Samsung Electronics will enter competition to develop more advanced chips for smartphones and PCs by starting again to develop cores for central processing units (CPUs). The Korean tech giant is planning to lower its reliance on ARM and face off with Apple by loading CPUs of its own design into smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Samsung Electronics recently assembled an internal team to develop CPU cores. To lead the team, the company hired Rahul Tuli, a senior developer who orchestrated CPU development projects at AMD.
CPUs responsible for data computation are the core of application processors (Aps), which are the brain of a smartphone. Samsung has historically relied on British company ARM for CPU cores that go into its Exynos APs. Samsung’s rival Qualcomm also makes APs based on ARM’s designs. If Samsung succeeds in developing its own CPU cores, it will be able to greatly improve the optimization of its smartphones.
Samsung Electronics is also accelerating the development of next-generation APs, including chips for Galaxy smartphones. At the end of 2022, the System LSI Division at Samsung Electronics launched the AP Solution Development Team along with the Mobile Experience (MX) Division to optimize APs. The team is carrying out advanced research on next-generation chips. Under the tentative name of the Galaxy Chip, the team is planning to set up a dedicated chip more optimized than existing ones. Industry insiders are expecting the first version of the Galaxy Chip to come out in 2025. However, since Samsung Electronics has just begun the development of its own CPU cores, the first version of the Galaxy Chip is highly likely to have ARM CPUs.
This does not mark the first time Samsung has attempted to develop its own CPUs. The company has been building its own development team and investing in technology since the early 2010s to build its own design capabilities. The project was named Mongoose, the snake-eating mammal, because at the time, its rival Qualcomm was using a krait, a kind of viper, as a product name.
However, as Samsung Electronics’ mobile CPU cores were evaluated to be inferior to those of competitors such as Qualcomm chips in terms of power efficiency, heat generation, and multi-core efficiency, the company eventually concluded that their products were not competitive and put a halt to the Mongoose Project. In 2019, the company officially scrapped the project and laid off more than 300 developers at the Samsung Austin Research Center (SARC). Since then, Samsung Electronics has been struggling to expand its presence in the AP market. The premium mobile AP market is dominated by Qualcomm and the low- to mid-range AP market by MediaTek. Moreover, potential risk is growing over Samsung Electronics’ alliance with ARM. This explains why Samsung Electronics has to expedite the development of its own CPUs.