'A large customer's' snubbing of the Snapdragon 810 processor has Qualcomm in a tough spot

Qualcomm today reported their first quarter 2015 earnings, and while we don't usually pay too much attention to the financial ticks and tocks of the chipmakers, Qualcomm today flat-out stated that their Snapdragon 810 processor had been snubbed by "a large customer" for their flagship device, and that it would have a material impact on their earnings for the second half of the year. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800-series processors powered every flagship Android smartphone of last year, but it was reported just last week that the one customer that could have a serious impact on Qualcomm's bottom line wouldn't be using the newest 810 processor in their newest phone, and that customer would be Samsung.

Here's exactly what Qualcomm had to say (emphasis ours):

We have lowered our outlook for the second half of fiscal 2015 in our semiconductor business, QCT, largely driven by the effects of:

  • A shift in share among OEMs at the premium tier, which has reduced our near-term opportunity for sales of our integrated Snapdragon™ processors and has skewed our product mix towards more modem chipsets in this tier;
  • Expectations that our Snapdragon 810 processor will not be in the upcoming design cycle of a large customer's flagship device; and
  • Heightened competition in China.

Of course, Qualcomm's not saying why this "large customer" *coughsamsungcough* was declining using the Snapdragon 810 or what they were using instead. But according to the rumors that be, it's because the 810 has been overheating in testing of the Samsung Galaxy S6. Even if the soon-to-be-last-generation Samsung Galaxy S5 hasn't performed up to expectations, Samsung has still sold tens of millions of them by now. And if Samsung goes with their own Exynos processors instead of Qualcomm's latest chips, that's a huge blow to Qualcomm's bottom line. Huge enough to warrant a sideways-glance-mention in a financial results press release.

For their part, LG's using the Snapdragon 810 in the LG G Flex 2 and says they've seen no overheating issues. We'll probably find out soon enough what the deal is with the processors in the Galaxy S6, though at this point the writing's on the wall that it won't be powered by Qualcomm.

Source: Qualcomm (pdf)