Today Samsung announced the Galaxy S III which features their own Exynos 4 Quad processor. According to some leaked benchmark scores, it should offer the fastest graphics performance, topping NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4.
However, most US consumers will likely not see this quad-core beast inside their carrier version of the Galaxy S III. Samsung stated in their press release that “specifications may differ on the LTE version” and we are expecting that means they will feature a different processor.
We expect that AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon will all offer the LTE version of the device, while T-Mobile will go with a HSPA+ version. That means that only T-Mobile is likely to get the quad-core version that will be similar to the international version.
The rest of the Galaxy S III models with LTE will likely feature the dual-core Snapdragon S4, if previous rumors turn out to be true. This chip might not have as fast of a GPU as the Exynos 4 Quad, but it should still be very competitive in normal usage and battery life.
One smaller possibility is that Samsung might surprise US customers and go with their newer Exynos 5 Dual processor, the first chip to use ARM’s Cortex-A15 CPU core and Mali-T604 GPU. This chip was said to go into mass production in Q2, and it should be ready for the summer release of the Galaxy S III in the US.
Based on what we saw with the HTC One X, it really shouldn’t matter for now. Their flagship device had different processors for different regions, but we found that you couldn’t tell a difference in normal usage. However, that could change in the future as more developers take advantage of quad-core processors and upgrade their apps to be multi-threaded.
Either way, the Galaxy S III on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon will likely be “dual-core” and not “quad-core.”
Here’s a surprising late night treat. Samsung Electronics just introduced the 1.4 GHz Exynos 4 Quad (Exynos 4412, quad-core A9) and said it is “scheduled to be first-adopted into Samsung’s next Galaxy smartphone that will officially be announced in May.”
Rumors and speculation had suggested that Samsung would use the quad-core Exynos 4412 in the Galaxy S III, but we were not expecting them to reveal the final specs until the Unpacked event on May 3rd.
“The quad-core processor offers phenomenal multitasking abilities surpassing any single or dual application processor,” Said Taehoon Kim, VP of Samsung LSI marketing. “Given the diverse functionalities consumers are demanding from their mobile devices today, the Exynos 4 Quad meets those high-performance needs while keeping power consumption very low.”
Samsung’s Exynos 4412 is built on their new 32nm High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) low-power process technology, which promises two-times the processing capability over the 45nm process based Exynos 4 Dual while consuming 20-percent less power.
The new Exynos 4 Quad will use the same Mali-400 GPU found in the Exynos 4 Dual, but Samsung has increased the clock speeds from 266 MHz to over 400 MHz. Recent leaked benchmark scores show that the Exynos 4 Quad should offer the fastest graphics performance, besting NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4.
All of this sounds awesome, but we still don’t know the final specs for the US version of the Galaxy S III. Some rumors have suggested that Samsung could still use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 since it features an integrated LTE modem. The Exynos 4 Quad does not feature an integrated modem, but Samsung has already produced modems that work with LTE networks (like the modem found in the Verizon Galaxy Nexus).
We had been hoping that Samsung might shock the mobile industry and go with their even newer Exynos 5250 processor. It features dual-core A15 CPU cores instead of quad-core A9, which should give it twice the processing power, but it appears that Samsung will save that for their next smartphone.
Samsung could have also felt the pressure from NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 and decided they needed to match the number of cores to keep up in the marketing battle.
Overall, this is still an exciting announcement. Samsung’s next Galaxy should easily become the fastest Android phone when it is released and it could have the longest battery life depending on the capacity of the battery that they stuff in there.
Curious how the Galaxy S III will match up with the competition when finally goes on sale this summer? Of course you are.
Early this morning some GPU benchmarks were leaked for a device with the model number GT-i9300, which many have speculated is the Galaxy S III. The numbers looked impressive, but we went ahead and matched it up with some of the newest platforms to see how they stacked up.
Daniel P. of PhoneArena first spotted the GT-i9300 benchmarks, which were run with the popular GLBenchmark. We like the GLBenchmark app because it can run tests offscreen at the same resolution, which helps us compare devices with different screen sizes.
