The Galaxy S11 may be Samsung’s crowning glory for the beginning of 2020 but it won’t be a measure of success for at least one Samsung business. Just like in years past, the flagship will have two versions differing only in the mobile processor used. This year, however, might be the writing on the wall for Samsung’s own silicon as the models using the new Snapdragon 865 will reportedly be used in more markets compared to the Exynos 990.
It was never an even distribution to begin with nor did it make much sense. For legal or business reasons, Samsung sold its flagship phones in North and South America and in China with a Snapdragon CPU. The rest of the world, especially Asia, had the Exynos models instead. That suggests that Samsung’s Exynos had a wider spread than Snapdragon, at least as far as its top phones are concerned.
Prolific leakster @Ice universe claims that it will be the reverse next year. The Snapdragon 865 Galaxy S11 will be sold in many markets previously served by the Exynos version. That includes Asian markets like India and Malaysia.
More than just the “what”, however, Ice universe claims that the “why” is due to Samsung’s inability to catch up with Qualcomm’s developments. The difference might not be night and day but benchmarks do suggest that the Exynos lags behind an equivalent Snapdragon in some aspects. It might not be conclusive but it does seem that Samsung is slowly winding down R&D of its own Exynos chips.
Samsung may continue producing Exynos processors based on designs licensed directly from ARM rather than making its own. It could, however, also drastically change its performance and use in Samsung’s premium phones. That could leave Qualcomm unchallenged in the premium mobile silicon market, which could also give it more leverage in deals and contracts with customers.