As Samsung continues to work on the Galaxy S7 behind the scenes, new reports from Korea have given us a clue to the makeup of the handset. There has been considerable speculation regarding the processor that would be utilized in the Galaxy S7, but it seems certain now that Samsung will revert to the traditional practice of having two separate models for different geographical regions.
Samsung welcomes back Qualcomm
Samsung had previously eliminated Qualcomm from the process of producing processors for the company, but it never seems that it is keen to use the Snapdragon series once more. Samsung’s proprietary Exynos technology still clearly plays a role in the future direction of the company, but it seems that improvements at Qualcomm coupled with logistical issues have motivated the corporation to embrace Snapdragon processors once more.
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According to reports emanating from the Electronics Times, a trusted Korean publication, Samsung will use a mixture of Qualcomm and Exynos SoCs for its flagship phone in 2016. This report was then carried by the Reuters news agency, and it seems increasingly likely that Samsung will indeed welcome Qualcomm back into the Galaxy S7 fold.
However, Exynos will still remain part of the Galaxy S7 portfolio. It simply seems that due to practicalities Samsung has decided to make significant changes in some of it is most important marketplaces. Thus, the story suggests that in the United States and China, naturally leading markets for smartphones, the Galaxy S7 will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 SoC. Reports suggest that these will be the only two marketplaces featuring a Galaxy S7 powered by Qualcomm technology, and that in other marketplaces Samsung will opt for its proprietarily processor technology.
Qualcomm’s Samsung poker game
In particular, the report cites industry sources who believe that Qualcomm was able to secure Snapdragon 820 orders via a shrewd negotiating process. It is asserted that the company tapped into these two hugely profitable marketplaces by leveraging its chip manufacturing orders as a major influence over Samsung. As a result of this new deal, Samsung has effectively acquired a lucrative chip foundry from Qualcomm, while the leading chip and processor manufacturer once more enjoys Galaxy S7 provisions as part of its income.
It was certainly a massive loss for the processor manufacturer when Samsung decided to opt for its own Exynos technology in a raft of Galaxy devices. Qualcomm remains a major player in the mobile marketplace, but must have been hugely concerned about the future of its business, considering that Apple has also been linked with a raft of chip and processor manufacturers, including Intel. There is no way that Qualcomm would have been willing to accept being ostracized by the two dominant companies in the mobile marketplace, and thus this important deal has been struck with the Korean consumer electronics giant.
As Samsung has evidently decided to welcome Qualcomm back into the fold, this suggests that the corporation has got on top of the overheating issues that have been a major problem for the corporation in recent years. The Snapdragon series was reportedly dropped by Samsung over the Snapdragon 810 overheating PR disaster that made the Korean manufacturer wary of including the technology in future handsets.
It seemed likely that Samsung would stick with its proprietary Exynos technology for as long as possible, as including it in the Galaxy range enabled it to snag more profit. But the logistical issues associated with manufacturing its own processors and developing a world-class smartphone series evidently defeated the Korean company, and it has decided to cut its losses and collaborate with Qualcomm again.
Samsung challenges mount
The decision to include the Snapdragon processor in the Galaxy S7 comes at a time when Samsung is facing numerous challenges. The Galaxy S7 will have its work cut out to eat into the massive lead that Apple has built up at the head of the smartphone marketplace, and meanwhile it has other vultures snapping at its tail as well.
There are an increasing number of affordable Android variants available in the East Asian marketplace in particular, and these have proved popular with this embryonic marketplace. While Samsung retains a significant market share in the West, where smartphones remain very much predicated on fashion, in regions where consumers have less disposable income, Samsung had previously operated successfully as an affordable alternative to the Apple iPhone series.
It seems less likely that the Galaxy S7 will be able to achieve this, and thus Samsung may have taken this decision in light of the evolving commercial context. Apple has been hugely successful with the iPhone series in China, and early figures related to the iPhone 6s suggest that its growth has been entirely predicated on sales in the world’s most populous country. With Samsung looking to regain market share in China with the Galaxy S7, it seems that a pragmatic decision has been taken with regard to the processors included in the unit.
Early Galaxy S7 release
One of the exciting aspects of the Galaxy S7 for Samsung fans is that we could see an earlier release date for the handset than has been the case with previous iterations. This is due to the fact that the Mobile World Congress will run between February 22 and 25; an earlier date than usual.
Typically, the event in Barcelona has been the location at which Samsung has unveiled Galaxy S devices, and if this is the case once more then we could see an earlier release date for the Galaxy S7.
Certainly, Samsung has declined to confirm any specific details about the Galaxy S7, but with Sony having released the world’s first 4K resolution smartphone, it has been widely reported that the Korean manufacturer will indeed follow suit with its own 4K Galaxy S7.
Samsung has been renowned for packing its devices with outstanding specifications, and after Apple smashed records with the release of the iPhone 6s, there will be pressure on the Korean company to follow suit with something truly outstanding. Coupled with the new processor news, this suggests a headline-grabbing Galaxy S7 release is likely.