If you want to see how your device measures up, you can grab this benchmark from the Google Play Store with the link provided below. (The latest version of GLBenchmark is 2.1.4, but you might see 2.1.1 below until the cache updates.)
For this quick performance preview, we selected five devices. We grabbed a pair of HTC Ones with the latest Tegra 3 and Snapdragon S4 platforms, along with a pair of previous generation Galaxy devices that featured Snapdragon S3 and OMAP4. Details on the chip names, CPU type, and GPU type are detailed below.
Please keep in mind this is only one benchmark suite and we are comparing numbers from a leaked device that doesn’t have final software, but the supposed Samsung Galaxy S III easily comes out on top.
We have a full performance preview of Tegra 3 and Snapdragon S4 planned for next week, so we won’t be discussing their results just quite yet.
Over the past couple of weeks we have been debating if the next Galaxy would feature the quad-core Exynos 4412 or the newer generation dual-core Exynos 5250. We were hoping that Samsung might surprise us with the Exynos 5250, but the general consensus among tech bloggers is that Samsung went with the quad-core Exynos 4412.
Some readers were already complaining that the Exynos 4412 featured the older Mali-400 GPU, which is the same GPU found in last year’s Galaxy S II that used the Exynos 4210. However, there are reports that the Mali-400 found in the GT-i9300 will be clocked at least up to 440 MHz, vs the 266 MHz clock speed found in the Galaxy S II.
At worst, the Galaxy S III should easily have the fastest GPU of any Android phone when it is released in the coming months. At best, Samsung could still shock us with the Exynos 5250 (Mali-T604 GPU) and really blow away the competition.
According to Netbook News, Samsung has stopped production of the upcoming Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) tablet to beef up the innards of the device. Previously set for an early-May release with a dual-core processor, Samsung apparently wanted the Tab 2 to better compete with upcoming quad-core tablets. The rumor cites their source a Korean Samsung insider.
If the rumor proves true, the Tab 2 10.1 could be the first tablet to feature Samsung’s quad-core Exynos chipset, hopefully the 32nm Exynos 4412 chip which also features a quad-core GPU. Unfortunately, the inclusion of a quad-core chip would likely impact the pricing of the 10″ slate, which was initially reported to be around $400 for a 16GB storage model. The move could also push back the early-May release date for the Tab 2, unless Samsung is somehow able to ramp up production quickly.
We certainly like the idea of a quad-core Galaxy Tab making its way to the US in the next few months, and will be watching the developments closely. Of course, today’s report is just a rumor, and production of the less-beefy Tab 2 could still be in full force.
What do you think? Do you want to see a quad-core 10″ Galaxy Tab? Would that entice you to buy a Galaxy Tab over the upcoming Google/ASUS tablet or Transformer Prime?
Today Meizu announced that their MX Quad-core phone was coming to Mainland China and Hong Kong in June. We normally don’t cover too many Asia-only phones, but Meizu is boasting that this device is the first smartphone in the world to use Samsung’s brand new quad-core Exynos 4412 processor.
We find this detail rather interesting because multiple rumors have suggested that Samsung would use the same quad-core Exynos 4412 in their Galaxy S III phone. What are the odds that Samsung would let Meizu use this quad-core Exynos, if it were to also be featured in Samsung’s upcoming flagship device?
Another option for Samsung, that is looking more likely by the day, is the inclusion of their latest dual-core Exynos 5250, based on the newer ARM Cortex-A15 CPU core and using the faster Mali-T604 GPU. We already covered this part in depth last month, where we discovered that Samsung has two versions available. There is a higher-clocked 2 GHz model for tablets, and a more power efficient 1.7 GHz model for smartphones.
In a previous rumor report we said the chances of Samsung going with the newer Exynos 5250 in the Galaxy S III were about 50%, but with all the recent news I’d bump that up to about 90%. Samsung started sampling the Exynos 5250 last year, showed off prototype devices at CES in January, and said it would hit volume production in Q2.
We also now know that Samsung’s 32nm High-K Metal Gate (HK/MG) low-power process technology, that the Exynos 5250 is made with, is mature since the refreshed iPad 2 and Apple TV 3 are already using it.
