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Samsung set to build its own GPUs for low-cost phones
- Samsung is thought to be working on its own GPUs as it lists a bunch of graphics engineer positions on LinkedIn.
- The company is speculated to be developing the chips for use in smartphones and autonomous vehicles.
- Samsung would become the only top-tier Android manufacturer to produce its own graphics chips.
Samsung is believed to be working on its first in-house graphics processing units (GPUs) for smartphones and cars. The company has listed several GPU engineer jobs on LinkedIn, as pointed out by WinFuture.de (via liliputing), though firm details regarding the project are scarce.
WinFuture suggests that Samsung intends to first use the smartphone chips for its low-end devices, while continuing to tap Arm for flagship GPUs. Further down the road, Samsung may turn its attention to developing the GPUs for more premium phones, as well as autonomous cars.
Samsung typically sources smartphone GPUs from companies such as Arm, for the Mali GPUs used in Samsung’s Exynos chips, and Qualcomm, which uses its own Adreno GPUs in its Snapdragon SoCs. Despite this, Samsung produces many other smartphone components itself.
This has proved lucrative for the South Korean manufacturer: its semiconductor department has been earning more revenue than its consumer electronics department for some years, and its display wing is creeping up on it (Samsung supplied the displays for Apple’s iPhone X at the end of 2017, which gave it a boost). Apple has also been successful in developing its own GPUs. With this in mind, it makes sense that Samsung might want to produce its own GPUs too.
Samsung would also become the only Android OEM to produce in-house graphics chips, which could give it the edge over its nearest Android rivals Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi. It’s likely to be a big investment to get to large-scale GPU production going, though, and will require a lot of expertise to reach the same levels as the likes of Arm and Qualcomm. Yet, if it can pull it off, it may mean big business for Samsung.