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MacRumors
Apr 26, 2006, 09:33 PM
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Samsung will be the beneficiary of last week's announcement (http://www.ipodgear.com/2006/04/portalplayer-losing-apples-business.php) that PortalPlayer's media chip will not be used in upcoming flash-based iPods.

PortalPlayer's media chip has been used in Apple's iPod from the beginning, but PortalPlayer's stock dropped on the news that Apple had decided to pass on their upcoming PP5021 media processor chip.

While PortalPlayer's current chip will continue to be used in current iPods, eeTimes reports (http://www.eetimes.com/news/semi/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=186701236) that Samsung has been working with Apple on a "PortalPlayer killer" 32-bit chip based on ARM technology. This new chip has been chosen for use in future flash-based iPods.

I knew PortalPlayer would take a dive,” said Jon Kang, senior vice president for the technical marketing group at Samsung Semiconductor Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), the U.S. chip arm of South Korea’s Samsung (Seoul). “I knew that we would win this design."

Few details are provided on the benefits of the switch. Samsung, however, is also the supplier (http://www.macrumors.com/pages/2005/11/20051121113436.shtml) of much of the NAND flash memory provided in the recent Flash-based iPods.

Based on these component reports, there has been speculation (http://www.macrumors.com/pages/2006/04/20060425081810.shtml) that the flash iPods will see a revision later this year.

twoodcc
Apr 26, 2006, 09:36 PM
this seems like good news, but we'll have to wait and see

weitzner
Apr 26, 2006, 09:37 PM
as long as the iPods are still awesome, it's all good!

supergod
Apr 26, 2006, 09:37 PM
Until we see how this affects us in any way (cheaper prices mebbe?), who cares?

nagusjim
Apr 26, 2006, 09:43 PM
i love samsung. i really do think that they put out amazingly good products, and i'm happy to see them get more business!

laidbackliam
Apr 26, 2006, 09:46 PM
i see samsung winning on so many levels with this

portalplayer only made/designed chips

samsung has its own line of players, plus making iPods?

hell of a marketshare in the manufacturing world, hell of a marketshare

swingerofbirch
Apr 26, 2006, 09:46 PM
I believe I have seen Samsung MP3 players (that obviously don't compete well with the iPod). So isn't there some corporate dissonance here? Even if it helps their bottom line to sell Apple this technology, aren't they sort of selling their own MP3 players short? --which is based on the assumption they won't adopt this technology for their own MP3 players..what am I missing?

Peyton
Apr 26, 2006, 09:47 PM
wasn't samsung in the middle of a big scandal not too long ago? I know that doesn't really mean anything about this but it seems strange to go into big contract/deals like this so soon afterward.

ibook30
Apr 26, 2006, 09:52 PM
Any chances this new chip could bring video to the next nano ?

That would be excellent...

Peyton
Apr 26, 2006, 09:54 PM
Any chances this new chip could bring video to the next nano ?

That would be excellent...

agree, but other than size, what would be the point of buying the regular ipod?
seems like it wouldn't justify the cost at that point.

Peyton
Apr 26, 2006, 09:55 PM
but I totally see it happening, you can sell a lot more videos to people who can put them on their 'pods

Sutekidane
Apr 26, 2006, 09:56 PM
Can't wait!

matticus008
Apr 26, 2006, 10:06 PM
agree, but other than size, what would be the point of buying the regular ipod?
seems like it wouldn't justify the cost at that point.
I think more than 7x the storage for $50 is more than enough to justify the price. There was a time when the only distinguishing feature was a larger capacity and it worked well.

dontmatter
Apr 26, 2006, 10:09 PM
This makes for some strange bedfellows. Samsung not only competes in the MP3 player market, but also they are/were considered one of the top competitors to apple, as one of the few companies with the sense of style and ease of use to pull off such a move. Further, they've made statements about their intentions of gaining market share in the Asian market from apple, and those have been quite brazen and exact. Odd conflict of interests for samsung, but also a sweet situation, b/c they make money whoever wins, and they get some control over apple by being their supplier, not to mention inside info.

ibook30
Apr 26, 2006, 10:19 PM
This makes for some strange bedfellows. Samsung not only competes in the MP3 player market, but also they are/were considered one of the top competitors to apple, as one of the few companies with the sense of style and ease of use to pull off such a move. Further, they've made statements about their intentions of gaining market share in the Asian market from apple, and those have been quite brazen and exact. Odd conflict of interests for samsung, but also a sweet situation, b/c they make money whoever wins, and they get some control over apple by being their supplier, not to mention inside info.


Good points - also makes me think of the Apple - HP iPod partnership that brought Apple products into stores that had no relationship with Apple.

Analog Kid
Apr 26, 2006, 10:25 PM
Now this is getting interesting... Particularly given that Samsung has the closest thing to an iPod competitor right now. So what are they up to?

It's not inconceivable that this is just different divisions of the company behaving independently. That's not uncommon in US companies. Each division is responsible for it's own profits and they'll get there however they can. Motorola was particularly bad in this way-- the automotive group introduced a microprocessor (M-core) that they said was target at mobile applications while the mobile group was singing the praises of ARM. Given a company the size of Samsung, there has to be some of that...

