Qualcomm Snapdragon

News broke today that Samsung’s upcoming flagship, the fabled Galaxy S6, won’t be using Qualcomm’s new mobile system-on-a-chip, the Snapdragon 810.

As Re/code noted, the revelation came indirectly, via Qualcomm’s earnings call today, as the firm had to tell investors “a large customer’s flagship device” won’t be shipping with the Snapdragon 810 inside.

Lost business has forced Qualcomm to cut its outlook for the fiscal year slightly. The semiconductor maker did not say which client, and why, has dropped the Snapdragon 810.

However, a week ago Bloomberg learned that Samsung had opted to drop the 810 from its upcoming flagship due to overheating problems.

Instead, Samsung will now use its own processor in the next Galaxy phone.

“Samsung may release the next Galaxy S as early as March, and it can’t dare to take the risk to use any of the chips in question for its most important model,” said analyst Song Myung Sup.

The chip is working “the way we expected it to work,” Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said on the conference call. He did acknowledge that the alleged issues were limited to the particular customer, without mentioning Samsung by name.

“We just wish it had won one more design,” he quipped.

LG’s G Flex became the first Snapdragon 810-powered smartphone to be officially announced at CES 2015, throttling notwithstanding.

ArsTechnica cautioned that “some CES previews of LG’s Flex 2 suggested that the phones on the show floor kept dimming their screens because they were running too hot.”

“There will be no problem with the G Flex2 phones,” LG told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement. “We are taking every measure to ensure there will be no overheating problem.”


Qualcomm reportedly wanted to modify the Snapdragon 810 to fix overheating and win back the Samsung business. As per Korean media, LG threatened to sue the chip maker because it had previously adopted the non-modified version of the Snapdragon 810 for its phone.

You may recall that Qualcomm came out of the woodwork to diss Apple, a client, and its A7 chip which debuted inside the iPhone 5s in the Fall of 2013 as the world’s first 64-bit mobile phone processor.

“The 64-bit Apple chip hit us in the gut,” said a Qualcomm employee at the time. “Not just us, but everyone, really. We were slack-jawed, and stunned and unprepared.”

“The roadmap for 64-bit was nowhere close to Apple’s, since no one thought it was that essential,” said another insider. “Apple kicked everybody in the balls with this. It’s being downplayed, but it set off panic in the industry.”

iPhone 6 processor performance

A year and a half later (likely more given work on the A7 chip started 12-18 months prior to the iPhone 5s unveiling) and the industry still has not come up with a comparable chip of its own that would be on par with Apple’s speedy, fully customized A7 and A8 processors.

There’s the Nvidia X1 used in the Nexus 9 and Qualcomm’s two 64-bit chips, the Snapdragon 410 for low-end devices and the ill-fated Snapdragon 810.

The problem is, neither Nvidia nor Qualcomm are producing custom 64-bit designs. Both companies have adopted ARM’s non-optimized, off-the-shelf ARM Cortex A57 and A53 CPU cores as the fastest way to go 64-bit in light of the Apple threat.

Apple A8 (mockup 001)

Specifically, Nvidia’s Tegra X1 uses four ARM Cortex-A57 cores and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores in big.LITTLE configuration, plus a Maxwell-based graphics processing core with GPGPU support.

By comparison, the iPhone 6’s two-billion-transistor A8 processor uses Apple’s second generation enhanced “Cyclone” CPU core, basically a fully customized dual-core 64-bit design compatible with the ARMv8-A instruction set, and an integrated PowerVR GX6450 graphics unit based on Imagination Technologies in a four cluster configuration.

Wrapping up, Qualcomm said during today’s earnings call it’s going back to the drawing board. The company will double-down on a custom architecture for a follow-up mobile processor that will be sampled to partners by the end of 2015.

By then, Apple will have come out with the A9 and A9X processors featuring a third-generation custom 64-bit CPU design. And if predictions pan out, the next year’s A10X chip should be powerful enough to encourage Apple to replace Intel in Mac notebooks.

And all of that is the result of Steve Jobs’ visionary decision to assemble a world-class in-house team of semiconductor engineers who went on to design the very engine which drives your iPhone and iPad — and that’s no small feat by any measure.

Apple produces its own fully customized and fully optimized chips. That’s precisely why the iPhone 6’s dual-core A8 processor with 1GB of RAM outperforms the latest chips from Qualcomm and Nvidia which pack four cores and have 3GB of RAM.

Because that’s pretty much all you can do when you rely on off-the-shelf components: add more cores, increase the RAM and boost the clock frequency.

