Phone

Helping the competition: Samsung Exynos 980 debuts on the Vivo X30

Samsung’s Exynos chipsets are mainly used in Galaxy devices, but vendors like Motorola and Meizu have used them in a few of their devices in the past. Now, Vivo is doing the same by powering its upper-midrange Vivo X30 with the Exynos 980 SoC, making it the first smartphone (not just the first non-Galaxy smartphone) to pack Samsung’s latest mid-range chipset. The Vivo X30 will go on sale in December, the Chinese company revealed at a joint conference with Samsung.

The Exynos 980, which was unveiled in early September, is the company’s first mid-range SoC with an integrated 5G modem. It’s an 8nm chipset that consists of two Cortex-A77 cores, six Cortex-A55 cores, and a Mali-G76 MP5 GPU. It supports dual-mode 5G and can reach download speeds up to 3.55Gbps by combining 4G and 5G downlinks.

A Vivo phone using Samsung’s chipset in itself is neither fundamentally new nor surprising, but a brand-new Exynos processor making its debut on a rival’s smartphone before powering a Galaxy device does point to an interesting trend with Samsung’s components business. Lately, it appears Samsung’s components divisions are increasingly de-linking their growth and profits from Galaxy devices, resulting in reduced preferential treatment for Samsung’s own devices.

The debut of the Exynos 980 in the Vivo X30 is an apt example of this strategy. Samsung wants to revive its smartphone business in China with a lineup of localised 5G devices, but its Exynos business sees more growth opportunities in catering 5G-integrated chipsets to rival smartphone manufacturers. We have seen the same happen with the company’s high-resolution ISOCELL camera sensors, QLED panels for TVs, high-refresh-rate AMOLED screens, and more.

And frankly, all of this makes sense for Samsung when you consider the bigger picture. The company’s biggest rivals are not going to slow down if Samsung refuses to supply the best of its components. Instead, the unmet demand in the market creates space for new part suppliers and will eventually harm Samsung’s business even more. Moreover, the Korean company’s devices won’t see a dramatic rise in sales if it tries to withhold some of its latest components as none of them are so pathbreaking or difficult to clone.

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