Qualcomm confirms Snapdragon 810 dropped from 'large customer's flagship device'

Chipmaker Qualcomm has confirmed that its new flagship chip won't be powering a "large customer's flagship device" that is launching later this year. If rumors are true, then the company in question is smartphone maker Samsung.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Chipmaker Qualcomm has confirmed that its new flagship chip won't be powering a "large customer's flagship device" that is launching later this year.

In its Q1 2015 financial statement, the company lowered its expectation for the second half of the year due to, in part, "expectations that our Snapdragon 810 processor will not be in the upcoming design cycle of a large customer's flagship device."

Qualcomm did not name the customer, but rumor has it that Samsung has chosen not to use the Snapdragon 810 because of thermal issues and will instead use one of its own Exynos processors in the upcoming Galaxy S6 smartphone.

Losing Samsung would be a big blow for Qualcomm, but it will still maintain a high-profile presence in the smartphone sector. It is already confirmed that the Snapdragon 810 will be powering LG's new G Flex 2, and HTC is expected to be using the chip in the upcoming M9 flagship, which is expected to be unveiled next month.

The Snapdragon 810 is the latest in Qualcomm's line of high-powered, and is the first flagship chip from the company to support 64-bit processing, and features enhancements such as wireless 4K streaming, USB 3.0 support, and improved digital zoom technology. It also feature Qualcomm's fourth-generation Cat 6 LTE Advanced multimode modem which brings with it support for the Qualcomm RF360 Front End Solution, and support for 3x20MHz Carrier Aggregation that enables speeds of up to 300 Mbps across the widest range of carriers.

The Qualcomm 810 also features the Adreno 430 GPU which supports the OpenGL ES 3.1 plus hardware tessellation, geometry shaders and programmable blending. This GPU is designed to deliver up to 30 percent faster graphics performance and 100 percent faster GPGPU compute performance, while reducing power consumption by up to 20 percent, as compared to its predecessor.

Other reasons stated by Qualcomm for the lowered outlook is a reduced near-term demand for sales of integrated Snapdragon processors due to a "shift in share among OEMs at the premium tier," along with heightened competition in China.

"China continues to present significant opportunities for us," the filing claims, "particularly with the rollout of 3G/4G LTE multimode, but also presents significant challenges, as our business practices continue to be the subject of an investigation by the China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)."

Samsung currently manufactures a number of Exynos processors, including the 8-core Exynos 7 Octa found is some non-US versions of the Galaxy Note 4. If Samsung is indeed shunning Qualcomm from the Galaxy S6 then this could mean that US customers will be able to get their hands on Exynos-powered hardware.

Some analysts are however skeptical, especially given that Samsung has been using the Exynos less and less, and turning that around would take time.

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