The Galaxy S11 would be offered in Snapdragon 865 version in more countries. The performance gap between the Exynos 990 and Snapdragon 865 versions would have become too large. Samsung had announced a few weeks earlier than it was cutting its Exynos research and development teams in the United States.
Samsung will offer the Galaxy S11 in Snapdragon 865 version in more markets. The information comes from a South Korean source close to the industry. Until then, Samsung mainly sold Exynos versions of its smartphones, with the exception of the United States, China, Japan, and Latin America. So we got used to, in Europe, that the Galaxy run under Exynos, with performances that have long remained slightly above their Qualcomm equivalent.
Is the performance gap too great?
The problem is that for several generations, the Exynos versions have turned out to be less and less efficient compared to the Snapdragon versions. A performance gap that seems to have led Samsung to drastically reduce its R&D efforts around the Exynos SoCs. The firm has thus separated from its teams in the United States. The Exynos 990 of the Galaxy S11 should be the last of its kind to ship modified hearts from the Korean company.
The source cited by SamMobile believes that Samsung’s decision to offer Snapdragon variants in more markets was “inevitable”. Concretely, if the information from SamMobile proves to be correct, Samsung would only sell versions of the S11 under Snapdragon 865 everywhere, except in Europe – without it being officially known yet why.
The reason why Samsung uses Qualcomm chipsets in its smartphones sold in the United States is less obscure, however. It comes from legal and licensing reasons: in 1993, the two firms negotiated a protective agreement with regard to Qualcomm on the American market (allowing Samsung to sell its own SoC on its smartphones) – but the complexity of SoC and these new legal constraints have forced Samsung to eventually offer an American version under Snapdragon in addition to Exynos versions in the rest of the world.
Offering smartphones with its own chipsets allows Samsung to reduce its costs and therefore increase its margins. However, the report cited by SamMobile says that the performance gap between the two variants has become this year “quite significant”.
Information to take with a grain of salt, because we can not really know that after the release of the smartphone, by performing independent benchmarks. However, on paper, the Snapdragon 865 uses newer ARM cores than its Exynos counterpart. Qualcomm uses ARM Cortex-A77 for its high-performance cores, while Samsung has relied on custom M5 cores and two ARM Cortex-A76 cores.