rivals to Snapdragon chips are often less powerful, it means the U.S. actually gets better versions of the best Samsung phones than other markets do.
But with the big gap between now and 2025, Apple, Google and others will still have several years to advance their own products. We'll have to wait and see whether the first of the new breed of Exynos chip, if that's what they're called, will be competitive with the newest A-series, Snapdragon and Tensor chips.