Interviewing Samsung’s Exynos and camera division: Unveiling insights and perspectives

Two weeks ago, Samsung unveiled its new Exynos 2400 processor, marking its next-generation flagship chipset. Alongside this announcement, Samsung’s System LSI business arm, responsible for developing Exynos chips, ISOCELL camera sensors, and connectivity and security solutions, made several other noteworthy announcements. In light of these updates, we had the opportunity to interview Sanjith Thayyilthodiyil, Vice President of System LSI’s Sales & Marketing team at Samsung Semiconductor. During our conversation, we delved into the company’s strategies, particularly regarding the Exynos 2400 processor and its Generative AI capabilities. Additionally, we inquired about Samsung’s collaboration with AMD for Exynos GPUs, as well as their approach to ultra-high-resolution ISOCELL camera sensors for smartphones. Below, you’ll find the complete interview.

Q1: What has been the most notable trend in semiconductor technology over the past year, and what are System LSI’s goals with its new semiconductor chips?

A: Over the past year, one of the most significant trends in semiconductor technology has been the emergence of ChatGPT AI and its related technologies and applications. As we look ahead to the transition from generative AI to proactive AI, our focus has shifted from individual semiconductor products to offering a comprehensive platform that integrates logic and memory components, packages, and systems to drive advancements in mobile and automotive technologies. With our System LSI platform, we aim to lead in hyper-intelligent, hyper-connected, and hyper-data technologies, which are crucial for advancing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Our mission is to create semiconductors that empower people and save lives.

Q2: Let’s talk about the Exynos 2400. Congratulations on your next flagship SoC. What feature of the Exynos 2400 stands out the most? Does this chip have any unique capabilities compared to other chips? And what futuristic features can it bring to flagship phones?

A: The Exynos 2400 has made significant advancements in CPU, GPU, and AI performance. In particular, it takes graphics capabilities, especially ray tracing performance, to a whole new level. This promises console-level gaming features on mobile devices.

Q3: How has your partnership with AMD developed over the past few years, and what are your long-term goals for this collaboration? There have been rumors suggesting that System LSI may end its partnership with AMD and pursue a complete in-house GPU design. Could you comment on those rumors? Can we expect to see AMD GPU collaboration in other Exynos SoCs, including mid-range chips, in the future?

A: Since our partnership was first announced in 2019, we have achieved significant milestones, including the co-development of the industry’s first mobile GPU with hardware-accelerated ray tracing capability. In April, we extended our collaboration for several years, expanding the scope to incorporate AMD Radeon graphics technology into a wider range of Samsung Exynos products. This extension demonstrates our strong mutual commitment to delivering exceptional graphics experiences to mobile users. As for the rumors, we cannot provide specific details about our strategic plans at this time.

Q4: In the past, non-Samsung brands used Exynos SoCs in their devices, but we’ve observed that this has declined in recent years. Can you clarify why this change has occurred, and shed some light on Samsung LSI’s approach to brand partnerships?

A: Our approach to brand partnerships, both internal and external, is based on market dynamics and supply and demand factors.

Q5: We’ve also noticed that Galaxy devices with Snapdragon or MediaTek chips tend to be more efficiently optimized out of the box, despite Samsung manufacturing both the phones and the chips used in them. While we understand that Samsung MX is a separate division, could you elaborate on whether Samsung LSI and Samsung MX collaborate on optimization efforts?

A: We work closely with all of our customers to optimize product performance at both the device and system levels.

Q6: ARM chips are increasingly being adopted in larger devices like laptops. Does System LSI have plans to develop ARM-based Exynos SoCs for laptops? Additionally, is Samsung considering RISC-V as an alternative to ARM for long-term plans?

A: We have a strong and ongoing partnership with Arm for the development of next-generation mobile technologies. However, we are unable to disclose specific details regarding our strategic plans at this time.

Q7: Can you provide more information about Samsung Zoom Anyplace? What advantages does it offer compared to previous systems?

A: Samsung’s Zoom Anyplace technology was recently introduced, leveraging its 200-million pixel image sensor. This innovative sensor enables a brand-new camera zoom experience, allowing mobile users to capture up to 4x close-ups of moving objects without any degradation in image quality. It also compensates for camera shake when zooming in from long distances. Additionally, the AI-based tracking technology automatically follows and captures objects, while recordings are made in full screen simultaneously, ensuring no moments or details are missed.

Q8: Samsung’s ISOCELL sensors have been moving toward extremely high megapixel counts, while competitors opt for fewer pixels but larger sensor sizes, including professional-grade 1-inch sensors. Why does System LSI believe a high-resolution approach is superior to increasing pixel and sensor sizes?

A: To cater to diverse market demands and deliver the best imaging experience to users, we are pioneering innovations in ultra-high-resolution products that offer exceptional detail and clarity. Additionally, we are developing big-pixel sensors optimized for low-light environments. Our ultra-high-resolution sensors are designed with large optical formats and employ advanced binning technology, providing various image resolution options at 200MP, 50MP, and 12.5MP. While the default camera resolution on smartphones may be set at 12.5MP for quick everyday snapshots, users have the flexibility to switch to the 50MP and 200MP options for incredibly sharp images with extraordinary details. As the high-resolution sensor market expands, we will leverage our expertise to enhance the photography experience for mobile users. We also plan to continue introducing market-leading products in the 50MP big-pixel sensor segment, leveraging our advanced pixel technology, high dynamic range (HDR), auto-focus, and low-light imaging capabilities.

Q9: What are System LSI’s long-term goals for ISOCELL sensors in the smartphone, automotive, and IoT sectors?

A: Guided by our “Image beyond imagination” vision, Samsung strives to constantly innovate and elevate its mobile image sensor technologies to deliver performance comparable to DSLR cameras. This includes advancements in high dynamic range (HDR), low-light performance, and seamless 8K video recording. Our proven technologies, such as high full well capacity and 140-decibel (dB) HDR, will be essential in driving the growing automotive CIS market. Furthermore, we are committed to advancing next-generation CIS technologies like global shutters and time-of-flight (ToF) for unique user experiences.

Q10: What is ISOCELL Vizion, and could you provide more details about this new branding and its significance?

A: Samsung’s ISOCELL Vizion lineup comprises of time-of-flight (ToF) and global shutter sensors designed to deliver advanced visual capabilities for next-generation mobile, commercial, and industrial applications. ToF sensors are specifically tailored for capturing high-resolution 3D images with exceptional detail, whereas global shutter sensors excel at capturing dynamic movements without distortion.

Q11: How crucial is UWB (Ultra-Wideband) for the future, and what potential applications could it have across different industries?

A: Unfortunately, the interview ends here, so we don’t have the answers to these questions. However, UWB technology holds immense potential across various industries, including augmented reality, smart home automation, indoor navigation, and secure device-to-device communication.

Editor’s Notes:

Samsung’s System LSI business arm is evidently making significant strides in semiconductor technology, with its focus on generative AI and proactive AI. The integration of logic and memory components, packages, and systems under their System LSI platform sets a strong foundation for driving advancements in mobile and automotive technologies. The collaboration with AMD for Exynos GPUs further showcases Samsung’s commitment to delivering top-tier graphics performance on its devices. Additionally, their emphasis on ultra-high-resolution ISOCELL camera sensors and big-pixel sensors demonstrates their determination to provide users with exceptional image quality for both everyday snapshots and professional-grade photography. With their ongoing efforts and focus on innovation, System LSI is well-positioned to shape the future of semiconductor technology.

Check out the latest developments in the tech world at GPT News Room.

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