Samsung tempers expectations for a 64-bit Android answer to Apple's A7

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2014
Samsung sought to assuage its investors' concerns about increasingly intense competition with Apple and the cooling market for premium Android smartphones, outlining a specs race that described a future with 64-bit Exynos chips, super high resolution mobile displays and a new focus on software.

However, delivery of the most anticipated advance, a 64-bit mobile Application Processor, was pushed out indefinitely into the future at the company's "Analyst Day" event, offering scant hope for an Android answer to Apple's A7 anytime soon.

Samsung rev

Samsung growing to battle new competitors

The company's all day investor conference began Wednesday with an introduction by Sang-hoon Lee, Samsung's president and chief financial officer, who outlined 2013's estimated revenues of $211 billion U.S., with profits of $35 billion.

For the first half of the year, Samsung said 11 percent of its revenues came from Korea, 28 percent from America, 23 percent from Europe and 18 percent from China, with a remaining 20 percent from all other regions (as presented in the bizarrely ratio-inaccurate pie chart above).

Capital expenditures for the year were estimated to reach $22 billion, versus Apple's reported $7 billion in capex (less than the $10 billion Apple planned to spend in 2013).

The company said its investments were shifting from building up manufacturing capacity toward the development of new markets and technology, while Apple has reported the reverse: that much of its capital investments are directed to infrastructure, particularly manufacturing capacity.

Samsung also outlined "key strategic shifts" from hardware sales to a software focus, and from a components business to shipments of more finished devices. Again, Apple has had a strong software focus since the early 1980s, with AppleWorks, Lisa Office and the Macintosh, and has continued a strong focus on iOS and OS X bundled apps, Pro Apps, iWork and iLife, and its other App Store titles.

Samsung's new strategies increasingly put the company in more direct competition with not only Apple, but also Samsung's other component customers as well as Google and Microsoft, the companies that currently supply Samsung's mobile, netbook and PC software platforms.

While not directly addressed during its investor event, Samsung's latest build of Tizen (below), the Linux-based mobile platform salvaged from the ashes of MeeGo (itself the merger of the abandoned efforts of Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo), appears designed to serve as a drop in replacement for Google's Android or Microsoft's Windows Phone while coincidentally stumbling upon interface elements more than a little reminiscent of Apple's new iOS 7.

Samsung Tizen 2.2

Samsung IT & Mobile

JK Shin, Samsung's president and chief executive of IT & Mobile (the business segment of Samsung Electronics that compares closely with Apple), outlined his outlook for the smartphone and tablet markets, promising that the company would "play a key role in the premium smartphone market."



He stated that from Samsung's perspective, the premium market will continue to outgrow market forecasts (above), an apparent reversal of the company's warnings from the beginning of the year about increasing competition in the plateauing market for premium Android smartphones.

That also seems to contradict Samsung's sales results throughout the year. The company just stated that in its September quarter, premium smartphone sales "stayed about the same" rather than keeping pace with Apple's growth, which comes entirely from premium smartphones.

Shin also presented some of the first solid numbers of Samsung's premium smartphone sales, noting that total sales of Samsung's Galaxy S and Note products were expected to reach 100 million for 2013, well below Apple's fiscal year sales of 150 million iPhones and only about a third of the number of total "smartphones" Samsung is regularly reported to ship.

Samsung System LSI

Next up, Dr. Namsung Stephen Woo, president of Samsung's System LSI, reviewed the state of the semiconductor industry, noting in particular the slowing overall growth occurring on the premium end of smartphones and tablets.

Citing data from Gartner and Strategy Analytics, Woo depicted mid-range and low-end phones increasing by an estimated 22 percent next year, while premium phones are expected to only increase by 9 percent. In tablets, a similar shift toward growth in the middle and low end were noted, with an inexplicable retraction in high end tablets presented as having occured this year compared to 2012.



