Originally Posted by Frood
No. Exynos is not 'that bad' at all and actually kind of rocks. People with the QUALCOMM chips (North American Samsung phones) *wish* they had the Exynos. Its the high end processor. It suffers from basically the same thing Apple is now being 'accused' of. It was released to much fanfare as being an 'eight core processor' but couldn't actually use all 8 at once. It was also expensive to make. It has *huge* potential for the future.... but that's the future =P
If you're only thinking about the specs and benchmarks of the Exynos 5, then yes, it's not "that bad" at all. But in the real world, you can't ignore realities (including cost!) when engineering precision devices selling in massive quantities.
Recall that outside of Apple, nobody really saw any immediate potential in AuthenTech either, because (in the SEC filings of the company) its parts and the work required to integrate them were deemed too expensive. Only Apple saw a way to make Touch ID work AND be affordable and profitable. That's engineering, not just churning out a bigger/faster/higher spec'ed device. That's PC-era doodling.
Exynos 5 clearly cost Samsung lots to develop, just as Apple spent lots of resources on its A6. But Apple put its A6 in every iPhone 5 it sold, and then sold more iPhone 5 units that any other smartphone. That's how to drive down costs. And this year, its using the A6 in the 5c, having driven down costs enough to sell its popular phone (which continued to outsell Samsung's flagship) for $100 less.
The A7 is an ambitious, expensive part. But Apple knows it won't have too much difficulty selling huge volumes this year, and in iPads, and in next years mainstream phone. This is the exciting part of technological progress. And Apple is leading it.
Apple did the same thing with lots of other technologies, leveraging economies of scale to take expensive new technologies and make them affordable, while still making a profit. This is not easy to do.
That's why most companies, including all those White Box tablet makers and PC cloners, only ever assembled parts off the shelf and slopped out yesterday's technology at commensurate prices.
Samsung's costs in developing the (several versions of) Exynos 5 are not benefitting from total global shipments of the GS4 and other flagship models than can command a premium (relative to Samsung's other basic phones running Android 2.x). It's missing vast economies of scale, sending its profits to Qualcomm instead.
Essentially, the difficult position where Apple found itself, buying components from (and enriching) its main rival, is now being inherited by Samsung, which has to pay Qualcomm for finished chips that are designed by Qualcomm (and apparently built by Samsung, at very little profit if you look at the commercial performance of System LSI). That's not how you drive your costs down. That's how you drive your competitor's costs down, as LG and Microkia everyone else now benefits from your economies of scale (but only slightly).
Looking at things from that perspective, the design of Exynos 5 Octa was a huge, grievous error. It would be like Steve Jobs waiting for IBM to deliver the PPC G6 and then being forced to put Intel Core chips in its low end Macs, failing to gain any leverage on either chip platform.