Are they trying to learn as much as they can from Apple before applying it to their own products? You have to think that they closer they get to the iPod group, the more they're going to pick up on-- even if just by osmosis. It also gives them some advance strategic knowledge as far as release dates and what not. [Edit: didn't they hire the iPod UI designer?]

Are they trying to "draft" off of Apple? Hoping that once the world figures out that all of the guts of the iPod are Samsung they might think more favorably towards the Samsung players?

Have they decided they can't beat Apple so they're trying to at least get the component sales? Faced with a war they know they can't win, they started selling bullets?

Are they trying to hollow Apple out? Once Apple is heavily dependent on Samsung for key components (and I'd say Flash and CPU qualify as such...) then it gives Samsung a lot of control. Sudden component shortage around the time of a new Samsung product release for example?

Was this part of the original Flash deal? Did Samsung say "we'll give you Flash at our internal cost (cost between divisions) if you agree to take the controller chip we've been working on too"?

All so very, very interesting.

In truth, it's probably not anywhere near that interesting-- Samsung probably just went ahead and signed the biggest LSI deal in their history without caring about any of this. Profit's profit.

iMeowbot
Apr 26, 2006, 10:28 PM
Apple have collaborated with what are seen by the public as competitors many times over the years, with Microsoft and IBM standing out in front as examples.

It will be amusing to watch all the trash talk about Samsung media players reverse as soon as they are encased in white rectangles with Apple logos.

daysleeper
Apr 26, 2006, 11:26 PM
A trash talking Samsung VP. What is that about?

Sutekidane
Apr 26, 2006, 11:55 PM
A trash talking Samsung VP. What is that about?

I thought it was humorous, show's they're full of spirit!

Stridder44
Apr 27, 2006, 12:04 AM
Whoa! Doesn't that make Apple's kind of backstabbing PortalPlayer here somehow? Apple and Samsung have been working together to make a "PortalPlayer killer"?? Did Apple not like PortalPlayer? Did i miss something?

muffinman
Apr 27, 2006, 12:29 AM
didnt apple quit samsung? now they're coming back to samsung?

NegativeZero
Apr 27, 2006, 12:40 AM
I'm thinking that this probably will go beyond just the obvious as far as the iPod market goes. Apple will still make a huge profit off them, regardless of who is making the internals - the end user doesn't really care. Certainly, this would be a bonus for Samsung, but it also offers clear benefits for Apple. By getting cozy with Samsung they likely get access to more than just an ARM-based processor. Samsung makes Hard Drives, Flash Memory, SDRAM, Smart Cards and LCDs. Getting more components from a single supplier reduces costs from a logistical perspective.

Additionally there's that rumor floating about that Apple are interested in the PDA/Portable market. Getting an ARM chip could well be a strong step towards that. They can use them in their iPods and everything, but they'd also be a very likely choice for a PDA processor. In fact, Apple used an ARM-derived chip in the Newton. You'll also see the ARM-derived XScale processor used in a myriad of modern handhelds such as the Blackberry and much of Palm's recent offerings.

csimmons
Apr 27, 2006, 01:30 AM
This makes for some strange bedfellows. Samsung not only competes in the MP3 player market, but also they are/were considered one of the top competitors to apple, as one of the few companies with the sense of style and ease of use to pull off such a move. Further, they've made statements about their intentions of gaining market share in the Asian market from apple, and those have been quite brazen and exact. Odd conflict of interests for samsung, but also a sweet situation, b/c they make money whoever wins, and they get some control over apple by being their supplier, not to mention inside info.

I don't think they'll have so much control over Apple; if something goes wrong in the partnership, Apple can always switch suppliers again, like going to Intel for iPod chips. Intel also makes chips for portable devices.

redAPPLE
Apr 27, 2006, 01:31 AM
Hoping that once the world figures out that all of the guts of the iPod are Samsung they might think more favorably towards the Samsung players?



only geeks or insiders would know what kind of proc or part is in a device.

if we could poll everybody with an iPod and ask if they know portalplayer, i would guess, only a minimum would know what portalplayer is.

csimmons
Apr 27, 2006, 01:42 AM
The more I think about this deal, the more I wonder if Apple and Samsung are not teaming up on more than just iPod chips.

I worked at the CeBIT in Hannover, Germany (the world's largest electronics trade show) six weeks ago, and Samsung was showing off some extremely cool new cell phones. I was thinking about one model in particular, the SGH-D800, that could easily be made into the fabled iPhone, with a slight design modification. Samsung is currently the world's third largest mobile phone manufacturer behind Nokia and Motorola, and pretty much have the Asian cell phone market on lockdown. Apple using Samsung to build a cell phone is a pretty big deal, if that were indeed the case.

Hmmm...

prism_emf
Apr 27, 2006, 04:29 AM
By getting cozy with Samsung they likely get access to more than just an ARM-based processor. Samsung makes Hard Drives, Flash Memory, SDRAM, Smart Cards and LCDs. Getting more components from a single supplier reduces costs from a logistical perspective.

