Samsung Galaxy S21: this is why France is deprived of Snapdragon 888

Why are European consumers buying their Galaxy S21 with an Exynos 2100 chip when the latest Snapdragon chip is present in other markets? In this dossier, we come back to the reasons for a world cut in two.

S21 Exynos 2100

We talk to you about it regularly: the latest Samsung flagships sold in Europe are not exactly the same than in other parts of the world like the United States. This year, the launch of the S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra is no exception to Samsung’s habits: models sold in Europe run on Exynos 2100 while models sold in the United States benefit from the latest Snapdragon 888.

It has been so for a very long time, although this leads to significant differences between the two variants. The Exynos versions are generally a little less efficient, give off a little more heat and can therefore have less autonomy. Although some tests seem to say the opposite. Many European consumers complain about this difference in treatment.

Samsung Galaxy Exynos vs Snapdragon: the reasons for a world cut in two

As if European consumers were isolated in this reality. However, as the map that we have compiled on the versions of the S20 (the previous generation) shows, we can see straight away thatit is more of a world divided in two than of a Europe that would be at a disadvantage over the rest of the world :

Galaxy s21
In red the countries that have received S20 Snapdragon, in blue those that have had Exynos, in gray the countries with missing data / Source: Samsung data and resellers

There is in fact at least three reasons which explain why Samsung sells different variants of its smartphones depending on the region. The first reason is a question of volumes. Samsung remains the world’s largest smartphone maker with over 22% market share.

To give you an idea, Samsung sold 80.4 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2020 alone. An impressive amount which means as many component orders from suppliers. Qualcomm, which, even if it has many other customers, can supply the chips necessary for the operation of some of these devices. But there is still room for alternatives.

Qualcomm already has a lot of controls on its hands and Samsung is not just anyone …

Which brings us to the second reason which leads Samsung not to use smartphones running Snapdragon around the world. Qualcomm does not sell its chips at the same price depending on the country. This makes it cheaper to use Snapdragon chips in the United States, as it is in many Asian countries. This mix thus allows Samsung to offer their smartphones more or less at the same price regardless of the region.

Samsung Exynos 2100

Finally we will note that smartphones running Exynos do not support CDMA (pre-4G) networks which are still widely used in countries like the United States. But there is also a another very interesting reason: the spirit of growth and excellence of Samsung In all areas.

Samsung is indeed much more than a manufacturer of smartphones, televisions and household appliances. It is a Chaebol, a sprawling group, whose the goal is to become the best in every possible way. So are screens, and many other components that Samsung manufactures both for its devices and for the competition.

For Samsung, selling smartphones with Exynos chipset is also a way of strengthening its leadership

However, the development of high-performance chipsets is not easy, and this is probably why we still see performance differences between the Exynos and Snapdragon variants. However, it should be noted that Samsung is making significant progress. With in the long term, perhaps a major advantage over the competition : the possibility of carving out market share from the leader of the Android ecosystem – ie Qualcomm.

In fact, Samsung would be well positioned to do so. Not only does the foundry now design ARM chips from standard core designs, but as a bonus, it manufactures them and thus refines its etching processes, which are already among the best in the industry.

As we can see, Samsung therefore has excellent reasons to continue to sell Exynos smartphones in Europe while putting Snapdragon chips in other markets. And we understand that it is extremely unlikely that this will change anytime soon.