Samsung beats Qualcomm to the punch with the 5G-integrated mid-range Exynos 980 SoC

Samsung beats Qualcomm to the punch with the 5G-integrated mid-range Exynos 980 SoC
Hot on the heels of its first non-flagship 5G smartphone, Samsung is today taking the wraps off the company's first 5G-integrated mobile processor. Interestingly, the Exynos 980 is not a new ultra-high-end SoC following in the footsteps of the Exynos 9825 powering the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ outside the US, instead planning to "bring 5G connectivity to more mobile devices."

Samsung's aim here is to "make 5G more accessible to a wider range of users", which is simply a thinly veiled way of saying the Exynos 980 will be found inside mid-range phones starting sometime in 2020. Possibly, early next year, as mass production is scheduled to begin "by the end of this year." There's also a pretty good chance the new mid-end chip will power cheaper handsets than the Galaxy A90 5G, which starts at the rough equivalent of $750 in Korea with a Snapdragon 855 SoC and separate Snapdragon X50 modem on deck.

Unlike the Snapdragon 855 and all other Qualcomm processors in circulation right now, the Samsung-made Exynos 980 includes the 5G modem in a tiny all-in-one package, thus increasing the space efficiency within a mobile device while significantly reducing power consumption. That should allow future members of the Galaxy A family to come with bigger, longer-lasting batteries, but that obviously doesn't mean the Exynos 980 is a complete pushover in terms of raw speed.


Built on 8-nanometer FinFET technology, the newly unveiled SoC pairs an octa-core CPU composed of two high-performance Cortex-A77 cores and six energy-efficient Cortex-A55 cores with a top-of-the-line Mali-G76 GPU to try to achieve the perfect balance between power and affordability. An enhanced neural processing unit (NPU) is also integrated to enable "more sophisticated on-device AI experiences", while the built-in 5G modem supports up to 2.55Gbps speeds in the sub-6GHz spectrum, as well as blazing fast 4G LTE gigabit downlink capabilities. In other words, you'll probably be more than satisfied with the speeds delivered by Exynos 980-powered handsets on both 5G and 4G networks.

Samsung's surprising new chipset is also designed to work with up to 108MP cameras, WQHD+ (3360 x 1440 pix res) screens, and on phones capable of shooting 4K UHD video at 120 frames per second. The mid-range future sounds pretty exciting, eh?

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