Additionally there's that rumor floating about that Apple are interested in the PDA/Portable market. Getting an ARM chip could well be a strong step towards that. They can use them in their iPods and everything, but they'd also be a very likely choice for a PDA processor. In fact, Apple used an ARM-derived chip in the Newton. You'll also see the ARM-derived XScale processor used in a myriad of modern handhelds such as the Blackberry and much of Palm's recent offerings.

You do know that the PortalPlayer chips are based on ARM architecture too, don't you? A PortalPlayer chip is a system-on-a-chip containing two ARM cores, SRAM memory and controller plus a DMA controller. This says nothing about Apple's future plans.

That said, I really really hope the new implementation would bring gapless MP3 playback with it. We've been waiting for too long dammit! Probably not though, since there's nothing in the PP chip that would prevent this even in current players...

Agathon
Apr 27, 2006, 05:14 AM
If you've ever been to Korea, you will know that it makes most places look positively Stone-aged with respect to portable electronics. You should see some of the phones people have. North American phones look steam-powered in comparison. Of course, Samsung is one of the biggest suppliers of such phones (as it is one of the largest conglomerates in Korea).

If Apple was going to make an iPhone for the US market, the easiest thing to do would be to make a phone like the ones in Korea. It would look awesome compared to its competitors in the US. And who better than Samsung to partner with, given that Samsung will be the portable electronics giant of the next 30 years.

akhomerun
Apr 27, 2006, 06:32 AM
i think that i'd rather see apple pick portalplayer over samsung just because samsung already has business elsewhere. i hope portalplayer is diversified enough not to go under because of this. portalplayer makes a good product, i can't see samsung's chip being all that much better.

zarusoba
Apr 27, 2006, 07:02 AM
i love samsung. i really do think that they put out amazingly good products, and i'm happy to see them get more business!

Samsung alone accounts for 20% of South Korea's economy. They're too damned big.

deadturtle
Apr 27, 2006, 07:40 AM
Any chances this new chip could bring video to the next nano ?

That would be excellent...


agree, but other than size, what would be the point of buying the regular ipod?
seems like it wouldn't justify the cost at that point.

Heh, people are already complaining about video on the 2inch(ish) iPod screen. Watching video on a Nano would be like watching an animated postage stamp. A novelty at first, but really annoying not too long after... plus you can only stuff so much battery in that thing... video will totally trash play time... however that does bring up an interesting concept... eInk postage stamps... move them close to a power source (like the eZ Pass on the Thruway) and they get all animated and stuff... that would be kinda cool! Course we'd have to overcome some of the hardware issues and make the circuitry part of the stamp.. and by that time we most likely wont be using paper postage anymore anyway.. but I digress

Hattig
Apr 27, 2006, 07:57 AM
Poor PortalPlayer, it sucks to have 90% of your sales with one company that suddenly just decides to switch to a competitor. Then again Apple did make PortalPlayer, and PortalPlayer have had 5 years to diversify and increase their product range.

I don't know what the Samsung SOC will give over the PortalPlayer solutions, unless Apple need faster speeds for more intensive applications. Maybe they'll integrate a DSP for video. Maybe they're physically smaller. Maybe they're cheaper. Maybe it's part of a package, this chip for iPods, and a similar chip + phone/wireless support for a future product.

It could just be cost reduced, a ~200MHz single core ARM based product for the flash based devices that requires fewer or no support chips, that's targetted exactly for the product.

mmmbop
Apr 27, 2006, 09:44 AM
Hmmm...

Hmmm, indeed.

I like your thinking!

rockthecasbah
Apr 27, 2006, 02:22 PM
if it leads to much inproved battery life (24 hours maybe *prays* :p) then i'm happy. Apple really needs to step up the performance area of their iPods if they want to continue with their strong sales.

and no video on a nano is a really bad idea. Just use the progress for performance enhancements, not video capabilities ;).

boncellis
Apr 27, 2006, 02:38 PM
This is where Mr. Ive earns his money. ;)

If it does come down to all Samsung guts with Apple design, I'd still happily pay the difference for Mr. Ive's handiwork. I've never seen a Samsung product that I just wanted to hold in my hand.

yellowjacket
Apr 27, 2006, 08:00 PM
Since I work in the semconductor industry, how this affects manufacturing business is that Portal Player used to have the choice of going to any foundry for manufacturing their device. Now, Samsung has Apple locked in, and no other foundry can get their business. I'm guessing from the stories of how Apple got a huge discount in the past for their Nano memory, etc.from Samsung, they've probably worked this deal out back then.

Also interesting is how Apple's partners, Intel (Mactels), and Samsung (memor for ipods), aren't exactly the best of friends.

Portalplayer unfortunately fell into the "put all my eggs in one basket" problem. But if you think about it, there aren't that many clients out there that require a volume as great as Apple does!

Demon Hunter
Apr 27, 2006, 09:55 PM
I was thinking about one model in particular, the SGH-D800, that could easily be made into the fabled iPhone, with a slight design modification.

Huh? Isn't that another boring slider phone? Like we need more of those in the States. To be honest I hate the clamshell designs from Samsung, so ugly. