SGS4 event

We're just a few weeks away from knowing for sure, but news from Taiwan today suggests that Samsung will be using multiple types of processors for the different Galaxy S4 variants worldwide. According to the Taipei Times, investor group JP Morgan said in a note to clients

Similar to its previous Galaxy S3, Samsung is expected to adopt multiple solutions for the application processors and baseband chips in its new Galaxy S4, which will be unveiled in New York on March 14

In addition, the brokerage firm says the US versions of the S4 will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600, while the rest of the world uses Samsung's own octa-core Exynos 5.

If this is the case, we have to wonder if global units will have full LTE support. It stands to reason that Qualcomm's new gear will support LTE as well as their current offerings do, so maybe Samsung wants to provide the best experience possible while they work on LTE support in-house.

Right now, everything is just a rumor. We'll know more on March 14.

Source: Taipei Times

There are 29 comments

mssca says:

What's the reason behind using different processors? Cost of the unit?

With the Galaxy S3 it was because of LTE. The Snapdragon S4 supported it on the same die, and used far less battery than other chipsets who used a separate chip for LTE.

This news (if true -- have to stress that it's a rumor) could be the same issue, or it could be that Samsung can't make enough Exynos 5 chips to meet expected demand, which should be sky high,


dazweeja says:

With the S3, you had the strange situation of an Exynos Galaxy S3 without LTE, a Snapdragon Galaxy S3 with LTE and then an Exynos Galaxy S3 with LTE in some countries.

MrLadoodle says:

The Exynos S3 with LTE was the "Worldwide LTE" model that was sold in LTE-capable countries or LTE-building countries outside of NA.

mwara244 says:

Europe is getting more LTE every month, in another year year all of western Europe should be lte covered.

According to Qualcomm's specs, the 600 doesn't have an on-die modem either. So no matter what, they probably will have to add in baseband for CDMA, GSM and LTE.

It could be a supply issue so they'll draw from multiple chipsets in order to manufacture devices for different regions of the world.

Stennan says:

having built in LTE is very nice. Takes up less space on the motherboard. Also beneficial in terms of being well connected to the CPU. Qualcomms LTE modems are also very mature and stable, while Samsung octa core does not have LTE built in(???).

YzBrad99 says:

I also heard a rumor Samsung was having problems with the Octocore chip getting too hot. Maybe they still have some kinks to iron out with LTE compatibility. Hopefully the Note 3 will have those problems worked out like they did with the Note 2.

Yes I heard this as well. I wouldn't be surprised if the Exynos 5250 dual core gets used in some variants. It's not quad core or the Quad x 2 (octa) Exynos, but I think it would perform about the same as the Snapdragon 600. It does pretty well powering that 2560x1600 Nexus 10, so I'm pretty sure it would kill even more so powering a 1080p device. So my prediction, Snapdragon 600 in North America and some other parts of the world, Exynos 5250 for all the rest. And both will have basebands added in for cellular connectivity.

@mssca — some rumors suggested that the A15 itself was too hot, or the gpu might have been the culprit. But since they will be releasing their big.Little design, I imagine that is not the case.

The other issue is patents regarding LTE. Building a controller for all bands of LTE is a no brainer. Qualcomm does it, and many other companies do too but — Qualcomm has a patent that only has clear leverage in the USA. Samsung has patents on the same tech, and filed earlier. In countries where filing date counts, Samsung wins. In countries where the date they listed as starting development on the patent, Qualcomm apparently wins.

They so far get around this by agreement rather than court cases: foreign companies release perfectly capable LTE controllers that are gimped to not support the American bands, or even are not gimped — but if they are not gimped they would be in violation of patent in the USA, and cannot be released for sale there. The same sort of thing is going in both directions: Samsung, affiliated companies, Qualcomm, or their affiliated companies, cover the entire global market.

frettfreak says:

@mssca to allow for better LTE support in the us where it is more prevalent.

frettfreak says:

I want whatever would be best for the network I am on however would be super disappointed if it wasn't the octa

se1000 says:

I wouldn't be surprised to see them do this again. It hasn't been an issue on the SIII and the general public will only care that the user experience is the same across carriers. If they stick to what made the SIII successful, the S4 will be another hit.

Tietherope says:

I was really hoping that wouldn't be the case.

I want LTE as I'm in Canada, but I also want the same processor as the rest of world for leaked and custom ROMs.

I had to buy the Exynos Galaxy S III and skip on LTE last year, was really hoping I wouldn't have to do so again.

Babus100 says:

If true, it would be a real shame. I hope the Note III comes with the Exynos octa or better.

I'm definitely not planning to get the Galaxy S IV. The Note devices are much better than non Note devices from any manufacturer IMHO.

Jayshmay says:

I think the Snapdragon 800 is soooo impressive
that if the S4 doesn't have it, which it seems it won't,
that the Snapdragon 800 is worth waiting for!
I really do believe that.
It will be hard to wait, especially considering I
have the Droid Charge,... it would be nice to
have some new tech.

jtc276 says:

Meh. It doesn't really matter. There will be plenty of development for both devices and I honestly don't think we used the full potential in the processors from last year, so the Snapdragon 600 will be plenty. Actually, I think the GPU in the 600 is better than the one in the Exynos Octa, so it's not really a big loss. As long as the audio chip is good or, at the very least, as good as the one in the Nexus 4, I think I'll live. The S4 is definitely going to be my next phone.

Yep I feel the same. Like I suggested, if they decide to use the Exynos 5250 in some GS4's as well, that would be totally good too.

Kvoth says:

Of course it matters. Firstly it splits the developer community, meaning LESS development for your particular phone. Secondly, finding the right ROMs/modems/kernels for some of the previous Galaxies was a nightmare, there were sooo many different versions.

Even if you don't use custom ROMs, it means split development time for Samsung to release updates... Taking longer and/or having the situation where certain models are updated and others have to wait.

Just makes me that much more glad I got a N4.

jtc276 says:

Even with a split development community, the Galaxy S4 is such a popular device that there will be plenty on both sides. If you check the development for either Galaxy S3 models on XDA, they're both huge.

kennonk says:

With all the closed source code/propriatary shennanigans that come along with the Exynos chipset I would much rather have the super high end Qualcomm chip anyway. The US SGS3 was not gimped in anyway compared to the International version and I expect the Snapdragon 600 or 800 will be just as capable as the Exynos Octopussy or whatever they are calling it.

Lucki says:

:( Was really hoping it to be a exynos cpu.. might have to pass on it if not.

Nexus 5. Nuf said

frozencloud says:

If it have LTE and not crippled like the Galaxy Nexus...then yes.

rovex says:

Meh.. low volume niche model with software keys. Not interested.

chuckz28 says:

I'm a little disappointed really. When the s2 came out, which is what i currently have, the exynos was the best processor on the market for a period of time. This time it sounds like it won't even release with the best when phones are already coming out with the snapdragon 600 and others being shown with the 800 and top dog tegra 4. Even the screen being 1080p or 5" won't be a first or necessarily the best. All in all it looks like sammy is no longer way ahead like they were previously and are in fact are on a level field or slightly behind. We will see for sure after the official announcement but I have to say I may not be set on getting an S4 like I originally planned so I'll keep my options open until July when I upgrade.

rovex says:

Im reserving judgement on the Tegra 4. 2 and 3 had issues, so I will want to see real world performance first. Exynos was the best the last 2 generations, i dont expect the Octa to be any different.

ctk4949 says:

im sure verizon will find a way to mess this up!! Eff you verizon!!

Wizzy says:

I couldn't care less which processor it has as long as the battery life is better than my S3. Battery life trumps performance any day.