Source: Re/code

  • Alberto Espinal

    And in 3,2,1 here comes the android haters

    • @dongiuj

      When you say that, do you mean people that apple fans and hate android or people that use android and hate ios?….or both? Lol

      • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

        I think he means Apple fans

    • Francisco farias

      To be honest, talking to an android user is like talking to a brick wall but don’t get me wrong they do got some point on android

      • Dan

        Talking to any fanboy is like talking to a brick wall. Not every iOS user is a fanboy and neither is every android user. Important to make the distinction.

      • Francisco farias

        I think he say user, not fanboy? And he did said that android user got some points. Regardless, one of my borther friend got a note 4, he’s not a fanboy, and if you tell him that his fingerprint sensor is not that superior compared to the iphone, and he doesn’t got 64 bit, he will bring up that it he has a quad cord, 3 GB ram and that pen, just to make sure he got a top notch phone in the room.

      • Dan

        That’s my point. Lumping everyone in one category is dumb. I have a Note 4, and I am aware that my iPhone 5S had a better finger print sensor. I believe my phone is better than iPhone 6 for ME. iPhone may be better for YOU. It all comes down to what we want out of our phone. Do I seem like a brick wall? That was my point 😉

      • Francisco farias

        No, because you didn’t jump into feature after feature just to prove your phone is top notch. It all comes down what fits you, like you said. And by the way, I didn’t and he as well say you where a fanboy. It seem like you got kinda hurt 😉

      • Dan

        Not really, just that he said android users were ‘a brick wall’, not open minded, a generalization. Pretty much saying they are fanboys imo. Anyhow, have a good one.

      • Funny, by you telling him that your iPhone has 64-Bit and a superior fingerprint reader, you yourself are doing EXACTLY the same thing as him; just trying to make sure you got a top notch phone in the room. Hypocrite much?

      • Francisco farias

        No, because I got a iPhone 5? What’s your point anyways?

  • Nasser Cedeño

    They going to Use Apple A9 Ship 🙂

    • iKhalil

      Good one!

    • @dongiuj

      I was going to say that. *chip*

    • George

      Did you know that Samsung supplies apple with their Chips?

      • patrick

        I’m quite sure, that’s the reason he said it

      • Nasser Cedeño

        yeah but Thats Apple idea Not Samsung 🙂

  • iPodDroid


  • Ian Leon

    Software bugs can be fixed , but hardware is forever

  • Bugs Bunnay

    solution: kill touchwiz.

  • blastingbigairs

    No one cares.

  • 64-Bit is just a more efficient way of enhancing performance (more performance for every Hz of CPU clock frequency). Nothing major in the ARM market over a high-frequency 32-Bit chip, it’s literally just a marketing buzz word as of now.

    The increased efficiency, reduces the power consumed by the processor, thus improving on battery life. However the thing is, wall hugging has never been a problem for Android phones, only the iPhone. So, no point rushing for the 64-Bit buzz word, faster processors are always on the way, 64-bit or not.

    • Benjamin J Schwartz

      Did you bother to read the article? There’s a great quote from Quallcom’s chief negating every word you wrote.

      • N&LH

        Don’t waste your time with MrElectrifyer. He is hater and troll

      • Benjamin J Schwartz

        oh, how right you are.

      • N&LH

        If you are new to IDB then you really cannot tell.

      • Dude, Quallcom is a business, not your encyclopedia of technology. If you bother researching and thinking for yourself, you’ll realize they’re just looking to jump on the same 64-Bit bandwagon and join in using the buzzword to sell their product. No major benefit in the ARM space.

      • Benjamin J Schwartz

        I suppose that means no, you didn’t bother to read the article. Have fun with that.

      • I suppose that means yes, you don’t think for yourself, you just follow the herd. Ignorance is a bliss.

      • Benjamin J Schwartz

        You are trolling for android on an Apple forum, and you didn’t even bother to read the article that you’re commenting on? I just want to know if you have any idea how absurd you sound.

      • You are trolling with your troll remarks like a typical iHypocrite, and you keep proving my point that you don’t bother thinking for yourself, just ignoramusly following the herd.

        BTW, I did read the article, it’s Qualcomm doing damage control after admitting that 64-Bit (without 4GB of RAM) is currently bringing no major benefit to consumers in the ARM space.

    • Rowan09

      Wall hugging was never an Android problem that’s a lie. Maybe you meant it isn’t an issue since they started supersizing phones. Quad core and Octa-cores aren’t needed on phones either, but yet almost every Android manufacturer has it.