Samsung will finally unveil the next Galaxy phone in London only 17 days from now, so we won’t have to wait much longer. As things stand today, it appears Samsung will have the first smartphone in the world to use ARM’s Cortex-A15 CPU core, which is pretty damn cool if you are a processor nerd like me.
Very simply, this is a big deal because we only see a new mobile CPU architecture released every 2-3 years. ARM has described the next-generation A15 by saying, “It’s like taking a desktop and putting it in your pocket.”
The average consumer doesn’t care what processor is inside their phone, so it will be interesting to see what kinds of new experiences this raw horsepower can deliver.
This device has become so hyped that it is almost impossible to keep up with all the supposed leaks and rumors. We have already seen reports that the Galaxy S III would launch in April, then May, and now the latest speculation is June.
Whenever it is time to finally announce the device, Samsung has said it will happen at a separate Samsung-hosted event and not at a trade show like CTIA Wireless. A Samsung representative previously said that the successor to the Galaxy S II would be unveiled “closer to commercial availability of the product” so we could still be waiting for several months.
Galaxy S III render.
Rumored specs of the Galaxy S III include:
Android 4.x Ice Cream Sandwich
4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED Plus display
Quad-core 1.5-1.8 GHz Exynos 4412 processor
12 MP rear camera, HD front camera
Only 7 millimeters thick
Most recently, the Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin tweeted that the Galaxy S III design was finalized and headed to production. He also said that pre-orders from retail partners were an all time high, which matches earlier rumors. The accuracy of Eldar’s reports have been all over the place, but he been correct on many occasions and I’ll let you judge this latest rumor.
SGS3 finalized and go to production. Preorders from operators/retailers are really highest for all Galaxy line history (finally – ceramic)
At this point all we can do is sit here and speculate. If Samsung really is going to announce and launch this device in the summer, then we have to wait a couple more months before we receive any official information.
So far I would say their strategy is working. The bloggers and early adopters continue to talk about the successor to the Galaxy S II with an increasing excitement about the unknown. HTC is likely to win over some customers with their One series, but a lot of customers will also be waiting to see what Samsung has in store.
If you are in the market for a new Android smartphone, have any of the recent devices caught your eye or are you holding out for Samsung’s next flagship?
If you are an avid reader of our site (or processor nerd like me) this might not come as much of a surprise, but Samsung has finally demoed their quad-core Exynos 4412 processor in public. This upcoming chip was first spotted last November and we were unsure if it would ever see the light of day, but Samsung LSI was previewing it at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference this week.
Samsung’s latest mobile application processors are being built with their 32nm High-K Metal Gate (HK/MG) low-power process in their Austin fab.
Upcoming Exynos parts include:
Exynos 4212: 32 nm, 1.2-1.5 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, ARM Mali-400 GPU
Exynos 4412: 32 nm, 1.5-1.8 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, ARM Mali-400 GPU
Exynos 5250: 32 nm, 2.0 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, ARM Mali-T604 GPU
Exynos 5450: 32/28 nm, 2.0 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, ARM Mali-T658 GPU
We originally thought the 1.5 GHz dual-core Exynos 4212 might appear in the Galaxy Nexus, but Google and Samsung went with the Texas Instruments OMAP4460 instead. Recently we have also speculated that the quad-core Exynos 4412 could be used in the Galaxy S III, but that is still up in the air.
Recently got we got chance to see the Exynos 5250 in action at CES, on a tablet running Android 4.0. Again I speculated that this part could be used in the rumored Galaxy Tab 11.6, and we are still waiting to see what happens.
The latest addition to the Exynos family that we have not talked much about is the quad-core Exynos 5450. Daniel P. of PhoneArena reported this upcoming part will feature the latest ARM Mali-T658 GPU, but we know nothing of its availability.
Samsung already said they would be implementing ARM’s big.Little setup in an Exynos processor this year, but we don’t know which model that will be. I know for a fact it is not Exynos 5250, so it’s possible that it could be Exynos 5450. If that happens, then I wouldn’t expect the Exynos 5450 in product until early 2013.
