iPhone 6 rivals by Samsung, LG, HTC suffering delays in Qualcomm's 64-bit Snapdragon answer to Apple

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2014
Qualcomm's upcoming 64-bit Snapdragon chips designed to power new high end Android flagship phones including the Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4 and HTC One M9 are reportedly running into new issues that threaten to further delay any real competition to Apple's iPhone 6 juggernaut.

Snapdragon


A report by Business Korea claimed that Qualcomm's 64-bit Snapdragon 810 is facing new "hard-to-solve" problems including overheating, RAM controller issues and "an error in the driver of the Adreno 430 GPU."

The site attributed the "unexpected hurdles" to an unnamed industry source. Samsung, LG, HTC and most other leading Android licensees currently use Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips to power most of their smartphones, so any further delays by Qualcomm can only exacerbate the embarrassing desperation Apple's rivals are feeling as A8-powered iPhone 6 models set new sales records and grab additional market share globally.

Samsung, LG target Qualcomm's Snapdragon with Exynos, Nuclun

Samsung has its own Exynos Application Processor family, which it uses in tablets and in some smartphones, but remains largely dependent upon Qualcomm's Snapdragon and the chip's proprietary integrated baseband modem for its mainstream smartphone offerings in most markets.

LG has similarly developed its own internal Nuclun Application Processor to reduce its dependance upon Qualcomm, but both LG and Samsung have run into production and performance problems in developing their own chips, in addition to remaining dependent on Qualcomm for compatibility with mobile networks.

Apple's A series chips have rapidly advanced the state of the art in both CPU and GPU technologies, delivering a significant performance lead in both areas while pioneering the use of the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set. Rather than replacing Qualcomm, Apple's current A7 and A8 chips work alongside a standalone Qualcomm MDM baseband chip.

Qualcomm was caught off guard last year when Apple unexpectedly released its 64-bit A7; the firm has subsequently scrambled to deliver a lineup of its own 64-bit Application Processors. Samsung also raced to assure investors that it too would deliver a 64-bit chip, after promising in September 2013 that its next flagship would be 64-bit. Next spring Samsung is expected to finally begin to catch up to 2013's 64-bit A7-powered iPhone 5s with the Galaxy S6

However, Samsung then released its Galaxy S5 flagship that failed to deliver 64-bit processing, via either its own Exynos chips or Qualcomm's Snapdragons. Its Exynos version of the subsequently released Galaxy Note 4 technically follows ARMv8, but runs in a 32-bit mode.

Next spring Samsung is expected to finally begin to catch up to 2013's 64-bit A7-powered iPhone 5s with the Galaxy S6, leveraging either Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 and/or its own new 64-bit Exynos chip.

Business Korea flatters Samsung, attacks LG

Calling into question the legitimacy of the Business Korea report is the fact that the site derided LG's own Nuclun as "not better than entry-level APs" in making the claim that any new problems with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 would particularly be a problem for LG, while suggesting that Samsung "is likely to solve the problem by featuring its own Exynos chips in the Galaxy S6."

LG's current Nuclun chip is indeed nothing special, being based upon ARM's off-the-shelf Cortex A15 core design reference. However, Samsung's own Exynos chips are similarly "not better than entry-level APs," being based off the same generic A15 or A53/A57 big.LITTLE Octacore designs.

Samsung told analysts one year ago that its 64-bit roadmap would initially deliver chips based on ARM's generic core designs before achieving its own 64-bit custom core design (below).



Last month, Business Korea also claimed that "functional defects of the iPhone 6+" were related to the use of triple-level cell NAND flash memory built by Apple subsidiary Anobit, and stated that the company would change the design of the phone while referencing speculation about a "potential recall," all similarly attributed to unnamed "industry sources." The rumors of a redesign and recall proved to be unfounded.

If the alleged issues the same site attributed to Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 are similarly inaccurate, phones using the new chip will still face delays in bringing iPhone 6-class products to market, as Qualcomm's new 64-bit Application Processor isn't expected to ship until the first half 2015, missing not only the Western holiday season but also the important Chinese New Year buying cycle.

Apple's A7, A8, A8X remain the only custom-optimized 64-bit ARMv8 chips

Additionally, according to a report earlier this year by AnandTech, even Qualcomm's own Snapdragon 810 and the firm's other 64-bit offerings through the first half of 2015 will also be based on "vanilla ARM designs" that use generic A53/A57 cores.

Qualcomm's own custom 64-bit core architecture won't debut until at least the second half of next year, giving Apple's A8 and A8X an uncontested lead in being the only custom optimized 64-bit ARM Application Processors in production use. Apple's custom Swift and Cyclone core designs, like Qualcomm's custom 32-bit Krait cores, have enjoyed a consistent performance edge over ARM's own comparable generic core reference designs.

