Samsung DS is Ready to Ride the 5G Wave

Samsung DS (Device Solution) is ready to unleash the huge potential of 5G and IoT, with comprehensive upgrades to the mobile processor, Neural Processing Unit (NPU), memory, display panel, battery, and even discrete components.

On September 4, Samsung LSI released its first 5G-integrated SoC, Exynos 980. The new chipset adopted the latest ARM architecture consisting of 2x cortex-A77 plus 6x cortex-A55. It can support up to 3.55Gbps downlink speed when combining 2CC LTE and 5G connectivity. Besides, the Exynos 980 also integrates the new generation of NPU with increased computing power.

In the quarter ended June, Samsung DS became the major business group for Samsung as it raked in over KRW 23.5 trillion (roughly US$ 20.3 billion). With a strong portfolio of products, the group is close behind Intel in the race for the semiconductor crown.

Exhibit 1: Samsung Exynos Platforms for 5G Commercialization

Samsung Exynos Platforms for 5G CommercializationSource: Samsung Future Tech Forum

With the balanced performance and cost, Exynos 980, targeting both high-end and mid-range segments, is expected to significantly bring down the price of 5G smartphone launched in H1 2020. Besides the strong support of the Samsung A series, Exynos has also got a number of design wins from leading Chinese OEM like Vivo.

To address the increasing demand for high bandwidth in 5G era, Samsung will further boost the performance of mobile DRAM with a new concept memory called LPDDR5 (Low Power DDR5), as the successor of LPDDR4x. It delivers higher throughput, but also consumes less power. In terms of NAND flash, Samsung will extend the adoption of UFS3.0, which features twice the transfer speed of the previous UFS2.1.

As 5G is expected to be power-hungry, smartphone designers will benefit from adopting the flexible AMOLED to extend the battery life. The display not only features better power efficiency but also has a slimmer form-factor to save more space for a bigger battery.

Exhibit 2: Samsung Flexible AMOLED for 5G Design

Source: Samsung Future Tech Forum

Speaking of battery, Samsung SDI has developed a broad polymer cell lineup, with scalable capacity and high energy density. Clearly, Samsung is ready to address the various smart devices that will emerge in the 5G era.

Exhibit 3: Samsung Lithium-ion Cell Lineup for Smart Devices

Samsung Lithium-ion Cell Lineup for Smart DevicesSource: Samsung Future Tech Forum

Counterpoint believes that key players of the 5G supply chain have achieved significant progress in paving the way to large scale commercialization. With more 5G capable models set for launch in 2020 at a cheaper price, we expect the stagnant smartphone market will get fresh impetus. This can result in growth coming back to the smartphone market by H2 2020.

Senior Analyst Ethan is a Senior Analyst with Counterpoint Mobile and Semiconductors, dedicated to IoT, the wearable, Integrated Circuits and emerging technologies. Ethan had been working in the mobile phone and semiconductor industry for 10+ years. Prior to joining Counterpoint Research, Ethan served Coolpad, VIA and Intel sequentially as senior technology researcher and product manager respectively.

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