Hopefully we will learn more about Samsung’s roadmap at Mobile World Congress next week. I know everyone is all excited about quad-core, but I’m hoping we see the dual-core Exynos 5250 inside the next Galaxy S III and Galaxy Tab 11.6.
As Texas Instruments pointed out, Cortex-A15 is a huge improvement over Cortex-A9. We might not see TI’s OMAP5 in devices until early 2013, but Samsung has said that their Exynos 5250 will go into mass production next quarter. That would be perfect timing for it to appear this summer in Samsung’s flagship devices.
Mobile World Congress is less than a month away in Barcelona and the anticipation is quickly building for the gadgets that will be announced. We expect to see all kinds of Android devices from tablets to TVs, but the star of the show will be smartphones. And at this year’s show a particular kind of smartphone will take center stage: the quad-core-powered-beast.
Why do you need quad-core performance in a phone? Some people will say that mobile applications aren’t ready to take advantage of all that horsepower, and for the most part they are right. In our recent interview with NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang he explained the situation by saying, “It’s a little bit of the chicken and the egg. If the applications aren’t ready, you have to build a processor that inspires the applications to be ready.”
NVIDIA has already delivered their quad-core Tegra 3 processor to the OEMS and it must have inspired them to build some awesome devices because the number or rumored phones is starting to add up. Read on for the full list of quad-core phones that we should see at Mobile World Congress.
HTC Edge (aka Supreme aka Endeavor)
I still can’t believe I’m typing this, but HTC is rumored to power their 2012 flagship phone with a chip from NVIDIA, instead of Qualcomm. This comes as a shock for many since almost all of HTC’s recent phones have been powered by the Snapdragon processor, and Qualcomm has a minority investment in HTC.
This move was first hinted at last year when Stefan Streit, HTC’s VP of Marekting, said there was no exclusive deal with Qualcomm and “Nvidia or TI-powered smartphones and tablets are possible in the future.” Then rumors of the Tegra 3-powered HTC Edge started appearing in November, and it appears the phone is quite real.
Rumored specs of the HTC Edge include:
Quad-core 1.5 GHz Tegra 3 processor
Android 4.0 with Sense UI 4.0
4.7-inch display with 720p resolution
1 GB RAM
Backlit 8 MP camera with 28-millimeter, f/2.2 lens
32 GB internal storage
HSPA+ 21 Mbps support
Slightly over 10 mm thick
The high-end specs are nice, but I hope HTC has some surprises up their sleeves to show off what this hardware can do. Based on recent leaks, it appears that HTC’s Sense 4.0 UI really hides the beauty of Android 4.0, but we haven’t really seen everything it can do. Given HTC’s good reputation with the developer community, the Edge has a chance to become the most popular Tegra 3 phone.
Fujitsu Arrows Tegra 3
Fujitsu also surprised a lot of folks at CES when they were the first company to showcase a Tegra 3 phone. Their prototype Arrows phone was kept under the glass, but they had a working unit that was running the game Riptide GP on the big screen. Fujitsu has traditionally targeted the Japanese market with most of their handsets landing on NTT Docomo, but a company representative told me they plan to enter the U.S. market this year.
Highlights of the device include:
Quad-core 1.2GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor
4.6″ 1280 X 720 TFT-LCD
13.1-megapixel camera capable of ISO 25,600 sensitivity
1 GB RAM (prototype had 4 GB RAM)
Waterproof and dustproof
Look for Fujitsu to unveil a slightly redesigned Arrows smartphone at MWC. We expect they could ditch the hardware buttons and go with software buttons we have seen on other Android 4.0 phones.
LG was the first company with a Tegra 2 phone, so we expected them to deliver another device based on the latest Tegra offering. Earlier this month, Evan Blass of PocketNow posted the first report of the LG X3, which he said is likely to debut at MWC.
Highlights of the device include:
Quad-core Tegra processor
4.7-inch 1280×720 display
8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
16GB of expandable storage
Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, WiFi 802.11b/g/n
HSPA+ 21 Mbps support
Under 9mm thin
Everyone else is showing their Tegra 3 phone next month, so we expect LG to join the party.
