Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 hasn’t even arrived in a commercial product yet, but that hasn’t stopped plenty of rumors and reports appearing which suggest that the new chip is suffering from overheating problems. The LG G Flex 2 will be one of the first devices powered by the new chip and has therefore landed itself in the center of the controversy, with performance throttling the most commonly reported issue.
The alleged problem is not limited to LG’s new flexible smartphone though. Yesterday, reports suggested that Samsung, after testing the chip itself, would be opting to make wider use of its own brand of Exynos mobile SoCs, in order to reduce its dependence on Qualcomm’s overly-hot Snapdragon 810. However, some analysts believe that the issue may be overblown and others suggest that Samsung couldn’t ditch the 810 for its own Exynos line-up so quickly, even if the company wanted to.
Cowen analyst Timothy Arcuri noted that there had been an issue with the base layers in the Snapdragon 810, rather than the metal layers as previously rumored. Apparently, this issue had been fixed months ago, resulting in a slight delay in Qualcomm’s roadmap. BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long pointed out that use of Exynos chips in Samsung’s products had declined from 70 percent in 2012 to 20 percent in 2014, a situation that could not be reversed in just a few months. Instead, Samsung may end up deploying a similar strategy to previous years, with Exynos powered smartphones destined for Korea and Snapdragon devices appearing elsewhere.
“our best guess is that Samsung will likely launch the Galaxy S6 in Korea with its own Exynos but slightly delay shipments in other regions to accommodate Qualcomm’s delayed schedule.” – Timothy Arcuri, Cowen Group
Earlier today, LG vice president for mobile product planning, Woo Ram-chan, told reporters that the Snapdragon 810 is performing at “satisfactory” levels, based on the company’s own experience, and that the G Flex 2 was actually emitting less heat than other devices currently on the market. So, does this mean that the Snapdragon 810 is in the clear?
“I am very much aware of the various concerns in the market about the (Snapdragon) 810, but the chip’s performance is quite satisfactory,”
“I don’t understand why there is a issue over heat,” – LG VP, Woo Ram-chan
It is still hard to tell, given that “satisfactory” doesn’t lend us any indication as to LG’s initial expectations for the SoC. Even if the product isn’t overheating as such, it’s the performance throttling effects of the chip being pushed close to its thermal limits that have apparently caused the most concern. Then again, surely LG could have changed orders for some more Snapdragon 801s or 805s if there really was a massive flaw with the 810? Qualcomm may also have already fixed any problems in time for mass production, these concerns could simply be dating back to an old issue.
This certainly isn’t the launch run up that LG had planned for its first handset of the year. With only a few days to wait until the G Flex 2’s South Korean launch on January 30th, it won’t be long until these rumors are either confirmed or debunked.