Samsung is unlikely to be able to replace its dependance on Qualcomm's Snapdragon with its own Exynos components anytime soon. Last year, it faced serious Exynos flaws that impaired the limited production of Galaxy S4 phones using the in-house chip; it continues to rely on Qualcomm's Snapdragon for most of its Note 4 production.

Apple's iPhone 6 A8 GPU destroys Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, Moto X & Nexus 5 /w fewer, slower cores & much less RAM $AAPL pic.twitter.com/SMgPqoYYrC

-- Daniel Eran Dilger (@DanielEran)


Samsung's Exynos versions of the Galaxy Note are also significantly slower than the Snapdragon versions (above).

In addition to being faster, Apple's latest Ax-series Application Processors feature custom core designs that operate at lower clock speeds to achieve sustained performance and energy efficiency, enabling them to power gaming-savvy, thinner devices while delivering industry leading battery life.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 134
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,445member

    But, but, but... octocore beats A8, right?

  • Reply 2 of 134
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    But, but, but... octocore beats A8, right?




    Of course. Just like the Pentium 4 beat the Athlon's of the era.

  • Reply 3 of 134
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    But, but, but... octocore beats A8, right?


     

    Well, I don't follow these things, but that appears to be the case : 

     

        

  • Reply 4 of 134
    I've said it before and I'll say it again.

    Apple is so far ahead of everyone it's actually embarrassing.

    Even the Denver K1, which Nvidia hyped to no end, is still behind the Apple A7 from one year ago. PATHETIC.
  • Reply 5 of 134
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,184member

    So by the time Android sees a 64-bit chip Apple will be releasing it's 3rd generation processor, the A9.   I'm going to assume it'll also be a triple core because the new iPad Airs are Triple.   Seems pretty logical.   I think Apple will hold off on Quad Core.    It's just eats more power.    How laughable of Android.   It really does look bad.  Apple 1 company, making it's own Custom 64-bit ARM chip and where's anyone else???  Now even Samscum who make their own Chips and yet make Apples!!!  It's really pretty funny.

  • Reply 6 of 134
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    It's still only half the problem, android and the android development environment still lack meaningful ways to utilise the extra register space.

    iOS and OSX and their development tools were both engineered to make the transition to 64 bit trivial for developers. In many cases it required no more than a recompile. (From a development perspective that is insanely simple.) Developers instantly benefitted with apps that even without further optimisations, would run faster on the new 64-bit A series chips.

    And now there is Swift and Metal, which take hardware utilisation even further.
  • Reply 7 of 134
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member

    GeekBench is not useful for benchmarking for a few reasons:

     

    • It relies on some specific code snippets which are optimised differently for different platforms.

    • It's strictly about general purpose processing, e.g. many of the real world speed gains come from platform-specific extensions

    • It does not measure sustained performance, A8 in benchmarking is no faster than long-term A8 use. While speed/power requirements force other chipsets to throttle as much as 30-50% of their performance.

     

    If you're looking for real world benchmarks you should look at the amalgamated result: There are now many benchmarks which show the latest devices with the same apps, taking each through an ASAP testing routine. From there you can see load time and operation times in real world scenarios.

     

    This is how you can truly evaluate the end performance, not tiny slithers of Mandelbrot/FFT/GEMM code. If those are all that mattered, we'd all design chips that did those at high speed.

  • Reply 8 of 134
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post



    I've said it before and I'll say it again.



    Apple is so far ahead of everyone it's actually embarrassing.



    Even the Denver K1, which Nvidia hyped to no end, is still behind the Apple A7 from one year ago. PATHETIC.

    Yeah, I don't know if I'd characterize the competition as pathetic, but would say that Apple is freaking amazing in hardware.

  • Reply 9 of 134
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ECats View Post



    iOS and OSX and their development tools were both engineered to make the transition to 64 bit trivial for developers. In many cases it required no more than a recompile. (From a development perspective that is insanely simple.) 

     

    Except Android apps, most of which are written in Java, won't require  developer changes at all. (Dalvik is a JIT, and ART compiles on install). No different from Desktop Java.

  • Reply 10 of 134
    konqerror wrote: »
    Except Android apps, most of which are written in Java, won't require  developer changes at all. (Dalvik is a JIT, and ART compiles on install). No different from Desktop Java.
    That's not entirely true.

    JavaApps will run fine on a 64bit VM just like 32bit iOS Apps run fine on a 64bit processor.

