LG says that SoC is fine, reports say Samsung renounces Snapdragon 810 for its Galaxy S6

One of Qualcomm’s major partners, LG Electronics, has publicly declared that they have experienced no overheating problems with the company’s 20 mm SoCs. Furthermore, LG intends to implement this new chip into their latest Flex 2 model in which Snapdragon 810 does not give off that much heat as opposed to its 28 mm predecessor. What we can assume from this is either Samsung’s problem was about another aspect of the chip, or Qualcomm has solved the issue.

Neither company has shed some light on this rumor.

Should the problem be in reality significantly greater, SEC rules oblige Qualcomm to come forth before its earnings call. Given the fact that the company has yet to announce any product malfunction, we can assume that the problem is not relevant for its ongoing business.

Typically, device manufacturers must take into account power budgets and specific hardware when making tight, well-defined products. Due to the high number of companies which introduce new devices on a yearly basis, it is paramount that SoCs arrive on time and are within the designed thermal parameters. This is why Samsung’s decision was to renounce Qualcomm for their upcoming Galaxy S6 phones. By all appearances, Qualcomm’s 20 mm processors do not cool down fast enough for Samsung to use them with their phones.

Sources at Bloomberg report that Samsung had tested Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 prior to the rejection of it. The said chip is a 20 mm SoC with a new DX11.2 capable GPU, H.265 encode and decode tow CPU clusters (quad-core Cortex A57 and A53) and an integrated 20 mm LTE modem.

What Snapdragon 810’s problem really is remains to be determined, although Qualcomm has been in the 20 mm shipping market for over a year now. But saying that the problem is thermal is a vague claim to begin with and coul refer to a number of issues within the SoC. However, if the chip does not switch to its ‘œLittle’ Cortex A53 blocks when necessary or throttle properly, these issues could tap the thermal envelopes.

A mysterious problem still

The issue Samsung is having with the Snapdragon 810 is identical to the predicament they were in with their own EXynos hardware and Galaxy S4. At the time, the Exynos 5410 was supposedly the first ever chip to use the big.LITTLE configuration of ARM but critical problems with the SoC made Samsung resort to Qualcomm. The said configuration did not go well with the 5410, an issue which Samsung solved with the Exynos 5420.

The issue Samsung had with Exynos 5410 were not significant because the company’s includes collaboration with various chip suppliers and using all sorts of technologies within their mobile devices. However, a serious with the Snapdragon 810 could be potentially harmful for both Qualcomm and their partners.

Another possibility is that Qualcomm has aready fixed this issue but has failed to meet with Samsung’s production schedule requirements. Problems with early silicon production are not uncommon. There’s also the possibility that Samsung is not pleased with the chip’s exaggerated thinness or even power envelope target rather than Qualcomm’s hardware per say. While thinness continues to obsess manufacturers, smartphone cases nullify this obsession and for some high-end devices, this obsession is problematic.

One such example is the LTE Cat 6 G3 only available in South Korea which tends to overheat when used over a prolonged period of time.

Until such time as more information is given by either parties, it is impossible to determine the true extent of the problem. However, should there be mass Snapdragon 810 cancellations, chaos will start and give Intel and rival ARM manufacturer, a rare opportunity to claim some market share.