In short: Samsung’s next flagship system-on-chip expected to be integrated into select Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 models is likely to feature a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) designed for on-device artificial-intelligence computing. The company already completed the development of its second-generation NPU solution, as suggested by a LinkedIn profile of one of its former employees spotted on Saturday. The specifics of the chip remain unclear, though the platform is now expected to be found inside the Exynos 9820, which is how Samsung’s next premium SoC for smartphones and tablets is believed to be called.
Background: While Samsung already designed an NPU, no such chip was present inside the Exynos 9810, its last commercial flagship chip which is powering the international variants of the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9 Plus, and the Galaxy Note 9. On the other hand, both Qualcomm and Huawei have been making major inroads in the mobile AI field over the last several years and have surpassed Samsung in terms of commercial applications of the thereof. The upcoming Snapdragon 845 successor that’s likely to be called the Snapdragon 8155 is rumored to feature an NPU as well, whereas the newly announced Kirin 980 from Huawei’s subsidiary HiSilicon sports two such modules and is currently believed to be the most advanced smartphone AI chip on the market.
Impact: After largely ignoring mobile AI in a year that saw its competitors do the exact opposite, Samsung appears to be preparing for a large push on the NPU front in 2019. Seeing how the U.S. variants of the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 are likely to feature a Qualcomm chip with its very own NPU, reaching feature parity with the international models is believed to be a priority for Samsung. As a result, consumers can expect smarter battery management, photography, and a wide variety of other AI-enhanced functionalities from Samsung’s 2019 Android flagships.