Over the past several generations, Qualcomm and Samsung have had a partnership that was beneficial to both parties. The chip manufacturer gets nearly guaranteed sales from Android’s most popular OEM, Samsung gets chips that are typically considered some of the best on the market. Given the faux pas of overheating issues of the Snapdragon 810 in the Galaxy S6, Samsung has taken an interesting stance to minimize losses from the Galaxy S7.
The Galaxy S6 Chipset
This deal between Samsung and Qualcomm persisted well until the release of the Galaxy S6 when Samsung elected to include their own Exynos chip. Certain devices with the Snapdragon 810 reported intense overheating issues, across numerous handsets. Despite the impressive performance that Qualcomm chips typically yield, Samsung decided that the overheating issue was too much of a concession to include the Snapdragon 810 in the Galaxy S6.
Though it could be due to a variety of reasons, sales of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge were abysmal. One possible facet of this detrimental performance could very well be the inclusion of an Exynos chip. In addition to being an inferior chip, Exynos chips may require different addressing from the Snapdragon chips previously used by Samsung, and there may not have been enough time to properly optimize all code for the new chipset.
Snapdragon in the Galaxy S7
Given Qualcomm’s propensity to address the overheating issues of their previous chip, Samsung seems to have decided to give them another chance and include the 820 in the Galaxy S7, but only in some markets. With prolific complaints about the 810, Qualcomm has surely spent copious amounts of time and money to research and correct the issues causing overheating issues. If they want to be the headlining Android chip manufacturer, they would be well advised to make sure the 820 performs stunningly, and do everything in their power to get every Android OEM on board with the latest in the Snapdragon chip series.
The fact that Samsung has only chosen to include the Snapdragon 820 in US and Chinese Galaxy S7 devices could reflect that they must test the waters with Qualcomm before they can fully invest in the manufacturer for all Galaxy devices. With two distinct markets, Samsung can easily determine if the Snapdragon 820 is worth its mettle, and may elect to include it or its successor in new batches of Galaxy S7 handsets in other markets. If nothing else Samsung can use this experiment to see if Qualcomm has properly addressed overheating issues with less of an investment than risking all Galaxy devices on a chipset that may not be completely remedied.
Regarding processor, the Samsung Galaxy S7 will be more of an experiment than a guaranteed strong performer. If Qualcomm has indeed addressed all overheating issues before the release of the Snapdragon 820, success of the Galaxy S7 could do well to prove that the chip is worth investing in and repair public opinion of Qualcomm. On the other hand, if issues from the Snapdragon 810 persist in the 820, it should be a wakeup call to Qualcomm that there are major problems at hand to be addressed before they can reliably produce top tier smartphone processors.
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