Samsung flexes component muscle, debuts Exynos 5 'Octa'

Samsung flexes component muscle, debuts Exynos 5 'Octa'

Summary: South Korean giant highlights its ability to continually impact the mobile industry when it unveiled its latest generation of mobile processors based on ARM's big.LITTLE architecture and Youm flexible screens.


LAS VEGAS--Samsung highlighted its strength in manufacturing lies beyond consumer electronics such as smartphones, tablets, and televisions, but also in the "world where magic happens"--in other words, components such as processors, memory and display.

In his keynote speech here Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013, Stephen Woo, president of device solutions business at Samsung Electronics, said the company is keen on "mobilizing possibilities" for today's digitally-inclined consumers. To meet their needs, the company is going beyond delivering innovative mobile devices and into enhancing its component-level manufacturing, he said.

This was particularly true for the processors the South Korean giant is manufacturing. Woo highlighted its dual-core Exynos 5 processor, or 5250, was included in its Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet as well as Google's Chromebooks in 2012, and helped make functions such as full high-definition (HD) playback more vivid. The dual-core Exynos 5 chip uses ARM's Cortex-A15 architecture with an onboard ARM Mali T604 quad-core graphics processing unit (GPU).

To illustrate Samsung's continuing innovation in this space, the president today announced its Exynos 5 "Octa" processor, which relies on ARM's big.LITTLE architecture. This means there are four cores of ARM Cortex-A15 processors to cope with graphic-heavy processing, and another four cores of Cortex-A7 processors to handle the basic computing activities, he explained.

For consumers, this would mean if they are looking for a place to go for dinner for example, they would be able to search for a place, download the app and make a reservation. At the same time, they would be able to pull up the location of the restaurant while streaming a high-definition video in the background, he said.

The Exynos 5 Octa is targeted at high-end smartphones and tablets, and the architecture also promises energy savings and longer battery life to go with the better multitasking and heavy-duty processing, the executive added.

"We have leaped from 90-nanometer (nm) to 28nm manufacturing in five generations, and we are looking to go even lower to 20nm, 14nm and even 10nm in the future," Woo promised.

Flexible displays offer new opportunities
The president also pointed to  breakthroughs in display technology to produce flexible screen prototypes, which were showcased during the keynote.

Brian Berkeley, senior vice president of Samsung Display in San Jose, who presented in the same keynote, said the company's Youm brand of flexible OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen display will open up new opportunities to phonemakers and app developers as consumers change the way they interact with their phones.

Credit: James Martin/CNET

One example of this is a prototype phone with a rounded screen that offers display real estate along the side of the phone. Phone manufacturers can make use of this additional space to run e-mail or SMS alerts, so users need not open up their phone covers to check on incoming messages, he explained.

Similarly, developers can also work on integrating the additional space into their software to increase interaction and engagement with users, Berkeley added.

As for memory innovations, Woo said the company's proprietary flash memory technology will position it to capitalize on datacenter operators' needs to maximize their compute resources while reducing the need for more power and real estate.

Kevin Kwang of ZDNet Asia reported from the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas, United States.


Topics: CES, Emerging Tech, Mobility, Processors, Samsung, ARM

Kevin Kwang

About Kevin Kwang

A Singapore-based freelance IT writer, Kevin made the move from custom publishing focusing on travel and lifestyle to the ever-changing, jargon-filled world of IT and biz tech reporting, and considered this somewhat a leap of faith. Since then, he has covered a myriad of beats including security, mobile communications, and cloud computing.

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  • This is why Samsung is the the technology giant it is.

    Samsung has the R&D, resources, and money to be able to produce the electronic components that it does. No other company can touch Samsung in this area: not Qualcomm, not Intel, etc. It's not that they make bad components, because Intel and Qualcomm are excellent, but Samsung is on a league of its own.

    Hopefully Apple takes notice and continues using Samsung processors for it's devices. Any other manufacturer would be a step down, in my opinion.
    Flor Bogs
    • not a big matter

      big little architecture is arm's architecture but is nothing to do with samsung...
      Soon others will introduce........
    • Technology Giant

      Unlike Qualcomm, it is not founded on subsidies.
      Intel used to be good, but managing a monopoly is not easy.

      There are other processor sets than ARM. Take a close look at what the Chinese are making e.g. the new i9700.
    • Drinking the Kool-Aid

      It's your opinion...because you have no idea what you're talking about. Yes, Samsung is the market leader in display and flash memory. But Samsung is *NOT* the market leader in application processors or process technology.

