Update (May 25): In other chip rumors, Samsung may be about to announce its new "dream team" to start working on a more powerful chip for future Galaxy phones.
Two new reports have come out recently that potentially shed some new light on Samsung's future flagship plans. Not only has Samsung's Mobile President TM Roh said that the company is working on a chip "exclusive to Galaxy phones," but we've already heard that Samsung might work with MediaTek for the chips for the Galaxy S22 FE and Galaxy S23 in some markets.
These two reports together spell an interesting story. The alleged MediaTek partnership claim comes courtesy of BusinessKorea (opens in new tab). The site says that Samsung is planning to use MediaTek's application processors — it does not list any sources that we could spot, mind you — on the Galaxy S22 FE and Galaxy S23, the former of which we haven't heard much about at all. Samsung already uses MediaTek chips in some of the lower-end Galaxy A models.
Despite improving market share, MediaTek doesn't exactly have a good reputation for performance, since many of its chips are underwhelming to put it lightly. (Look at the Moto G Stylus (2022) or Moto G Power (2022) to see particularly bad examples.) We're deeply skeptical, since MediaTek's past "flagship" endeavors have resulted in disappointing chips that barely kept up with Qualcomm's mid-tier offerings.
But the new Dimensity 9000 system-on-chip (SoC) has surprised many, even if we at Tom's Guide haven't gotten a chance to test one out yet. We can't say for sure how it stacks up against the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 on the Galaxy S22 series or even the A15 Bionic on the iPhone 13, so we're keeping an open mind for now — but this room seems very dubious.
What about Samsung Exynos?
That leaves another question: What about Samsung's own Exynos chips? Exynos is the brand under Samsung Electronics LSI, a different company than Samsung Mobile. (Remember that Samsung is a massive corporation.) If Samsung moves to MediaTek in markets where it doesn't use Qualcomm, does that mean the Galaxy brand has started to move away from Exynos?
We're further confused by a second report from iNews24 (opens in new tab), which mentions a town hall that TM Roh held recently. Here, the president of Samsung Mobile talks about how the company is working on an application processor exclusively meant for Galaxy phones. Could this have something to do with BusinessKorea's report about a MediaTek partnership? It makes us wonder if the two companies will work together on a follow-up to the Dimensity 9000, potentially replacing the Exynos 2200 successor.
Exynos chips have typically lagged behind their Snapdragon counterparts. It wouldn't be the end of the world if Samsung moves away from its own chips in future Galaxy phones, but we're very curious what this exclusive SoC could be.
Samsung and MediaTek outlook
MediaTek has long talked up its chips and then failed to deliver, leaving consumers with subpar processors that struggle to do the bare minimum. In fact, the presence of MediaTek chips have led me to not recommend phones in the past. It is, however, important to remember that MediaTek has a much larger share of the mobile SoC market than we in the US might think. The chips power many phones in China, for example, a market much larger than the US or even most of Europe.
I want to try out the Dimensity 9000 for myself. Only then would I have a better-informed opinion about a potential for a Samsung-MediaTek flagship partnership. It's also possible that BusinessKorea's report is dead wrong. I definitely didn't find the claim that the Galaxy S22 FE and Galaxy S23 would release in H2 2022 to be at all believable, given that the Galaxy S21 FE and Galaxy S22 just came out in January and February, respectively.
Exynos chips aren't technically limited to Samsung phones, since any manufacturer can buy them from Samsung directly. This "exclusive" chip for Galaxy devices could be anything, Exynos or Dimensity. If the latter, it'd probably end up something like Google's Tensor SoC, which was allegedly design in collaboration with Samsung. Regardless, we have a while to wait.