Samsung To Create Exynos Chips With Integrated Modems

According to industry sources from South Korea, Samsung is getting ready to go to phase two of its plan to reduce its dependence on Qualcomm. Phase one seems to have been the elimination of Qualcomm's chips from some of its most popular devices, such as the Galaxy S series.

The Galaxy Note series is likely to follow soon and use only Exynos chips as well, now that we know that Samsung is already working on successors to its Exynos 7420 chip (the one apparently going into the Galaxy S6).

Reducing reliance on Qualcomm's chips is not easy, though, and not just because Qualcomm has had a history of making good chips that most other OEMs have used, but also because Qualcomm has been a pioneer in integrating its modems into its SoCs. In fact, this sort of bundling has made Qualcomm's chips the default option for smartphone OEMs, especially in LTE markets such as the U.S.

Integrating the modem into a chip means it costs less to make, and it can be delivered faster in products. Qualcomm's mobile chip leadership won't be truly threatened until competitors can build chips that rival Qualcomm's in terms of performance and efficiency and are also able to integrate their own modems into those chips.

Samsung has been building its own modems since last year, but so far it hasn't integrated them into a single-chip solution. The modems have been attached separately to its Exynos processors. The company has already been working on its own Cat. 10 LTE modem that it may introduce along with the Exynos 7420 in the Galaxy S6 smartphone, but the modem will likely not be integrated into the SoC.

Following the Galaxy S6, the company is expected to ship devices with single-chip solutions with integrated modems. One of the first beneficiaries of such a chip could be the Galaxy Note 5 later this year.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.