      In terms of process technology...Intel has a estimated two year lead over Samsung in process technology. Their chips will be significantly less power-hungry than the Samsung "Octa". Further, TSMC's process technology is also ahead of Samsung's. TSMC's newly introduced node, 28HPM, should provide a better performance than Samsung's 28LPH.

      In terms of processors, let's wait & see some benchmarks before stating nonsensically that Samsung's "Octo" is in a league of its own.

      Lastly, Apple now designs their own AX processors. Based on what they produced so far, I'd say Apple's chip designers are quite talented. So my need to *DO SOME RESEARCH* before you start mindlessly type away again.
      Cycad Lee
      • Re: Intel has a estimated two year lead over Samsung in process technology.

        Yet Intel cannot manage eight cores, Samsung can.
        • Re: Intel has a estimated two year lead over Samsung in process technology.

          That's ridiculous...Intel demoed a 32 core, Quad-Hyperthreading chip back in 2010! You obviously have *NO IDEA* and *NO CLUE* what you're even talking about. some research before talking non-sense!

          More cores on mobile simply equals more power drain. Do you really need a octa-core to read your e-mail, make a call, or surf the web?!
          Cycad Lee
          • Re: Intel demoed

            That's it? Only "demoed"?
          • Correct!

            Because if there is no market for it, there is no reason to produce it.
            Stop, and just go back to your village. They miss you.
    • Apple does not use Samsung's processors; they only use the company as ...

      ... subcontractor to produce Apple's own processors. And now they partially moving to other subcontractors in this.

      As to "flexible display", it should be noted that actual screen/phone is not going to be flexible. The display is curved/flexed, but the device is not flexible. And, before that, OLED's issues such as high power consumption in displaying lighter colours, poor longevity, and inaccurate colours are not going away.
    • Apple designs its own processors then contracts a Fab

      to turn them out.
  • Hats off to samsung and especially ARM

    This is one of the best news that I have heard in 2013 at least in terms of technology. Samsung definitely gets the credit 4 being the first one to use the Big.little architecture. Well at the moment having read the white paper, it looks pretty much flawless to me fact just like an ideal processor.

    But the question that worries me is that do we need an 8 core processor for something like a mobile phone/ phablet ? I mean, I have used pretty much all the latest Samsung and apple devices, and according to me they seem to work almost flawlessly. One thing that I was looking for was a RAM improvement, and I believe 2 GB RAM recently introduced by a few devices is sufficient along with a decent 1.2 Gig quad (even dual) core processor/ GPU is sufficient to run almost any Game/ App/ 1080p Blu Ray Movie and supports a good multitasking as well. I believe there is lapse in understanding about the requirements of what the users actually need from their phone/ unit. More than 75% of the users who end up buying don't actually need that much processing speed/ power et al. I think the companies know this fact very well, but the competition is making them work harder and just constantly produce better output.

    What I personally like about this is amazing chip is the low power consumption and two separate processor system. As an embedded engineer, high power consumption is always a night mare. And the combination of A15 and A7 in the same chip makes it more versatile and improves the functionality, priority based events and thus the speed of the processing unit even further. I am looking forward to see this chip in S4.

    And this line especially shows whats next in store for the embedded market :)
    "We have leaped from 90-nanometer (nm) to 28nm manufacturing in five generations, and we are looking to go even lower to 20nm, 14nm and even 10nm in the future," Woo promised.
    Vishal Ranbhan
    • Bingo

      The innovation/tech race has turned to more power, and shot past the need for 95% of smartphone users. Unless we come up some state of the art AI processing system that needs that much, the market is currently sated in terms of processing power.

      Right now the race should be on efficiency and low power.

      Smartphones have essentially replaced digital cameras for most people, and are closing in on the digital video recorder market.
  • Samsung flexes component muscle, debuts Exynos 5 'Octa'

    china/far east, israel/middle east, europe, usa/america, china/far east full circle ,,, the long march of civilization as we know it. next stop? israel/middle east?
  • Even Intel Cannot Manage 8 Cores

    This just shows how stagnant the PC market has become, and how much innovation has moved to the mobile market. How many cores can Windows Phone manage? Did you know Windows Phone can't handle big.LITTLE, so the extra core in the 4+1 setup has to be disabled?

    Only Android, with its Linux foundation, can run seamlessly on anything from 1 core up to 2, 4, 8 and beyond, homogeneous or heterogenous, whatever future technology developments may bring, the day it ships.