SamMobile who has a pretty solid track record of leaking Samsung news has posted an article leaking some of the upcoming Galaxy S4’s specs. The leak? Samsung will ditch their own proprietary (and custom ROM frustration) Exynos chipset and will go with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 series chipset. It also mentions that the Galaxy S4 may switch from AMOLED to LCD which will please some fans while causing concern for others.
Samsung has long used its Exynos chipset in its portfolio leading phones from the Galaxy S, Nexus S, Galaxy S2, Galaxy Note, Galaxy S3 and of course the Galaxy Note 2. Aside from the Galaxy S which shared the same chipset as the Nexus S, the other phones have had custom ROM developers scratching their head and pulling their hairs out from trying to make things work as Samsung does not release proper, accurate and timely documentation on their chipsets, unlike Qualcomm and TI.
Phones that make use of properly documented chipsets such as Galaxy S2 G-variant and Sony Phones, typically lets the custom ROM developers have a much easier time when trying to merge the latest Android code releases. Comparing the Exynos touting Galaxy S2 with its near identical sibling, the Galaxy S2 G-variant sees CyanogenMod popular developer, codeworkx able to quickly merge major Android platform updates (such as moving from ICS 4.0 to JellyBean 4.1) to the G-variant while the original, non-G-variant usually takes a good while longer and have more bugs.
CyanogenMod developers and users have brought the issue of lack of documentation to Samsung’s attention quite some time now and despite promises to release the source code and documentation, most were not released and those that were release were either inaccurate, unusable or simply outdated. This has caused frustration after frustration as developer after developer switched to other phones and devices which were more ‘developer-friendly’ such as the Nexus lineup and Sony’s Xperia range.
Whilst it is true that custom ROM developers and users only represent a fraction of overall buyers of Samsung’s phones, these people are usually those who relatives and friends turn to in order to seek opinion on which phone to get next. Therefore, alienating these people is not a wise choice as they are less likely to recommend a phone or a brand which they themselves dislike. A change to Qualcomm’s chipset, if it is true, may stand to win back some developers to Samsung’s lineup of phones.
Personally, I have liked Samsung’s phones as they have removable battery, pretty good camera and, what I personally feel, good button placements. The only concern I’ve had is that the custom ROM developers were starting to move away from the Exynos platform as I’ve loved the CyanogenMod ROM on my Galaxy S2 and have been using it for most of my time with my Galaxy S2. Therefore, if the Galaxy S4 does indeed use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 chipset, it does indeed become an option as my next phone, if developers from the CyanogenMod community jumps on board. Currently, my next phone is still looking likely to be LG’s Nexus 4 or maybe Sony’s Xperia Z/ZL but I haven’t pulled my trigger yet and there’s still time for Samsung to gain applause from the custom ROM community.
Oh, and regarding the change from AMOLED to LCD, while I do like the deep blacks of AMOLED screens, new LCD screens like the one on LG’s Nexus 4 isn’t all that bad as well. As long as the screen looks good, I don’t really mind it being from the AMOLED or LCD family.