Woo next predicted a display trend of ever increasing resolutions and pixel density on mobile screens, ramping from 1080p screens Samsung began fitting into its mobile devices this year to "WQHD" screens next year with a 2K resolution of 2560x1440, nearly as great as a 13 inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

He also predicted that even higher resolution 4K "UHD" 3840x2160 displays would come into the mobile device market by 2015. He didn't specify why mobile devices would immediately need such incredible bit densities, but did note that such resolutions would demand far higher processing power.



Woo next turned to camera sensor trends, predicting a leap from 13 megapixel mobile cameras to 20 megapixels in two years. He also addressed specialized camera software that already exists, from HDR to face detection and image stabilization.

"As you can see in the graph, the resolution number goes up," Woo explained. Shifting to a similar graph showing numbers getting bigger in Application Processors, Woo described three advanced technologies Samsung was working on in chip fabrication: Widcon (wide connection) a high bandwidth memory interface Woo contrasted with the LPDDR3 memory standard; the FinFET process for building advanced 10-14nm silicon, and 64-bit CPU cores for mobile Application Processors.

Short shrift for Samsung's 64-bit answer to A7

Alluding to Apple's custom 64-bit A7 Application Processor (which Samsung is manufacturing), Woo said "many people were thinking 'why do we need 64-bit for mobile devices?' People were asking that question until three months ago, and now I think nobody is asking that question. Now people are asking 'when can we have that? And will software run correctly on time?'"

Woo told his audience, "let me just tell you, we are... we have planned for it, we are marching on schedule. We will offer the first 64-bit AP based on ARM's own core [reference design]. "We are marching ahead with the 64-bit offering, and even though it's a little too early, I think we are at the leader group in terms of 64-bit offerings" -Dr. Stephen Woo, Samsung

"For the second product after that we will offer even more optimized 64-bit based on our own optimization. So we are marching ahead with the 64-bit offering, and even though it's a little too early, I think we are at the leader group in terms of 64-bit offerings."

Unlike the detailed roadmap charts for extremely high resolution mobile displays and rapidly increasing camera sensor pixel density releases over the next two years, Woo did not offer any other details about Samsung's 64-bit AP plans, despite acknowledging that such sensors and cameras necessitated vastly greater processing power.

Woo also offered no comment on how Samsung planned to support existing software on its planned 64-bit offerings, nor even whether such a chip would get custom Android support or use Samsung's own Tizen or some other operating system.

Woo also didn't outline any novel uses of 64-bit computing comparable to the applications Apple launched for the iPhone 5s, which included advanced video game graphics, enhanced audio and video processing apps like Garage Band and iMovie, and Touch ID processing and secure storage. Samsung didn't make any apparent mention of efforts related to fingerprint recognition.



Instead, the only new example of applications that "require higher computing/bandwidth" depicted in Samsung's presentation was "dual camcordering."

Samsung's advanced chip fabrication technology and capabilities are extremely rare among fabs globally, forcing Apple into partnership (for now) with the company to fabricate its advanced A7 design.

However, Samsung's reticence to plot out a confident 64-bit roadmap in detail, despite acknowledging that 64-bit is an important advance for mobile devices, illustrates the vast gulf between being able to fabricate an existing chip and begin able to custom design a new one.
«13456789

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 172
    fandroids:but..but..android is already 64-bit!!!
  • Reply 2 of 172
    "I think we are at the leader group in terms of 64-bit offerings"

    This made me physically laugh out loud. Next thing you know "Samsung leads race to 64bit". Ridiculous!
  • Reply 3 of 172
    adybadyb Posts: 201member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Samsung sought to assuage its investors' concerns about increasingly intense competition with Apple and the cooling market for premium Android smartphones, outlining a specs race that described a future with 64-bit Exynos chips, super high resolution mobile displays.......

     

    One of my colleagues was showing off his new Nexus 5 to some of us yesterday, stating how with it's HD screen & 8 core processor it was much better than our iPhones!!

     

    Specs do matter for some (which is probably why he is on his 3rd phone in 24 months and I am still happily using my iPhone 4S!)

  • Reply 4 of 172
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    "Dual camcording"—some concept is not translating very well here. Does that mean picture-in-picture, or two-camera stereo 3D, or something else?

