The build up to a flagship handset’s launch is always filled with various rumors, leaks, and speculations about hardware, and this year’s Samsung Galaxy S5 was certainly no exception. Although all the speculation regarding 2K (2560×1440) displays, the 64-bit octa-core CPU, or a premium version of the handset never amounted to anything, it seems that many of these rumors were based on ideas that Samsung is in the process of testing out.
After doing a little digging, Sammobile has uncovered details on a variety of Samsung Galaxy S5 prototypes, ranging from a handset with a QHD display, all the way to one with a new Exynos SoC complete with an LTE modem developed by Intel.
Samsung definitely has QHD displays
I’ll try to avoid the slightly confusing naming conventions, but if you want to check out the source you’ll need to note that, internally, the Galaxy S5’s prototype was known as the Samsung “K” or G900. The 3G version of which (the k3g) was initially designed with a 5.2 inch QHD AMOLED display in mind, as was one of the initial designs for the Snapdragon powered LTE version of the handset. These designs were eventually scrapped in favour of the 1080p version that ended up in the final product.
This explains why there were so many rumors regarding the Galaxy S5’s display, but also leaves the door wide open for a QHD display from Samsung in a future device, hopefully the Note 4.
Exynos 5430, QHD, and Intel LTE, is this the Premium Galaxy S5?
Digging further into Samsung’s development records, you’ll find a device called the Samsung KQ LTE. What’s so interesting about this handset is not only does it include a QHD display, but one of the versions also comes with a new Exynos 5430 SoC and Intel’s XMM7260 LTE modem.
You might recall that the Exynos 5430 has appeared a couple of times before, usually whenever talk turns to the rumored Galaxy S5 Prime, although development still looks to be ongoing. Whilst Qualcomm includes an integrated modem with its high-end Snapdragon SoC’s, Samsung’s Exynos chips do not. This discovery also marks Intel’s first sighting in a high-end mobile device with LTE, and leads one to wonder if Samsung is looking to move away from its dependency on Qualcomm in the future.
Looking closer at the Exynos 5430, it appears to be an incremental upgrade to Samsung’s octa-core Exynos 5422 chip which was unveiled earlier this year. Compared with the current line-up of Exynos powered products, the 5422 and 5430 offer true Heterogeneous Multi Processing, so all eight cores will be able to run at once. The Samsung KQ targets a slightly higher 2.1 GHz clock speed on the Cortex A15 cores and 1.5 GHz for the A7s. The biggest increase in power comes in the GPU department, where clock speeds jump up to 600MHz, from 533MHz in the 5420 and 5422, although obviously all this could change. Other improvements include a HEVC hardware decoder for the first time, which will help with higher quality video codecs, and a dedicated Cortex A5 co-processor designed to take on audio encode and decode workloads. We’ll have to wait and see if this chip ever lands in western markets, or if it’s destined solely for Korea.
Although Samsung’s prototypes may never make it to market in exactly these forms, there’s a good chance that these designs and pieces of hardware could eventually make their way into revisions for Samsung’s existing products or into the company’s next generation of flagship smartphones.