Why Android Still Needs Samsung’s Chips

Pretty much all Samsung users, especially the ones who buy flagship Galaxy phones, complain that they don’t want the company’s native Exynos chip on their phone—and understandably so. After all, Exynos chips have historically proven to be grossly inferior to their Snapdragon counterparts.

So, should Samsung just dump Exynos once and for all? Probably not. Granted, Exynos is not the best, but halting its development would actually end up hurting you as a consumer. Let’s take a look at why the Exynos processor is important for both Samsung and Android.


1. Exynos Helps Make Samsung Phones More Affordable

Samsung is one of the largest chip makers in the world. Without the Exynos lineup of chips, the semiconductor industry would lose a major competitor. That would be bad news because, as a consumer, you want there to be as much competition as possible, so you can enjoy cheaper prices as companies compete for your dollar.

If Samsung were to quit the market, Qualcomm would have more leverage over the South Korean giant and could charge it more for its Snapdragon processors to be put in flagship Galaxy devices.

That would increase the cost of production for Samsung which the company would then have to pass on to the consumer. You’d end up paying more when upgrading to a new phone.

2. Exynos Forces Qualcomm to Innovate

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset
Image Credit: Samsung

Competition also gives Qualcomm an incentive to innovate and make faster and more efficient chips. Some argue that Qualcomm’s biggest competition is not Samsung’s Exynos but Apple Silicon, so it’d keep innovating anyway—but that’s not true.

Although it’d be an achievement, beating Apple Silicon is not the primary reason Qualcomm does so much R&D. Instead, it does so to remain the best alternative within the Android space. This dominance is what allows the company to justify the premium it charges and remain the default chip supplier for flagship Android phones.

Without Samsung, Qualcomm would not feel the urgency to innovate anymore due to the lack of options in the market. This, again, would end up hurting consumers as we’re made to settle for chips with negligible improvements year after year.

3. Custom Chips Are More Optimized

If you’re into tech, you’re aware that one of the reasons the iPhone works so well is due to the synergy of its hardware and software. Since Apple Silicon is fully customized, the company has endless control over it and can optimize it to best work with iOS.

Similarly, the custom-made Google Tensor chip (which is actually co-developed with Samsung) is what makes Pixel phones unique. It allows for excellent computational photography, image and speech recognition, live translation, and software features. So even though Snapdragon chips are more powerful, no Pixel fan would give up Tensor for it.

The point here is that Qualcomm is an independent semiconductor supplier which means it sells to all Android companies. So although it’s very powerful, it’s still an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all solution and cannot allow for model-specific optimization.

Ideally, smartphone companies should design their own processors so they can optimize them to best work with their software. Halting the development of Exynos would be guaranteeing that Samsung phones will never become as efficient and optimized as iPhones.

4. Exynos May Outdo Snapdragon in the Future

galaxy s23 ultra gaming
Image Credit: Samsung

Most smartphone companies buy third-party chips instead of making their own due to the extensive costs and expertise required to set up research and manufacturing facilities. And this is where Samsung has a clear advantage.

In fact, Samsung is the only major Android company in the world that not only designs its chips but also manufactures them at its own foundry. Apple designs its own chips too, but the actual manufacturing is done by TSMC.

Since Samsung is primarily a hardware company, it’s not an unreasonable assumption that within a few years, it may be able to compete with—if not outperform—Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips. It may even rename its chip lineup to move away from the bad rep that Exynos has.

Why Samsung Needs Exynos

Exynos understandably doesn’t have a good image, and Samsung has done its customers a disservice in the past by putting it in some variants of its flagship phones. But it’s good that Samsung is still working on the range, and that it may even make a comeback in future devices.

Up until Exynos becomes capable enough, Samsung should continue using Snapdragon chips for all its flagship devices—as it did with the Galaxy S23 series. But once it evolves, Galaxy users can all benefit from the improvements it’ll bring. It’s unclear when that’ll happen, though.

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