Samsung Hints One-Chip Design Will Power Next High-End Galaxy

  • Exynos 8 Octa combines processor, modem on single chipset
  • Mass production of new Exynos chips due to start this year

Samsung Electronics Co. gave its biggest indication yet that the company’s upcoming high-end Galaxy smartphones will use only one chip to run applications and enable wireless connections.

The world’s biggest maker of smartphones last week unveiled its latest semiconductor, called the Exynos 8 Octa. It is designed to perform functions that currently require two chips, and mass production is scheduled to start this year.

“As a component provider you have to find the biggest customer in the world, and for us it happened to be Samsung,” Hong Kyushik, vice president for marketing at Samsung’s System LSI business, said Monday during an investor briefing in Singapore. “Exynos 8 is targeted for the premium segment.”

He declined to comment specifically on customers for the new chip. Combining two chips into one helps make devices more energy-efficient, and Samsung says the Exynos processor improves performance.

Samsung is the world’s biggest memory-chip maker, yet it’s trying to build scale in processing by developing Exynos as a direct challenger to Qualcomm Inc.’s Snapdragon lineup, which dominates the mobile device market. The company is coming to depend on components, investing in new plants for chips and displays, as its Galaxy lineup struggles to compete with Apple Inc.’s iPhones and cheaper devices in China and India.

“We strongly believe Samsung’s Exynos processors is to become one major pillar of  
growth and one which should help its entire component business,” Amir Anvarzadeh, a manager of Japanese equity sales at BGC Partners Inc. in Singapore, said in a Nov. 12 e-mail. “Samsung is likely to dramatically ramp output of these chips beyond its own needs and to begin supplying other handset makers.”

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