Samsung has announced a new mobile chipset in the form of the Exynos 920.
What makes this announcement particularly noteworthy, apart from the fact that it’s the company’s latest offering and will likely feature inside some of next year’s flagship devices, is that it also sports on-device AI processing, according to Samsung.
This on-device functionality comes via an enhanced neural processing unit (NPU), which we have seen on some other chipmaker processors, such as last year’s Kirin 970 from Huawei.
Along with the NPU, the Exynos 9820 has a custom fourth-generation CPU and a modem that supports 2.0 Gbps LTE.
“As AI-related services expand and their utilization diversify in mobile devices, their processors require higher computational capabilities and efficiency,” explained Ben Hur, VP of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics, in the announcement.
While there are indeed a number of noteworthy elements to this chipset, the one missing detail is the size of its architecture, with no mention made of it in Samsung’s official press release about the Exynos 9820.
As such we don’t know if it has a 10 nanometer architecture like its predecessor, or whether Samsung has moved up to the new 7nm design that Huawei and Apple have with their latest mobile processors.
“With an enhanced architecture design, the Exynos 9820’s new fourth-generation custom core delivers around 20-percent improvement in single core performance or 40-percent in power efficiency when compared to its predecessor which can load data or switch between apps much faster,” reads Samsung’s press release.
We’re certainly not going to question the quality of their processors, given how well they’ve performed in the past, but not shifting to 7nm would mean that Samsung is playing catch up.
Hopefully though more information is forthcoming when the Exynos 9820 features in next year’s flagship Samsung phones. The company has not confirmed anything yet, but it will probably feature in the Galaxy S10 at MWC, and potentially the new Galaxy F folding phone too.
What should also be interesting to see is whether Samsung now develops any new AI-specific applications to leverage the capabilities of the Exynos 9820.
Perhaps we’ll get a better Bixby digital assistant too?