Last year, the Galaxy S3 launched with an S4 processor, based on Krait, in US, and an Exynos 4 Quad based on Cortex A9, internationally, due to the fact that S4 came with an integrated LTE modem, and Exynos 4 Quad didn’t. This year this situation will be repeated, with Galaxy S4 arriving in US with a Qualcomm S600 processor, and internationally with an Exynos 5 Octa.
However, there is a twist this time. It seems like the Exynos 5 Octa chip will be missing from the Galaxy S4 in many other countries, too, including UK, as recent rumors point out. But what could be the cause of that?
I think the main reason for this is again the lack of LTE integration in Samsung’s own chips. Samsung has took surprisingly long to integrate some kind of LTE modem into their own chips, and we still haven’t heard any news from them about whether they are even going to do it with their next-gen chips next year.
This has put Samsung in the bad position of having some of the best processors on the market, but not being able to put them even in their own devices, because they lack LTE. As Apple withdraws their chip business from Samsung, they are going to need to find a way to keep that chip division of theirs profitable and big.
Not even being able to put their own chips in their own devices is not a good sign. At this point in time they should be moving very aggressively to use Exynos chips not just in their high-end devices, but also in lower ends ones, so that eventually at least 50%-70% of their own devices use Exynos chips. For a company that wants to be more integrated like Apple, I think that should be the ultimate goal.
Samsung has also taken some strange decisions with their chip division lately, and they’ve gone backwards with OpenGL ES support, by adopting an old PowerVR chip in Exynos 5 Octa, instead of a new one from Imagination or ARM. Something tells me things aren’t going as well as they should in that chip division, but hopefully it’s just a speed bump, and they can get their Exynos chips to dominate the market next year, and not let Qualcomm turn into a monopoly, which will happen that much quicker when a phone manufacturer as big as Samsung is helping them achieve that. That outcome won’t help anyone – neither the customers, nor Samsung themselves, in the future.