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Samsung and Qualcomm extend and expand their partnership, casting doubt on the future of Exynos

The news follows rumors saying that Samsung will go Snapdragon-only going forward

Exynos processors have definitely seen better days. Since the Exynos-only Galaxy S6 was released in 2015, Samsung’s chips have increasingly lagged behind Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoCs year after year, something the company is undoubtedly aware of. Over the past few weeks, rumors arose that Samsung will go Snapdragon-only, at least for its flagships, starting next year. Adding weight to those initial reports is a newly expanded partnership announced by Samsung and Qualcomm that promises, among other things, more Snapdragon-powered devices.

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In a joint press release from both companies, they announced that their long-standing partnership is being extended all the way up to 2030, alongside a broadening of its scope. It mainly cites the extension of their patent license agreement for 3G, 4G, 5G, and future 6G tech, but it also mentions an agreement to “expand their collaboration with Snapdragon platforms for future premium Samsung Galaxy products.”

The wording on that specific statement is vague on whether all premium Samsung phones going forward will use Snapdragon or not, but this does line up with previous rumors saying precisely that, so it’s very much a possibility. At the very least, we should expect to see more Snapdragon-powered Galaxy S23s next year — something Qualcomm’s CEO, Cristiano Amon, has all but confirmed. In an earnings call, he said that Qualcomm chips would power Samsung flagships next year, potentially phasing out any Exynos variants. The Galaxy S22 already used Snapdragon instead of Samsung’s in-house chips in more markets than usual — 75%, to be precise — but Mr. Amon says that you can expect that number to grow exponentially next year.


Does this mean that Exynos is dead? Maeil Economic Daily (via Android Authority) reports that this news is not necessarily a death sentence. During its Q2 2022 conference call, the company dismissed the rumors that it would discontinue Exynos entirely. As explained by Samsung, “we are reorganizing our system-on-chip (SoC) business model, and are pursuing a plan to strengthen our competitiveness in the mid-to-long term.”

That last bit harkens back to rumors of Samsung working on its own exclusive custom silicon for 2025. If we had to guess, Samsung will keep developing mid-range Exynos chips from 2023 through 2024 while using Snapdragon on its flagships, before coming out with its own exclusive chip afterward. Of course, this is all speculation — we’ll likely learn more as we head into 2023.


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