During a recent earnings call with investors, Samsung indicated that its mobile devices could leverage AMD's graphics technology roughly two years from now, which means we could potentially see a Galaxy smartphone sporting a Radeon GPU (perhaps Navi) in 2021. That is not a foregone conclusion by any stretch, though.
Let's take a small step back for a moment. Back in June, AMD announced it had partnered with Samsung to license its Radeon graphics IP to the South Korean electronics maker, with Samsung looking for "disruptive changes in technology" and "new opportunities."
"Our partnership with AMD will allow us to bring groundbreaking graphics products and solutions to market for tomorrow’s mobile applications," Inyup Kang, president of Samsung Electronics’ S.LSI Business, said at the time "We look forward to working with AMD to accelerate innovations in mobile graphics technologies that will help take future mobile computing to the next level."
Fast forward to now and Samsung is putting a time frame of sorts on when the licensing deal will bear fruit. In response to a question about the partnership, and specifically what mobile system-on-chip (SoC) designs we can look forward to, and when, Samsung was a little cagey on the former and a bit more direct on the latter.
"AMD has been a leader, especially in the GPU area since the early days of the PC market and is one of the leaders in terms of technology. We think that with this partnership, we will be able to leverage the GPU competitiveness of AMD to enhance the performance of not only our mobile SOCs, but also in other applications," an unidentified Samsung representative said.
"But considering the usual time it takes to vet out IT technology, we expect that the GPU technology will start being adopted in products that will be launched two years down the road roughly," the representative added.
It sounds like Samsung has multiple product categories in mind. A Radeon-powered Galaxy phone is of course highly likely, especially considering the recent focus on gaming handsets, such as the excellent ASUS ROG Phone (and a second-gen model) and the bargain-priced Black Shark 2 Pro. But Samsung is active in multiple categories, including tablets like the Galaxy Tab S5e and premium laptops.
AMD's graphics IP could conceivably find its way into all of those products. We'll find out in roughly two years (or sooner, depending on what leaks ahead of time).