Qualcomm CFO Akash Palkhiwala confirmed the news when answering a question during the recent investor call, and these are the executive’s exact words:
Frankly, this slower chip and sub-par experience was one of the biggest scandals in the smartphone industry. The Galaxy S20, S21, and more recently the S22 all suffered from the negative press they deservedly got for using a slower chip in many countries. On all of those phones, the Exynos versions generally had slower performance, worse battery life, and poorer photo and video quality as well.
In our comparison, we find that “Colors are also muted in the Exynos photo, while you get more vibrant and saturated hues from Snapdragon.”
Samsung, however, insisted on including this chip. It was made in-house and the company hoped to be able to compete with the industry-dominating Snapdragon chips, but unfortunately it never quite got there. Since no other phone maker used an Exynos chip in a flagship product, it was something exclusive to Samsung, but not something to brag about.
The curious exception of Exynos
Samsung was forced to kill the Exynos in one country before others
Interestingly, one exception to Samsung’s Exynos strategy was India. The country is known for its extremely demanding consumers and it seems that Samsung felt that the use of the Exynos chip in India hurt its sales more than in other regions. That is why in 2022, Samsung changed course and shipped the Galaxy S22 series with a Snapdragon processor in India. Not surprisingly, the S22 series has been much more successful in India compared to previous models and it’s easy to make the connection between that decision and the reversal of fortunes.
We also remind you that Samsung has had a different strategy for its folding phones. Whether it’s because these are more expensive and considered more premium, or for other reasons, the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Flip series launch with Snapdragon chips from the ground up.
It will be interesting to see if Samsung mentions this change when it launches the Galaxy S23 family, and by the way, the latest Galaxy S23 release date rumor points to a mid-February 2023 release, so we’re only three months away. far from it
In addition to the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip that’s expected to power all three Galaxy S23 models, the Vanilla S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra, we’re expecting a new 200MP camera on the Ultra to cause quite a stir. And with all models now running the Snapdragon processor, you won’t have to worry if the picture quality is a little worse in one country or another, you’ll get the best picture quality everywhere.
Interestingly, the Galaxy S23 Ultra isn’t expected to receive a major design overhaul, so it will mostly look like its predecessor, a separate camera housing for each lens, a built-in S Pen, and whatnot. The only slight change is the edges are curved differently, so the phones will have a flatter edge, making them easier to pick up when on a table.
Samsung’s Exynos wasn’t the fastest, but it was good enough and helped diversify the industry.
On the other hand, some analysts mention that the Exynos chip manufactured by Samsung was a good opportunity to diversify from a manufacturing chain dominated by China and Taiwan. With global uncertainty following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and an imminent military threat from China to Taiwan, a possible military conflict could seriously affect global chip production.
And while Exynos was never the fastest chip, it was widely seen as a good enough chip. No longer flagships means one less competitor and will also make the industry even more dependent on Taiwan’s TSMC.
How will all this work in the long term? It’s hard to predict, and obviously there are various points of view if you’re an analyst concerned with the big picture. But in the short term at least, the move to Snapdragon processors looks like a big win for consumers, who are now likely to get their new S23 phone with the best possible performance, no matter which country they buy it from.
Finally, this also brings up the question of pricing.
Apple kept the price of its iPhone 14 series unchanged in the US, but that’s not the case in Europe and the rest of the world, which saw big price increases. Will Samsung’s transition to the more powerful and probably slightly more expensive Snapdragon chip result in a similar price increase? It’s too early to tell, but that’s one more possibility to consider.