UPDATED (0915 GMT, 8th December 2014): We reached out to Qualcomm and the company told us the chip will ship on time, with commerically available devices in 1H 2015)
Leading Korean smartphone makers are reportedly concerned by a number of technical issues plaguing Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 810 SoC.
The Snapdragon 810 is the company's first flagship 64-bit SoC and also the first 20nm SoC, but unlike the last generation, it is not based on custom cores. The 810 features four Cortex-A57 and four Cortex-A53 cores, backed by new Adreno 430 graphics. According to Korean media, technical issues have arisen on both fronts.
Thermals, memory and GPU bugs
According to Business Korea, LG and Samsung are concerned by the chip's overheating problems, which were described as "hard to solve".
An industry source told the publication that the chip overheats when it reaches a specific voltage, but that's not the all.
"It also slows down owing to problems with the RAM controller connected to the AP. In addition, there is an error in the driver of the Adreno 430 GPU,” the unnamed source is quoted as saying.
The Snapdragon 810 is expected to power the majority of high-end Android smartphones next year, including Samsung and LG flagships. Although Samsung has competitive in-house Exynos processors, Qualcomm still has a lead in LTE integration. LG's Nuclun SoC is not ready for prime time, i.e. it is simply not a high-end design by today's standards.
But what about other smartphone markers? HTC and Sony also rely on Snapdragon silicon for their flagships and they have no in-house alternatives. Worse, there are not that many chips that could fill the gap. MediaTek has good mid-range designs with LTE support, while Nvidia has ditched the smartphone market altogether.
It remains unclear whether or not the rumoured problems could force phonemakers to change their rollout schedules. Samsung and LG tend to launch their flagships in the first half of the year, and so does Sony. This means the Snapdragon 810 has to ready in a matter of weeks rather than months.