On Day 0 of this year's Mobile World Congress Samsung and NVIDIA announced that the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 will come to market with NVIDIA's Tegra 2 (T20) SoC. At the same time, the two quietly announced they would be working on a new superphone together also based on Tegra 2. At Samsung's press conference however all we saw was the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy S II, the latter using Samsung's own Exynos SoC.

So what happened to the NVIDIA based smartphone and why would Samsung bother with using Tegra if it already had an Exynos based smartphone? To understand why we need to look at the Galaxy S. At its MWC press conference Samsung mentioned that it sold 10 million Galaxy S phones in 2010. The Galaxy S II should sell at least as much, if not more, once it's officially introduced.

Exynos however is a brand new SoC, with a brand new GPU for Samsung. Meeting demand for the Galaxy S II in all markets across the world with an SoC that Samsung has never shipped is risky at best. If you saw our benchmarks yesterday you'll note that NVIDIA's Tegra 2 is a near equivalent in terms of CPU performance and notably better in GPU and Flash performance. In other words, Tegra 2 isn't a bad alternative.

Meet the GT-I9103:

The GT-I9100 is the normal Exynos based Galaxy S II, the I9103 is the Tegra 2 edition. As one of our readers (thanks sarge78), Samsung lists its own dual-core Application Processor in the Galaxy S II as not being used in all regions. It's too early to tell if that means that we'll get Tegra 2 or Exynos depending on physical region.

I suspect Samsung didn't want to confuse users by announcing both a Tegra 2 and an Exynos based superphone at MWC. An unknown user managed to benchmark the GT-I903 at MWC and submitted the data to the GLBenchmark database. The GT-I9103's performance looks comparable to the Atrix 4G, meaning it's going to deliver the same experience we've seen in our Optimus 2X and Atrix 4G articles.

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  • wicko - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Honestly I am not bothered by the site being flooded with news, but it does feel like phones and tablets are taking the spotlight from PC news. I can't blame them though, seems to be the way trends are going these days. I might not care about smartphones, but apparently a lot of others do. At least, when there are PC reviews, they're just as in-depth and useful as before :) Reply
  • synaesthetic - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    It's mostly because the phone and tablet market is experiencing the same kind of explosive performance boom that PCs had in the late 90s to early 2000s.

    PCs have plateaued. What changes, but more cores, faster cores, more power-efficient cores, and Intel changing their goddamned socket every time they put out a new CPU?

    PC is a world of incremental improvements here in 2011, while smartphones and ARM tablets are still making quantum leaps and paradigm shifts.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Part of that problem is that, at least recently, the PC market has been smothered by the Sandy Bridge recall. We have some PC stuff in the wings, but until SB hardware starts getting out to us again it's going to be tight.

    Also keep in mind that smartphone hardware is basically growing the way PCs were back in the 486/Pentium days, except maybe even faster. It's a very young market prone to rapid growth, and you know we have to be on the ground floor for that. :)
    Reply
  • Akv - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Yes it is all very good. But I stick to my phone-only cellphone, because I use IT for productivity and creation, not to click on Facebook buttons.

    In terms of performance boost i would be more interested in very low voltage laptops. The kind you can write with in an airport or the train.

    I will certainly buy a superphone some day, but I am not in a hurry and, since new products come every month, I am waiting with a mild indifference.
    Reply
  • samirsshah - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Tegra 2 for game intensive and Exynos for non game intensive regions.

    For example, Tegra 2 for the US, Exynos for India (also lower the price in India because of it).
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    I like your icon samir :) Reply
  • sarge78 - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Early indications suggest Exynos gaming performance is very similar to Tegra 2, I'm sure Brian/Anand had limited time to fully test/confirm the results but they did an excellent job and as they pointed out this early SoC will have a few driver issues.

    One area Tegra 2 has an advantage is the UPV GeForce's flash hardware acceleration, it's already been certified by Adobe for Android 2.2+ (one of the benifits of getting many products to the market early) Unfortunately I don't think Mali 400 has this feature?
    It's worth noting the powerVR SGX range does but probably hasn't implemented by Android/Adobe plugin support yet. (Adreno 220 too?)

    There's also a strong possibility other markets could get a SLCD on the SGS2 like the Nexus S (unless the new OLED factories are ready?)
    Reply
  • sonci - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Are they becoming some kind of new Microsoft? Reply
  • mongo lloyd - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Let's just hope it has a higher resolution than 480x800. I'm a bit miffed that not many chose to up the ante against Apple on this. Most notably HTC's embarrassing new product line. Relaunches of old phones? WTF. Reply
  • BlueScreenJunky - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    I seriously doubt that it will have a different resolution (I do hope we'll have a SAMOLED+ screen here in europe though).

    Anyway, I think getting rid of the pentile matrix will already help improving the resolution compared to the previous galaxy S, and I'm not sure it's really important to go above 480*800 right now if it hinders the GPU performances.
    Reply

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