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Samsung reportedly designing custom Exynos chipset for Google

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion around Samsung’s Exynos chipsets and how they perform worse than their Snapdragon counterparts. Some enraged users even filed an online petition and suggested that the company should abandon the Exynos lineup altogether and switch to Qualcomm’s chipsets for its smartphones. However, the South Korean firm won’t likely abandon the Exynos lineup anytime soon.

Samsung’s next-gen flagship Exynos processor could perform better as the company is switching from Mongoose CPU cores to stock ARM CPU cores. It is even ditching ARM’s Mali GPUs in favor of AMD’s Radeon graphics. In fact, Samsung seems to have even bigger plans for its Exynos chipsets in the future. Apparently, the company is developing a custom Exynos chipset in partnership with Google. According to a new report, the custom Exynos processor could be launched by Google as soon as this year.

According to the information, the chipset will be made using Samsung’s 5nm LPE process. The Exynos octa-core processor reportedly features two Cortex-A78 CPU cores, two Cortex-A76 CPU cores, and four Cortex-A55 CPU cores. The chipset could use ARM’s unannounced Mali MP20 GPU that is based on Borr (codename based on Norse mythology) microarchitecture. Google seems to have removed Samsung’s ISP and NPU to use its own Visual Core ISP and NPU.

Reuters had reported last year that Google was poaching chip designers from Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm in an effort to create its own chipset for smartphones and servers and to reduce its reliance on vendors like Intel and Qualcomm. The company even created a team of 16 veteran engineers in Bengaluru, India, and had plans to hire hundreds in the future. However, the internet search giant may have settled for a custom Exynos chipset, at least for now.

If this report turns out to be true, there is a possibility of Google using the upcoming chipset in its future Pixel smartphones (mid-range models first?), Chrome OS-based devices, and even servers for data centers. According to ETNews, Samsung created a new ‘Custom SoC’ team inside its Device Solutions business earlier this year. The team is headed by Park Jin-pyo who worked in the Foundry ASIC team until last year.

The new team could also be making a chipset for Facebook’s AR/VR products in the Oculus lineup. Samsung’s new Custom SoC team currently has around 30 members that are grouped together from its various business arms, including Samsung LSI, but there are plans to make it much bigger in the coming years. The move to make a new team is a part of Samsung’s bigger plan to become the world’s biggest system semiconductor company by 2030.

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