In an attempt to lower its dependence on Qualcomm, the world’s largest developer of application processors for mobile devices, Samsung plans to integrate baseband capabilities into its advanced Exynos system-on-chips. Such SoCs will emerge next year and will power devices the company will release in 2016.
For years flagship smartphones from Samsung used either its own, or Qualcomm’s top-of-the-range application processors. This year the upcoming Galaxy S6 will rely on Samsung’s own Exynos chip, which will lower Samsung’s reliance on Qualcomm’s solutions. The next-gen Galaxy Note 5 will also feature Samsung’s own AP. Still, like in the past, the top smartphones will still use one of Qualcomm’s or Intel’s leading baseband chips for 3G/4G/LTE connectivity. In the future, the company plans to finally integrate modem and voice hardware into its own high-end application processors.
Business Korea reports that the first Samsung’s mobile AP to integrate baseband technologies will be the company’s next-generation top-of-the-range Exynos chip that will power the next flagship smartphone – presumably the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy Note 6 – which is due in the first half of 2016. Eventually the company will also offer mainstream-class SoCs with built-in modem and voice capabilities.
Integration of baseband technologies into APs will help Samsung to decrease its purchases from Qualcomm and further differentiate its smartphones and tablets from those sold by rivals. Moreover, since integration of baseband capabilities lowers cost of the overall mobile platforms, the ability to build-in modems into SoCs will help Samsung to add baseband capabilities to various new types of devices, including wearables.
Samsung is not exactly new to wireless modem business. The company has its own baseband chips, but continues to use solutions from Qualcomm for the vast majority of its smartphones.
Samsung did not comment on the news-story.
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KitGuru Says: Samsung is clearly an important client for Qualcomm, but as the competition on the market of smartphones and tablets heats up, the South Korea-based company needs to improve its abilities to differentiate. Moreover, since Qualcomm’s chip power smartphones from rivals, by purchasing such SoCs, Samsung funds research and development of Qualcomm, essentially helping its competitors to gain performance and features. Clearly, that is not something Samsung wants to do.