Earlier this week the launch of the Galaxy S saw me give Samsung something of a bashing for its worrying moves into increasingly proprietary software and hardware technologies. Judging by your reactions this was largely deserved, but I will stand up for Samsung when I feel such moves genuinely benefit from it...
I briefly mentioned during the Galaxy S write-up that Samsung has decided to use its own chipset to power the handset rather than the near ubiquitous Qualcomm Snapdragon as seen in the Nexus One, HTC Desire, Acer Liquid A1, Toshiba TG01 and many others. In fact Snapdragon has even become the defacto platform in the (very) slowly emerging smartbook sector. So why the change? In short (and to quote Jeremy Clarkson): power!
While Samsung for some reason chose not to mention this in their official Galaxy S press release, AndroidandMe.com has managed to track down details on the 'Samsung 1GHz chipset' and discovered something quite remarkable: it has almost 4x the processing power of Snapdragon. That amounts to a massive 90m triangles per second compared to the 22m processed by Snapdragon. In fact, AndroidandMe goes further than that with a few intriguing examples:
Motorola Droid: TI OMAP3430 with PowerVR SGX530 = 7 million triangles/sec
Nexus One: Qualcomm QSD8×50 with Adreno 200 = 22 million triangles/sec
iPhone 3G S: 600 MHz Cortex-A8 with PowerVR SGX535 = 28 million triangles/sec
And even on the games console side:
PS3: 250 million triangles/sec
Xbox 360: 500 million triangles/sec
How is this achievable? The Samsung chip uses its new S5PC110 CPU combined with an ARM Cortex-A8 core and pairs them with the latest PowerVR SGX540 GPU of which we know litttle. Based on these figures we'd certainly like to know more though. Of course raw polygon power doesn't tell the whole story in terms of performance (as the console figures clearly show) and the optimisation of software and use of a top quality touchscreen are equally vital, but it is an exciting advantage for Samsung to have. Furthermore, this chipset will also feature in the Wave and has obvious potential for the smartbook sector as well.
Consequently, while I'll stick to my complaints about Bada the crazy idea of universal TouchWiz UIs and numerous other elements of Samsung's business strategy right now, I will concede that this particular piece of proprietary preference looks entirely justified.