      • BozzyB

        For a heavy multitasking OS multicores are noteable better indeed. I use a 64-Bit Quadcore-CPU for my desktop computer since 8 years now. Both makes a big difference. 64-Bit was essential because the machine has more than 4 GB Ram installed.

      • Rowan09

        I understand, but most of the time phones don’t even use all 4 cores much less 8 of them. Having a quad core or octa-core on a phone is similar to having 64bits.

      • Exactly.

      • BoardDWorld

        I was about to say the same, good battery came with supersized Li-ion cells. That’s with every brand.

        On a side note I’m a little sad as I wanted to try an Xiaomi Note Pro: Snapdragon 810 64 bit 8-core, Adreno 430 GPU5.7” 2K display (2560 x 1440 at 515 PPI)
        4GB LPDDR4 RAM, 64GB eMMC 5.0 Flash

        Looks like I will be waiting a bit.

      • Rowan09

        Exactly, the bigger the phones the longer the battery life for the most part.

      • Last time I checked, the Galaxy S and S2 weren’t anything near super-sized, yet they lasted similar to my OnePlus (http://bit ly/1CFdGnA). Possible for you to have had bad luck with them…

      • Rowan09

        I owned both phones and if the 5s was a wall hugger these phones with smaller batteries were as well. The 4 and 4S gives you about the same talk time and the battery is smaller.

      • Those are back in the days b4 LTE existed. They were top of the class and lasted almost two days for people, besides you. Whereas the iPhone was still experiencing BatteryGate…

      • Rowan09

        2 days come on man. No review would back up your statement. 2 days of no usage maybe.

      • The review I linked to was an example of such, have a look for yourself.

      • Rowan09

        Did you even read the review? It clearly states good luck getting 10 hours with moderate usage and you’ll need to charge up everyday. If phones have 3 times the battery capacity and can’t accomplish 2 days of usage, there’s no way this phone under normal or heavy usage will give you 2 days, not even a day. Regardless of whatever review I owned them both and they couldn’t last all day, Samsung even claimed about 10 hours not 48 hours.

      • That is 10 hours of screen on time. My OnePlus One gets 6 hours.

    • Francisco farias

      That’s funny, my brother 6 Plus get the same usage, I can’t put my iPhone 5 usage because it’s not connected to a carrier, it just only have wifi and other services on. And also, there’s a reason why Apple went to 64 Bit, maybe to get everybody panic or something secret that nobody knows.

      • Apple went 64-Bit to gain performance and battery life without increasing battery capacity. Those have other ways to be accomplished with 32-Bit processors.

    • Francisco farias

      By the way, what android version is that? Looks kinda old.

      • It’s CyanogenMod 11S, a modded version of KitKat 4.4.4. Looks better to me than a lazy-fugly-flat UI, would still theme my phone back to it whenever CyanogenMod 12S, a modded version of Lollipop 5.0, is stabilizied and I upgrade to it.

      • Francisco farias

        But it still looks old And outdated? And my cousin got lollipop on his htc one m7. I can see they took some design from Apple ios 7, in my opinion, is for the best.

      • Hahaha, talking as if iOS 7 was anything original. Gimme a break dude (http://bit. ly/1wT7HbX).

      • Francisco farias

        I never said it did? I mean, if wasn’t for the first iPhone, do you think android and windows would of have all that amazing features? Like all other people said, competition is good. And also like you said, Apple put 64 bit so it can differentiate from other companies, so why not imply that to iOS 7 design?

  • George

    Samsung is full of shit, they just want to use their own chips.

    • Benjamin J Schwartz

      The last few models of the Galaxy line have all been released with Qualcomm AND Exynos (Samsung’s in house SoC) versions, and without fail the Qualcomm versions have always outperformed the Exynos chips while offering more features (usually related to LTE as Qualcomm integrates a lot of features into their baseband chips). So yeah, the big deal here is that Samsung is being forced to settle for the Exynos SoC across the board for every Galaxy S6, instead of using Qualcomm’s solution as a primary SoC and only releasing Exynos in limited quantities (usually in S. Korea / Europe) as they now do.

      To summarize: You’re wrong, Samsung most certainly doesn’t want to use their own SoC, but now they have no choice.

  • Anonomous.TECH.man

    Apple should definitely keep Intel for there Mac line up.

    • Francisco farias

      I agree, until they match the same level as Intel. I could be wrong tho, they probably did achieve that level.

  • Siddharth Desai

    I’m not sure “poaching” is an appropriate word to use. I appreciate the information but that’s just not the right word.