Qualcomm all but confirms Galaxy S23 series to finally ditch Exynos chips everywhere

Qualcomm all but confirms Galaxy S23 series to finally ditch Exynos chips everywhere

For a while we’ve heard rumors that Samsung has discontinued the Exynos chips it uses for its Galaxy flagship phones outside of the US, but now it’s all but confirmed that the The Galaxy S23 family will come with a Snapdragon chip throughout.

Qualcomm CFO Akash Palkhiwala confirmed the news while answering a question on the recent investor call, and here are the executive’s exact words:

This won’t affect flagship Galaxy models in the US as they already use a Snapdragon chip, but it’s great news for people in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world where for years, Galaxy S phone users were equipped with inferior Samsung Exynos processors and poorer camera quality.

Frankly, this slower chip and subpar experience has been one of the biggest scandals in the smartphone industry. The Galaxy S20, S21 and, more recently, the S22 have all suffered from the negative press, which they have – deservedly – gotten for using a slower chip in many countries. In all of these phones, the Exynos versions generally had slower performance, lower battery life, and the quality of photos and videos was also worse.

In our comparison, we found that “Colors are also muted in the Exynos photo, while you get more vibrant and saturated tones from the Snapdragon.”

Samsung however insisted on including this chip. It was made in-house, and the company hoped to be able to compete with the industry-dominating Snapdragon chips, but sadly, it never quite got there. With no other phone makers using an Exynos chip in a flagship, it was a Samsung-exclusive thing, but nothing to brag about.

The only curious Exynos exception

Samsung was forced to kill the Exynos in one country earlier than in others

Interestingly, an exception to Samsung’s Exynos strategy was India. The country is known for its extremely demanding consumers and it seems that Samsung sensed how the use of the Exynos chip in India was hurting its sales more than in other regions. That’s why in 2022, Samsung backtracked and shipped the Galaxy S22 series with a Snapdragon processor to India. Unsurprisingly, the S22 series has been much more successful in India compared to previous models and it is easy to link this decision to the change in fortunes.

For other countries, however, including the UK, Europe and the rest, the Galaxy S22 family has stuck with the Exynos chip.

Also remember that Samsung had a different strategy for its foldable phones. Whether it’s because they’re more expensive and considered more premium, or for other reasons, the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Flip series have launched with Snapdragon chips from the start.

It will be interesting to see if Samsung mentions this change when it launches the Galaxy S23 family, and incidentally the latest Galaxy S23 release date rumor points to a mid-February 2023 release, so we’re only three years away. months away from that.

Along with the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip that is expected to power all three Galaxy S23 models, the vanilla S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra, we expect a new 200MP camera on the Ultra to cause a stir. And with all models now using the Snapdragon processor, you won’t have to worry about whether the picture quality is slightly lower in one country or another, you’ll get the best picture quality everywhere.

Interestingly, the Galaxy S23 Ultra isn’t expected to get a major design overhaul, so it will mostly look like its predecessor, a separate camera housing for each lens, a built-in S Pen and everything else. The only slight change is to the differently curved edges, so the phones will have a flatter edge, making it easier to grip when laid flat on a table.

The other two models, the S23 and the S23 Plus, are expected to get a bigger battery, which most people will appreciate. The Galaxy S23 Ultra, meanwhile, will have the same battery size at 5,000mAh. Hard to complain about, though, a 5,000mAh battery is still a huge size.

Global implications

Samsung’s Exynos wasn’t the fastest, but it was good enough and helped diversify the industry

On the other hand, some analysts mention that the Exynos chip made by Samsung was a good opportunity to branch out from a manufacturing chain dominated by China and Taiwan. With global uncertainty following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and with China’s looming military threat to Taiwan, a possible military conflict could seriously affect chip production globally.

And even though Exynos was never the fastest chip, it was widely considered to be a pretty good chip. No longer being flagships means one less competitor and will also make the industry even more dependent on Taiwan’s TSMC.

How will all of this work in the long term? It’s hard to predict, and there are obviously different points of view if you’re an analyst looking at the big picture. But at least in the short term, the switch to Snapdragon processors looks like a big win for consumers, who are now likely to get their new S23 phone with the best performance possible, regardless of the country in which they buy the phone.

Finally, this also raises the issue of pricing.

Apple has kept the price of its iPhone 14 series unchanged in the United States, but that is not the case for Europe and the rest of the world which have seen huge price increases. Will Samsung’s move to the more powerful and likely slightly more expensive Snapdragon chip result in a similar price hike? It’s way too early to tell, but it’s one more possibility to consider.

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