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☕ Good morning! I’m off on a week-long adventure to Italy from tomorrow, meaning more fun with Nick Fernandez at the wheel for a few days, and rumors Paula Beaton will step in as well. I’m going to miss the October 19 Pixel launch, but maybe the cat is out of the bag enough as it is? Until next week...
October 12, 2021
Samsung pushes the NOS button
Samsung Exynos 2100 official image
Supplied by Samsung

South Korean media reports Samsung is pushing to “raise the proportion” of Exynos chipsets in Galaxy phones, which seems to be Samsung’s response to the chipset shortage.

What’s happening:

  • Korea’s ET News reports that Samsung Electronics is pushing to “raise the proportion” of Exynos chipsets in Galaxy phones from 20% to between 50% and 60%. 
  • The outlet noted that Samsung’s LSI division will more than double shipments of Exynos chipsets in 2022.
  • That presumably means less Qualcomm and Mediatek chips in mid- and lower-end Galaxy phones like the A-series though. 
  • While Qualcomm powers most Samsung phones that don’t use an Exynos variant, there’s at least five devices, including the A32 4G and 5G variants, that use a Mediatek chip.
  • So, is this Samsung’s response to struggling to get enough third-party chips from other suppliers?
  • Well, it may be that Samsung’s chipsets are just getting better/fixed. ET News said a source suggested Samsung has addressed two key Exynos issues with the next generation of chipsets: “I know that the 5G communication and heat issue (sic), which were the most problematic issues in Exynos, have been resolved in the next production.”
  • The next flagship Exynos will also be fabbed on a 5nm process, but it’s unclear if that will apply to lower-end Exynos chipsets too — Exynos 1080 was 5nm.
  • The other element is the GPU, with at least the flagship Exynos to get AMD’s next-generation GPU in the next flagship Samsung Galaxy phone, likely the S22.

For Qualcomm:

  • This all comes during the week where the WSJ published an in-depth profile on Qualcomm’s CEO, Cristiano Amo, which featured wording like: “I cannot find a customer that we’re not getting pressure from directly and indirectly,” he said. “It is a pressure cooker right now.”
  • This might be Samsung’s way of releasing the pressure. But will consumers be convinced? Or do most people who buy mid-rangers not worry about chipsets beyond the right mix of pricing, specs, and battery life?

Bonus: There are rumors floating around of a final Samsung event for 2021 in the weeks ahead, but with the Galaxy S21 FE all-but canned or massively delayed until next year, no ideas yet as to what it could be?

Roundup

👉 Another day, another day of Pixel leaks: Here are the Google Pixel 6 color names and what we think they match to, and now the new Google Pixel Stand has leaked in full (Android Authority).

📱 Sony is doing something: an Xperia launch on October 26, but exactly what’s coming hasn’t really been leaked at all, so who knows. The teaser image looks like light diffracting on a camera lens… (Android Authority).

🥽 After pivoting to enterprise, Magic Leap has somehow raised $500 million to make another AR headset: Magic Leap 2 (The Verge).

⌚ Amazfit launches three new, long-lasting smartwatches: Amazfit GTR Pro 3, GTR 3, and GTS 3 (Android Authority).

🍎 The (first?) USB-C iPhone is here thanks to a mod by a robotics engineer who spent months on it (The Verge).

🎧 Review: Yes, Urbanista’s solar-powered headphones really do work (Wired).

🍏 Apple tries to block Epic’s only court win before it takes effect on December 6 (Ars Technica).

🛒 Best Buy has a new $200/yr “Totaltech” membership that locks PS5 stock and some hot holiday items behind a membership wall… is it worth it? $200 a year is pretty crazy, but if you really, really want a PS5? (Ars Technica).

🍂 California first, but expect this to happen more widely: Gasoline-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers to be banned, as electric replacements get better and better (Ars Technica).

🧊 This ski resort is working to stop glacier melting, using “geotextile” blankets: “When we first did this, everyone was laughing at us. Now, they all want to come and see how to do this on their glaciers.” (Wired).

🌋 NASA has a $3.46B plan to cool the Yellowstone super volcano and harvest it for energy, but drilling into a volcano isn’t exactly a well-understood engineering feat (Interesting Engineering).

✨ That CME lit up the night sky with Auroras last night as predicted, but no concerns for power grid (Spaceweather.com).

📸 Astronaut’s photo from the ISS caught a huge blue flash in Earth’s atmosphere: A “transient luminous event” (Gizmodo).

Chart Tuesday

Here are all the metals we mined in 2019, from iron ore to rare earths, an infographic out of Visual Capitalist that is pretty mind-blowing:

All the Metals We Mined
  • Obviously, it’s pretty hard to read the detailed breakdown of the amounts of rare metals and so in the newsletter
  • So, see the full version over at Visual Capitalist.

Catch you next week,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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