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The next big Galaxy phones may use very different processors

It could be all change at Samsung in the near future regarding the processors it uses for its Galaxy phones if a pair of reports are accurate. Samsung may be planning to arm at least one of the rumored Galaxy S23 phones, and the equally unofficial Galaxy S22 FE, with a MediaTek processor. Additionally, the company may also be exploring the possibility of creating a new chipset specifically for other Galaxy smartphones, following in the footsteps of Apple with the Bionic chip series, and Google with the Tensor chip.

The back of the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Speaking at a “town hall” meeting, Samsung’s mobile division chief Roh Tae Moon is quoted by iNews24 as saying the company will, “Make an Application Processor (AP) unique to the Galaxy.” Both this and the potential expansion of its partnership with MediaTek signifies how the company may be moving away from its own Exynos processors, which are found in a variety of its devices launched globally.

Despite advances in chip fabrication technology, Exynos processors have traditionally lagged behind Qualcomm’s chips, which Samsung uses to power its flagship phones released in the U.S. Take for example the Galaxy S22 series phones with the Exynos 2200. Samsung’s official forum and various Reddit threads are brimming with complaints of issues plaguing the Exynos-powered Galaxy S22 series phones.

MediaTek has long served as the middle-ground for OEMs, offering efficient, powerful chips that undercut Qualcomm chips in price. MediaTek has also soared in the past few quarters, and the focus on 5G-ready chipsets in the Dimensity series has paid dividends, with the recent Dimensity 9000 processor and Dimensity 8100 chip likely to arrive in more global phone releases this year.

Samsung’s reputed plans are ambitious and would mark the first time that MediaTek’s processors will make their way to high-end Samsung phones. So far, Samsung has only relied on MediaTek’s Helio-branded systems-on-a-chip (SoC) for low-end and mid-range phones in the Galaxy A and Galaxy M series.

Exynos alternatives

With Exynos slipping further into unpopularity, MediaTek becoming a true force to be reckoned with in the industry, and Google and Apple’s success with their own SoC platforms, the time could also be right for Samsung to introduce a Galaxy-only chipset of its own. The company has worked on improving its A.I. and camera-specific software capabilities for the last few Galaxy S Series phones, and an own-brand chipset could potentially increase functionality further.

If Samsung does make another in-house chipset, which company will it choose to build it? If it chooses Samsung Semiconductor, it may be another Exynos processor in all but name. Qualcomm is reported to have changed from Samsung Semiconductor to TSMC for its next flagship chip due to low yield, the same company Apple uses to produce its Bionic series chips. Samsung Semiconductor is rumored to be the foundry producing the Google Tensor chip for Pixel smartphones.

The Galaxy S23 and S22 FE devices are unofficial and not expected to launch until 2023, and Samsung has not officially talked about a new Galaxy-only processor, so it’s not certain any of these reports will prove to be accurate as plans may change. However, it does appear Samsung is at least exploring the possibility of alternative processor solutions for the next big Galaxy phone releases.

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