    Edit: a closer look at the illustration shows picture-in-picture. I think concepts differ between the two languages. Korean can veer off into grandiosity when translated into English.
  • Reply 5 of 172
    doxxicdoxxic Posts: 100member
    I think those high pixel resolutions Samsung is projecting for 2015 don't neccessarily mean high densities. They could also mean larger tablet screens.

    Or if Samsung really thinks pixel densities are going to be that high, Apple may have fooled them about their roadmap by asking when Samsung could produce screens like that.
  • Reply 6 of 172
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AdyB View Post

     

     

    One of my colleagues was showing off his new Nexus 5 to some of us yesterday, stating how with it's HD screen & 8 core processor it was much better than our iPhones!!

     

    Specs do matter for some (which is probably why he is on his 3rd phone in 24 months and I am still happily using my iPhone 4S!)


    Here are a few ways to make him\her look silly.

    ->show him the massive lag his phone still contains even when fully specced out.

    ->ask him to download a few iOS only apps from the play store.

    ->open up a page and ask him to spot the difference(lulz)

  • Reply 7 of 172
    Does anybody get the idiotic race towards even higher pixel density?
    Medical purposes come to mind, but anything else?

    This TUAW article gives a nice description: http://www.tuaw.com/2012/03/01/retina-display-macs-ipads-and-hidpi-doing-the-math/

    And as a side note: should Samsungs 1080p not equal 720p due to the use of pentile screens?
  • Reply 8 of 172
    poksipoksi Posts: 482member

    Market for so-called premium Android phones will freeze, not just cool down next year with arrival of larger screen iPhone. 

  • Reply 9 of 172
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Is this Apple Insider or Samsung insider? Why do we need all these Samsung stories? :no:
  • Reply 10 of 172
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by macspotter View Post



    Does anybody get the idiotic race towards even higher pixel density?

    Medical purposes come to mind, but anything else?

    The race is obviously to present people with gimmicks. Higher pixel density? Who's to know? I mean there was a time when people rose to applaud the 320x480 pixels in the original iPhone, but we all still welcomed the new Retina display with iPhone 4. There's isn't much room for use beyond 330 ppi @ 10 inches, but I guess Android users are happy over the gimmicks they get, so, whatever makes them happy.

  • Reply 11 of 172
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    While not directly addressed during its investor event, Samsung's latest build of Tizen (below), the Linux-based mobile platform salvaged from the ashes of MeeGo (itself the merger of the abandoned efforts of Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo), appears designed to serve as a drop in replacement for Google's Android or Microsoft's Windows Phone while coincidentally stumbling upon interface elements more than a little reminiscent of Apple's new iOS 7 


     

    So DeD head is hinting Apple copied those elements from Samsung then.  They have been on show before anyone saw any aspects of iOS 7.

     

    The Note III doesn't have 64bit architecture and it's no slouch in performance terms.  It's GPU outperforms the 5s according to Anandtech.  But seriously, the performance of all the high end phones is so impressive that arguing which one is a few percent better in specs or performance is willy waving.

  • Reply 12 of 172

    You've repeated the same mistake from your other piece about Samsung, where you compare their QoQ growth (this quarter vs the previous quarter) against Apple's YoY growth (this quarter vs the same quarter a year ago).

     

    According to IDC (http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24418013):

     

    Samsung's YoY growth was 40.5%, Apple's was 25.7% and the smartphone market average was 38.8%.

     

    In the other piece you quote Samsung claiming their QoQ for high end smartphones was flat, which you interpreted as a bad thing (mostly by comparison with Apple's YoY). But they launched their main flagship S4 in one quarter, and then the Note 3 in the next so flat isn't a bad thing. Apple's Quarter's generally show massive rises when they release new phones (actually they release right at the end of a quarter so you get a small bump in that quarter, 8% this year, 3% last year, followed by a big jump the next which also happens to be christmas season) but in the following 2 quarters you generally see a QoQ decline, because many buyers have sync'd their contracts with Apple's release cycle and they know a new version is coming in 6 months or less. (some data on that: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IPhone_sales_per_quarter.svg#Data_and_references).

