In an interview with Reuters, Samsung's mobile head J.K. Shin made some interesting comments with respect to its relationship to wireless chipmaker Qualcomm .
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In particular, Shin was quoted as saying, "We have to use the best engines to make our products competitive, which is why we opted to use our own chips." This surely comes as a blow to Qualcomm, whose Snapdragon processors power many flagship Android phones.
Shin did reportedly say, though, that Samsung "may very well end up using products from Qualcomm again in the next Galaxy Phone."
The next Galaxy phone is widely believed to be the Galaxy Note 5
Samsung's traditional smartphone release cadence means the company delivers its Galaxy S flagships in the spring, and the Galaxy Note in the fall. If Qualcomm does indeed wind up in the next Galaxy Phone, its next chance would be as part of the upcoming Galaxy Note 5.
Qualcomm has said it plans to sample its next-generation Snapdragon 820, which is expected to be built on a "leading FinFET process," during the second half of 2015.
In order to get a sense of whether the Snapdragon 820 could actually power the Galaxy Note 5, it's worth trying to figure out when Qualcomm might be able to deliver the 820 in production quantities.
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Using history as a guide
Qualcomm said in its announcement of the Snapdragon 810 that products would begin sampling in the second half of 2014 and would wind up in commercially available devices during the first half of 2015. One report said the 810 had been sampling as of September 2014.
The chip is currently insidethe Xiaomi Mi Note Pro, LG G Flex 2, and the HTC One M9. According to GSM Arena, the former two devices were announced in January, with availability in February.
So, if Qualcomm began sampling the 810 in September 2014, and the first devices based on the chip were commercially available in February 2015, this implies a roughly four month interval between sampling availability and commercial launches based on those chips.
This means even if Qualcomm is sampling the Snapdragon 820 come July 1, it probably wouldn't be reasonable to expect the chip inside of a commercially available device until the November timeframe. Given the traditional September launch of the Galaxy Note line, it appears unlikely the Note 5 will feature the Snapdragon 820.
What chips could Qualcomm win in the Note 5, if not the applications processor?
If the above analysis is correct, the Snapdragon 820 won't be available in production quantities in time for the Galaxy Note 5 launch. If that's the case, how could Qualcomm get back into the next Galaxy phone?
Well, for one thing, The Wall Street Journal reports that Qualcomm has actually won the modem spot in the Galaxy S6 sold on some carriers. Perhaps Qualcomm will be able to win the modem spot in the Note 5 across more regions with its recently announced MDM9x45 category 10 LTE-Advanced modem than it did with the Galaxy S6.
Winning just the modem spot without the applications processor is likely to yield lower revenue and gross margin dollars per unit, but it's certainly better than nothing.
The article Will Qualcomm, Inc. Be Inside the Samsung Galaxy Note 5? originally appeared on Fool.com.
Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Qualcomm. The Motley Fool owns shares of Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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