Samsung And AMD Announce Strategic Partnership; Could We See An AMD Powered Samsung S11?

Samsung to integrate custom AMD Radeon graphics IP into future SoCs for mobile applications

AMD and Samsung Electronics today announced a multi-year strategic partnership in ultra-low power, high performance mobile graphics IP based on AMD Radeon graphics technologies. As part of the partnership, Samsung will license AMD graphics IP and will focus on advanced graphics technologies and solutions that are critical for enhancing innovation across mobile applications, including smartphones.

“As we prepare for disruptive changes in technology and discover new opportunities, our partnership with
AMD will allow us to bring ground-breaking graphics products and solutions to market for tomorrow’s
mobile applications. We look forward to working with AMD to accelerate innovations in mobile graphics technologies that will help take future mobile computing to the next level.”

Inyup Kang, president of Samsung Electronics’ S.LSI Business.

It’s well known that Samsung have had the ambition to become a major player in the chip making biz for a while now. While their Exynos chipsets are impressive, it’s safe to say that Qualcomm are the go to supplier of chipsets for smartphones. With their goal being to eventually supply chips not just for their own devices but for other smartphone manufacturers as well, I think they too are all too aware that they need to up their game. And this is where I see AMD stepping in.

The graphics performance of Samsung semiconductors in the past have been lukewarm at best and with the news of this agreement, Samsung has pretty much just licensed arguably the best performing GPU in the industry— the AMD Radeon (Hey I said arguably ok!!). That being said, it remains to be seen if Samsung can actually replicate the high level graphics performance of the Radeon into an Exynos device. But should they manage to,  they would have a real competitive chip in their hands for sure.

Samsung’s 5G modem capabilities also looks set to play a big role and thats because the advent of 5G looks set to bring mobile gaming to the next level, and it’s already one of the fastest growing segments of the smartphone market. If Samsung can leverage on their partnership properly, it’s hard not to see them taking a large chunk of the mobile gaming pie.

That being said, it will likely take a year or two before we see the full fruits of this deal. AMD can grant Samsung access to patents immediately, but building a new ground-up GPU around new IP will always take some time. Looking further down the pipeline, it would come as no surprise to see this partnership spilling over into Samsung’s line of Smart TV’s as well.

All in all, it’s hard to find the cons of a partnership like this, unless of course you’re Qualcomm. But again, it’s still early days. So as always, I guess we’ll just have to see how this one works out.


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