If you’ve noticed that Samsung seems to rely less and less on its own chips this year, and adopting other chips from other chip makers, then you’re not the only one. DigiTimes has done some investigations of their own, and it seems Samsung may be experiencing some Exynos chip shortages this year.
In 2012, Samsung consumed more than 60 million in-house processors for in-house end products. In the first quarter of 2013, Samsung has adopted 25 million units of in-house processors and close to 70% were Exynos 4412 for high-end products. However, the firm may see a shortage of chipset supply in 2013 hence the total adoption may be flat compared to 2012, according to Digitimes Research.
I’ve always wondered why Samsung doesn’t put Exynos chips in more of their products, and I’m not just talking about the high-end ones, where about 50% or more seem to be powered by Qualcomm chips this year. I’m also talking about their mid-range phones, and even the low-end ones like the Galaxy Ace line-up. If they really wanted to run their company like Apple, and make hardware as integrated as possible, then they’d be trying to use more and more of their components inside their phones.
However, I also suspect supply shortages are not the only reason Samsung has been having a hard time putting Exynos 5 Octa in its devices this year. Another reason would be that they haven’t had integrated LTE so far, which has made Qualcomm chips an automatic purchase by OEM’s in the past couple of years, for their US smartphones.
Exynos 5 Octa with LTE was promised by the end of the year, but there might also be a problem with designing and optimizing these chips which use the big.Little set-up. That, by default, makes the chip a little harder to make drivers for and to make it fully optimized for the device, so it knows exactly when it’s the best time to use the low-end cores, or the high-end ones.
Hopefully, Samsung will manage to fix all three of these issues, so the history doesn’t repeat itself with Exynos 6 chips next year. It would be a shame to let the opportunity of having their own chips in their own devices, slide away from them, and letting Qualcomm increase the competitive advantage of its chips, and get a larger market share.