Huawei Diamond Series
Huawei impressed us at CES with their Ascend P1 LTE phone, but the company says they have a new Diamond Series coming at MWC that will be their “smartest, fastest and most high-performing smartphone.” The Ascend P1 LTE was using the new dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4, so we expect the Diamond Series could feature Tegra 3. Not much else is known about the Diamond Series, so hopefully we learn more at MWC.
ASUS quad-core phone?
Asus has announced they will unveil a newly redesigned Padfone at Mobile World Congress. Protoype units show at CES were running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 processor, but there have been conflicting reports that the final design could feature Tegra 3 instead. Asus produced the first quad-core tablet with their Transformer Prime, so it’s possible they could use the same processor in this flagship phone.
The Padfone is sure to impress with its innovative tablet dock that brings the smartphone’s content to a larger display. The tablet dock is also said to work with the ASUS keyboard docking station from their Transformer tablets, so this could be one of the most interesting products we see at MWC.
Samsung, Motorola, and Meizu
In addition to all the leaked quad-core phones, we might see a few surprises. Samsung will not be showing their Galaxy S III phone at MWC, but they will be showing several exciting new mobile products that could include some quad-core devices. These products could be powered by Samsung’s own quad-core Exynos 4412 processor or Samsung could use NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 again (like they did with the Galaxy Tab 10.1).
Motorola appears to be firmly aligned with Texas Instruments processors, but they have a history of dual-sourcing their parts. We saw Motorola use Tegra 2 for their Xoom tablet and Atrix smartphone, so it’s always possible they could surprise us with a Tegra 3 device. My gut tells me they will debut a couple products powered by the new dual-core 1.8 GHz OMAP4470, but anything is possible.
Finally, we could see a special appearance by the Meizu MX quad-core phone. Their dual-core model was powered by the Exynos 4210 and their quad-core model is rumored to use the Exynos 4412, but that chip is not official yet so anything is game.
And the competition?
NVIDIA will steal the show at Mobile World Congress when it comes to mobile quad-core processors, but they won’t be the only game in town. Qualcomm will make a strong showing with their dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4, Texas Instruments will impress with their dual-core 1.8 GHz OMAP4470, and Samsung could reveal their dual-core 2.0 GHz Exynos 5250.
Even though Qualcomm, TI, and Samsung may have chips that offer faster performance, it looks like the average consumer already assumes that quad-core is better than dual-core. I believe most of these chips will offer performance numbers in the same ball park, and the average consumer doesn’t care who wins the different benchmark scores. It will come down to which OEM can best take advantage of the hardware they choose and who can deliver new user experiences that will excite the customer.
My prediction? With Samsung holding their Galaxy S III for a separate event later in the year, HTC comes away with the best smartphone of MWC 2012.
Earlier today, Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin started tweeting that he had received a Samsung Galaxy S III. We have covered some of Eldar’s rumors before and found he sometimes gets things wrong, but he is spot on other times. For example, Eldar was one of the first to confirm that the Galaxy S II had a dual-core processor back in 2010.
HD resolution, 12 mpx camera, sw tweaks, android 4 – i like my new phone. Eager to see official announcement in Barcelona
This time Eldar is claiming the Galaxy S III will run Android 4.0 with software tweaks (TouchWiz anyone?), be powered by a 1.5-1.6 GHz quad-core processor (likely the Exynos 4412), feature a HD Super AMOLED Plus display and include a 12 MP camera. When it comes to design, Eldar says the SGSIII is the “same in most aspects” to the SGSII.
Overall these specs sound pretty believable and match up almost exactly with what I speculated last year.
One interesting thing to note is that Eldar claims there are two versions of the phone – a quad-core model and a dual-core model. The quad-core model is almost certainly the Exynos 4412 that has previously leaked, and it’s possible the dual-core model could be the next-generation Exynos 5250.