     

    So, in short YoY and QoQ are different, so don't compare them, and QoQ is highly affected by seasonality, launch windows etc. so be careful even comparing QoQ against other QoQs from the same or different organisations without taking that into account.

  • Reply 13 of 172
    I agree, Too much talk about Samsung. I am looking for Apple news/visions and not only stuff about who sells more phones etc. Sometimes I wonder, do we need these rumor sites in the first place.... Sometimes I do not know.

    Who talks about professional software these days? Is that subject dead, smelling meat? :\
  • Reply 14 of 172
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Is this Apple Insider or Samsung insider? Why do we need all these Samsung stories? image



    That has to be nearly the 20th time you have said that or something similar.  We got your whinge months ago.

  • Reply 15 of 172
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by macspotter View Post



    And as a side note: should Samsungs 1080p not equal 720p due to the use of pentile screens?

     

    No.  All display technologies rely on optical illusions.  It is the quality/effectiveness of the illusion the viewer perceives at a normal viewing distance that matters, not 20x macro photos blown up to show what the individual pixels look like.

  • Reply 16 of 172
    sennensennen Posts: 1,470member

    Samsung can manufacture Apple's 64-bit SOC but can't make their own. Roff.

  • Reply 17 of 172
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

     

     

    So DeD head is hinting Apple copied those elements from Samsung then.  They have been on show before anyone saw any aspects of iOS 7.

     

    The Note III doesn't have 64bit architecture and it's no slouch in performance terms.  It's GPU outperforms the 5s according to Anandtech.  But seriously, the performance of all the high end phones is so impressive that arguing which one is a few percent better in specs or performance is willy waving.


     

    you are missing the point when you say.... "The Note III doesn't have 64bit architecture and it's no slouch in performance terms...." Apple is able to match the speed with just dual core... which means you get very efficient use of battery and the everyday tasks on Note3 are nowhere near iPhone 5s.

     

    Finally it comes down to one point - what is the maximum point which Samsung can go to match iPhone performance? they are already hit by low margins... Samsung has to sell 3-4 times of iPhones to get Apple kind of money. You already know the latest figures of Samsung for high-end phones. they are not growing YOY.

  • Reply 18 of 172
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,991member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Is this Apple Insider or Samsung insider? Why do we need all these Samsung stories? image

     

    Because Apple fans are scared shitless of Samsung. If we really had the confidence in Apple we say we do we would’t need to be reassured by hit pieces from Daniel. The fact of the matter is a lot of us are worried about two things. One, Steve Jobs is no longer at the helm and two, could this turn out to be a repeat of the Windows vs Mac episode. Another deep seated concern is whether market share really means something after all. Being an Apple customer and fan since 1982 I have weathered it all.

     

    The drumbeat for Apple’s doom continues unabated and all the FUD has apparently taken hold in the minds of some fans. That’s why we are seeing articles like this one. It’s all about the insecurities of Apple fandom.

  • Reply 19 of 172
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    cnocbui wrote: »

    That has to be nearly the 20th time you have said that or something similar.  We got your whinge months ago.
    So? I come here to read Apple news. Not cherry picked "festures" or "editorials" about Samsung.
  • Reply 20 of 172
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    However, Samsung's reticence to plot out a confident 64-bit roadmap in detail, despite acknowledging that 64-bit is an important advance for mobile devices, illustrates the vast gulf between being able to fabricate an existing chip and begin able to custom design a new one.

     

    Wait, why should they or anyone else for that matter,do that? To tell all their competitors where they are at in the process? Being a bit ambiguous is exactly what you're supposed to do. This was an investor meeting, not a tech conference. They very likely are scrambling to speed up their initial stretch goal on it, but to base the entire article around the premise of 'well they didn't give me pretty charts and details on it so they have nothing' is pretty silly. 

Sign In or Register to comment.