    But those Java Apps won't be taking full advantage of 64bit processors. In order to do that you'll need to write Android Apps with the NDK, not Java.
  • Reply 11 of 134
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post



    I've said it before and I'll say it again.



    Apple is so far ahead of everyone it's actually embarrassing.



    Even the Denver K1, which Nvidia hyped to no end, is still behind the Apple A7 from one year ago. PATHETIC.

     

    This is why Android Apologists don't quote specs any more.

    At least not when comparing Android devices to Apple devices.

    Because if they say something like "Your wife will love the Tegra 2 dual-core chipset," 

    all we have to say is "How's that 64-bit project going?  Oh yeah?  Well good luck with that.  (big slow eye roll)"

  • Reply 12 of 134
    Apple's lead is superb.

    But it's the iPad and Swift that are really exciting areas; phones are old hat.

    Imagine if you could buy a laptop like a 13" MacBook Air running OS X like today. You lift off the screen and it becomes an iPad running iOS.
  • Reply 13 of 134
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,056member

    Sounds like the sort of hybrid that Windows users have been largely rejecting for a few years now.

  • Reply 14 of 134
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

     

     

    Except Android apps, most of which are written in Java, won't require  developer changes at all. (Dalvik is a JIT, and ART compiles on install). No different from Desktop Java.




    Too bad Java is crap.

     

    It also happens to be Oracle's crap, and Google stole it. Can't wait to see how that turns out in the courts.

  • Reply 15 of 134
    Guys, after these 64-bit Qualcomm and nVidia chips start shipping, the Android kernel is still going to be 32-bit. That basically means the advantage of these things is zero. I am not aware of a beta or preview build of Android *anywhere* that is going to be able to make use of these new chips. Before any of the Dalvik/Java apps for Android can run in 64-bit, Google is going to have to build Android for 64-bit. Yes, the Linux kernel has been 64-bit for a long time now, but that doesn't mean its going to be a trivial process to get Android there. Intel has been making Android run on their x86 chips for a couple of years now, and we all know that x86 has been 64-bit for quite a while. Well just this past October, Google finally released a *preview* 64-bit version of Android for that platform:
    http://www.extremetech.com/computing/191744-android-l-64-bit-preview-finally-released-but-only-for-x86-wheres-armv8-google

    So I think the competition might have to hold their breath until they turn blue...
  • Reply 16 of 134

    Exacerbate.

  • Reply 17 of 134

    The fact that Apple designs its own processors is pretty much ignored by Wall Street.  Apple gets no premium value for that capability although maybe it's because Apple doesn't sell those processors to other companies.  Apple is basically seen as a smartphone company by Wall Street and that's about it.  Being able to design its own processors would seem to be a fairly big advantage over other smartphone companies.  Apple has had its own 64-bit processor for quite a while and yet rivals have not caught up.  Still there are always the criticisms that Apple's iPhone is far behind the rest of the smartphone industry due to having lesser specs than most of its rivals.  It was true that the iPhone was behind in display size for (two years?) but made up for it almost immediately.  Same with LTE.  It took some time for Apple to wait for lower-power LTE chips while many Android smartphones had LTE almost immediately.  I'm always thinking Apple deliberately takes its time and thinks everything through before adapting it.  That's probably the best way to do things, but the company will be criticized for being slower than some rival companies.

  • Reply 18 of 134
    lkrupp wrote: »
    But, but, but... octocore beats A8, right?

    But but but...
    1. Android is already 64-bit
    2. 64-bit doesn't matter
    3. Most iOS apps are 32-bit
    4. The A7/A8 is made by Samsung so that counts, right?
    5. only 1GB of RAM
  • Reply 19 of 134
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,746member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post





    Qualcomm was caught off guard last year when Apple unexpectedly released its 64-bit A7; the firm has subsequently scrambled to deliver a lineup of its own 64-bit Application Processors. Samsung also raced to assure investors that it too would deliver a 64-bit chip, after promising in September 2013 that its next flagship would be 64-bit. Next spring Samsung is expected to finally begin to catch up to 2013's 64-bit A7-powered iPhone 5s with the Galaxy S6

     



    But... but... the pr!cks that are the bedwetting Fandroids constantly reminded us why 64-bit chips were just a gimmick, that it was not necessary unless it had at least 4GB of RAM!  They know everything!  So why is the market RACING to 64-bit if it is just nonsense?



    *cue the silent fandroids scurrying to the back of the room, once again being called out for being clueless a$$holes.

  • Reply 20 of 134
    I'm glad to see others touching on how the Android platform is not even close to taking advantage of 64-bit processing.
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