Samsung today announced the Exynos 5 Octa, the first mobile application processor to implement the ARM big.LITTLE processing technology based on the Cortex-A15 CPU.
Following the Exynos 5 Dual, which is already on board of products such as the Google Chromebook and Nexus 10, the successor is the newest addition to the Exynos family of application processors.
"The new Exynos 5 Octa introduces a whole new concept in processing architecture - designed for high-end smartphones and tablets," said Dr. Stephen Woo, president of System LSI Business, Device Solutions Division, Samsung Electronics, in a keynote at CES. "When you want multiple applications to perform at their best, you want the best application processor currently available - the Exynos 5 Octa."
To expand on the big.LITTLE concept, Warren East, chief executive officer, ARM, joined Woo on stage and introduced the new technology that has just become available in silicon through the Exynos 5 Octa. Housing a total of eight cores to draw from - four Cortex-A15 processors to handle processing-intense tasks along with four additional Cortex-A7 cores for lighter workloads - the application processor offers maximum performance and up to 70 percent higher energy efficiency compared to the previous quad-core Exynos.
Glenn Roland, vice president and head of new platforms and OEM, EA, helped Woo demonstrate the processing power of the Exynos 5 Octa by showing off one of EA's latest 3D racing games, Need for Speed Most Wanted.
Samsung is looking to supply chips to more Chinese and other emerging smartphone makers, the head of its system chip business said. The move comes as Apple looks to be less reliant on its rival for parts for its gadgets - it is already buying fewer Samsung memory chips and display screens as the two have gone to war over patents.
China's Meizu uses Samsung's Exynos quad-core chip for its MX smartphone, and Lenovo's K860 LePhone is also powered by Exynos.
To strengthen its chip capability, Samsung bought UK chipmaker CSR Plc's mobile phone connectivity and location technology for $310 million last year, and it is now looking at how it can improve modem chip technology, especially the baseband chip solution that enables wireless devices' radio communications.
Woo also talked about Samsung's displays. Using Samsung's energy-efficient green LCD technology, the company is currently developing a 10.1-inch model that would lower power consumption even further by 25 percent, while offering equal resolution qualities as its predecessor.
Prototypes and real-life scenarios for Samsung's line of flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays were also showcased, promising various mobile application opportunities for consumer electronics manufacturers. Dubbed "YOUM," the flexible display line-up uses extremely thin plastic instead of glass, making it bendable and virtually "unbreakable." Berkeley featured a smartphone prototype equipped with a curved edge that showed contiguous content along the side of the device. The screen uses organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs. Only a thin layer of these chemicals is needed to produce a bright, colorful screen. For the bendable phone, Samsung laid the chemicals over thin plastic instead of glass. That's a trick you can't pull off with liquid crystals in standard displays.
The company also showed a video of a future concept, with a phone-sized device that opens up like a book, revealing a tablet-sized screen inside.
"Our team was able to make a high resolution display on extremely thin plastic instead of glass, so it won't break even if it's dropped," said Berkeley. "This new form factor will really begin to change how people interact with their devices, opening up new lifestyle possibilities ... [and] allow our partners to create a whole new ecosystem of devices."
Samsung is one of the companies showing flexible, bendable displays at CES. Corning said on Monday that it can now build toughened Gorilla Glass screens that curve around devices.
Samsung didn't say when the flexible displays or curved screens will be available on phones, but it's not the only company working on that.