As part of yesterday’s leaked details about the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (MSM8998) chip set, eagle eyed readers may have spotted reference to the Samsung Galaxy S8 at the bottom of the chart. According to the spec sheet, the Samsung Galaxy S8 will be the first smartphone powered by the octa-core Snapdragon 835 and the phone will make its debut around MWC 2017, which many were already expecting.
This year’s Samsung Galaxy S7 sports Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 flagship SoC, but also came with an Exynos 8890 variant in some regions. Samsung has been quiet about its next generation mobile SoC, but a number of reports and rumors suggest that an Exynos 8895 or 9 series chip is under development, and could again likely end up powering some Galaxy S8 models.
Samsung's next-gen Exynos chip may offer additional ISP and modem features to better compete with Qualcomm's Snapdragon
For a recap, the Snapdragon 835 leak suggests that we’re looking at an octa-core Kryo 200 CPU setup, a new Adreno 540 GPU, LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 2.1 memory, along with a X16 modem, all packaged using Samsung’s 10nm FinFET manufacturing technology. If the move back to an octa-core configuration turns out to be true, the 835 may end up looking a little more similar to Samsung’s Exynos chip again, which is likely to be sticking with a big.LITTLE CPU configuration.
Although details about both the chips remain unconfirmed, previous rumors about the Exynos 8895 processor point to a higher clocked version of the 8890, potentially reaching 3GHz for the big cores and 2.7GHz for the little cores. Although it’s not clear if Samsung plans to stick with its M1 CPU core, revise it, or return to an ARM Cortex solution next generation. However, it’s almost certain that Samsung will build such a chip on its own 10nm FinFET process. The chip is also expected to feature ARM’s latest Mali-G71 GPU, which can offer up to 80% more performance than the Mali-T880 found in this year’s Exynos 8890, and supports 4K content and displays. The Mali-G71 has already made its debut inside HiSilicon’s Kirin 960.
Samsung’s next generation processor, which will probably appear as a 9XXX series chip rather than the 8895, is also tipped to offer up a 70 percent boost to its image processing capabilities, which may be useful for a dual camera configuration. More recently there has also been talk about integrating a Shannon modem often used by the company into the SoCs itself, something which Qualcomm already does with its in-house X series modems.
Samsung is apparently interested in the Shannon 359 modem, which incorporates LD-LTE, LTE FDD, TD-SDCMA, WCDMA, CDMA, and GSM capabilities into a single chip. This would essentially allow Samsung to cover all of the world’s networks with a single solution, rather than having to rely on Qualcomm for CDMA coverage in countries like the USA. However, the Shannon 359 isn’t expected to arrive until Q3 2017, so this technology won’t be available in time for the Galaxy S8 and Samsung’s next Exynos SoC.
With Samsung’s semiconductor division playing an increasingly important role in terms of company profitability, Samsung will be unlikely to turn down the opportunity to power at least some of its Galaxy S8 handsets with an in-house Exynos processor. Providing that it competes with the Snapdragon 835 on features and performance.