A quad-core 1.5 GHz Exynos 4412 would likely put the Galaxy S III on par with other quad-core phones based on the ARM Cortex-A9 CPU core (like all the upcoming Tegra 3 phones). However, the dual-core 2 GHz Exynos 5250 would offer next-generation performance with its ARM Cortex-A15 CPU core and ARM Mali-T604 GPU core.
I’ve already seen the Exynos 5250 in action at CES, and I’ve speculated that Samsung could use this chip for their flagship Galaxy S III smartphone. The only flaw with that theory is the timing of the release. Most insiders still expect the Galaxy S III will be announced next month at Mobile World Congress and then be released around April (similar to the SGS2 path). Samsung doesn’t expect the Exynos 5250 to be available until the second half of 2012.
Whatever specs Samsung decides to go with, I’m sure it will be one of the best selling phones of 2012. Knowing Samsung’s never-ending battle to compete with Apple’s iPhone, I suspect we will see the quad-core Galaxy S III model sometime in Q2. Hopefully the dual-core 2 GHz model arrives in time for Christmas.
What other features are on your wish-list for the Galaxy S III?
Everything is bigger in Texas. Take for example Samsung’s 1.6 million-square-foot manufacturing complex in Austin. The plant first opened in 1996, but Samsung just finished a $3.6 billion upgrade that added a 300mm automated S2 fab, capable of producing 40,000 wafers per month.
Rumors suggest that Samsung has been producing Apple’s A5 chip at the Austin fab, but earlier this month we learned that they are making other application processors there as well. Richard Yeh, Senior Director of System LSI Marketing, told me the S2 fab was now producing chips on their latest 32nm High-K Metal Gate (HK/MG) low-power process.
Apple’s A5 chip is produced on a 45nm process, but Samsung has several upcoming Exynos processor that will be built with the more efficient 32nm process. Those 32nm models include the already announced Exynos 4212 and 5250, and the rumored 4412.
This month at CES I met with Samsung System LSI, where they had the Exynos 4212 and 5250 on demo.
The move from 45nm to 32nm reduces power consumption.
The Exynos 4212 is an enhanced version of the 4210 found inside most models of the Galaxy S II. It features two Cortex-A9 cores running at 1.5 GHz that offer a 25 percent increase in processing power and an enhanced GPU that promises 50 percent higher graphics performance over the previous generation.
Also on display was the Exynos 5250, Samsung’s first processor to use ARM’s latest Cortex-A15 core. This demo featured a development kit that was hooked up to a HDTV to show off the support for WQXGA 2560×1600 resolution. They also had a Exynos 5250 tablet running Android 4.0.x, but I was politely asked to delete the pictures I snapped.
Exynos 5 could be the first mobile processor with the Cortex-A15 core.
Next to the demo area with the Exynos 4212 and 5250 was a second display closet that was covered with a large black cloth. The blogger in me wanted to peek behind the curtain, but I decided not to get myself in trouble. I asked if Samsung could share any information about the Exynos 4412, but I was told that they are not ready to talk about their quad-core plans quite yet.
I found all this very interesting because many of us have speculated which mobile processor Samsung would use in their flagship Galaxy S III smartphone. If history repeats itself we should see Samsung reveal the highly anticipated device at next month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but nothing is certain.
Samsung is endlessly trying to top the Apple iPhone, so I think we can rule out the dual-core 1.5 GHz Exynos 4212. I see that part as more of a minor bump of the 4210 in the Galaxy S II and doubt it will get used. Most likely we will see Samsung adopt the quad-core 4412, since Apple is also rumored to go quad-core with their upcoming A6 processor.
One not so far off possibility for the Galaxy S III could be the Exynos 5250. This part is slated for the second-half of 2012, but Samsung could leap-frog the competition with the first mobile device to feature the next-generation ARM Cortex-A15 CPU and ARM Mali-T604 GPU. This would require a delay of the Galaxy S III from its normal summer release schedule, but it’s the choice I’d make if I was in charge.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer to find out the mysteries of the Galaxy S III. Mobile World Congress kicks off on February 27th in Barcelona and Samsung has traditionally help their Unpacked events on the day before the big show.
Whatever processor Samsung chooses for the Galaxy S III, it’s still pretty cool to know it could be produced in my home state.