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Samsung Debuts Galaxy S5 as New Chips Move Smart to Smarter


After its South Korean launch two weeks ago, Samsung launches its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S5, globally this week. On top of this new device, there are some important component announcements for chips and memory that will play important roles in upcoming products.

Latest Samsung Galaxy debut

We already know quite a bit about the new Galaxy S5 from tear-downs because of its pre-release in South Korea (despite slowed sales there due to the ban on domestic mobile carriers selling handsets, as reported by the Wall Street Journal). For one, it is priced lower than the S4, which is a significant statement to the market and affirmation of the strategic necessity of lowering prices.

On the component side, the Galaxy S5 is packed with sensors, Samsung's latest "Exynos 5422 with its 1.6 Ghz 8-core architecture [which] has 4 ARM Cortex A15 cores and 4 ARM Cortex A7 cores." Additionally, in a recent update to the EETimes teardown of the S5, "The all new Broadcom BCM4354 MIMO 5G WiFi 802.11ac / Bluetooth 4.0 / FM Radio Module has been added as the Combo-Radio Design Win of the Samsung Galaxy S5 Teardown. This is the next evolution of the extremely successful Broadcom BCM43xx series of combo-radios."

With a nod to health monitoring, the S5 also has on board "Maxim’s new Heart Rate Biosensor OS21A" as well as a slew of upgraded components:

[including] leading parts from Invensense (MPU-65006-Axis integrated gyroscope and accelerometer), Silicon Image’s Sil8240 MHL 2.0 transmitter with HDMI input, the NXP PN547 NFC controller, and two wins by Intel with the X-Gold 636/PMB-9820 Baseband Processor and Power Management and the SMARTi UE3/PMB 5745 GSM/WCDMA RF transceiver.

How the S5 fares in the market is an important question though, Samsung also recently released lowered earnings for 1Q14 compared year-over-year to 1Q13, but hopes that the S5, with its lower price, will see an increase in volume sales. Samsung is directly aware of the need to target emerging markets and importance of squarely providing for these new market consumers.

New components entering market

On Monday, Bloomberg reported on Qualcomm's announcement of the new Snapdragon 808 and 810 64-bit, integrated processors headed for smartphones in 2015; meanwhile Snapdragon 805 is due to be released in smartphones this year. Importantly, Qualcomm continues to carry the global lead in LTE chips, now with their fourth generation LTE. A critical feature for smart devices globally, especially in lower-priced devices targeting the high-growth emerging market consumers, as we detail in the latest Smith MarketWatch Quarterly (free subscription), due out the end of the month to the general public. Qualcomm's market advantage continues to strengthen with these new releases.

As a separate Bloomberg article importantly notes, rivals to Qualcomm, including "Intel, Broadcom, and Nvidia Corp. are all working on chips that will be capable of LTE and eligible for China Mobile’s subsidy category. None have five-mode-capable products on the market right now."

On a separate note, also on Monday, Hynix announced news on its latest memory module, as reported by ComputerWorld:

[…] the world's first 128GB DDR4 memory module, twice the capacity of the company's current 64GB module.

The new memory module, which is also being touted as the world's highest density module, is based on 8Gbit DDR4 chips created with 20nm process lithography.

The new memory module runs at 2,133Mbps with 64-bit I/O, and processes up to 17GB of data per second. It also runs at ultra low-voltage of 1.2V, compared to 1.35V of existing DDR3 memory modules.

The slow-down for users is the wait until processor boards from Intel and AMD can support these memory modules. The introduction of such boards is expected during 3Q14 for high-end computers, according to ComputerWorld. Importantly, this new module uses Through Silica Via (TSV), a 3D stacking technology for ICs. Analysts are forecasting that it will not be until 2016 that this type of high density, 64GB DDR4 will go into mass production.

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 13:45 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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