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Samsung Exynos 1080 could become a proper competitor next year

By Mahmoud Salem on November 17, 2020
TurnBrain - Samsung Exynos 1080

Samsung looking to have a fantastic year with its Exynos mobile processors with new reports from BusinessKorea claiming that OPPO and Xiaomi are both joining  Vivo in adopting Exynos processors in their phones next year.

businesskorea - Supply Exynos APs to Xiaomi and Oppo

The exact details like which chips they will use are still unclear, but given that a few weeks ago Vivo was set to start with the almost flagship Exynos 1080. it's likely that the others will use the upper midrange or maybe even flagship Exynos chips as well.

that means that all of a sudden four of the top five android phone makers are expected to launch major devices with Exynos chips soon which businessKorea expects to propel  Samsung's chip business to the third  spot globally in terms of chip-making ahead of apple's a-series chips and Huawei's Kirin chips but still behind MediaTek and the market leader  Qualcomm.

exynos and phone makers and Top 5 AI chip-making companies

if we pay that with other reports that claim that flagship Exynos processors will actually have very comparable performance to flagship snapdragon processors next year,  we might just be looking at a  spectacular turnaround from Samsung.

just earlier this year Exynos chips were so far behind that even Samsung didn't end up using them in their own galaxy  s20 series in their home market of Korea.  but next year Samsung might actually  become a real competitor to Qualcomm  and if you are like me you are probably  wondering how this gigantic shift just  happened  all of a sudden and there are no clear  answers to that question yet and here is my best guess, there are three  key parts to making a mobile processor: 

  1. the ISA  or instruction set architecture which  ARM provides for all phone processors, 
  2. the actual processor design which anyone can design  ARM has a standard set while chipmakers like Apple and Samsung have traditionally designed their own. 
  3. finally the actual manufacturing.

last year Samsung announced that after five years of trying and failing to beat  ARM reference designs they would stop designing their own CPU cores. They fired their whole CPU design team and they would just adopt the standard ARM designs similar to Qualcomm that probably freed up a lot of money and at the same time they also announced that they would invest over 100 billion dollars into the actual manufacturing and make that world-class, their manufacturing appears to have gotten so good that Qualcomm actually decided to have their snapdragon 875  made by Samsung as well, meaning that some snapdragon and Exynos chips will have very comparable designs and will use pretty much the same manufacturing processes as well.

this is obviously an oversimplification there's more to a mobile processor than just the  CPU itself and  Qualcomm has some of its own customizations on top of whatever ARM  gives them but if everything goes well this means that theoretically starting next year Exynos could become a  proper competitor and that's really exciting.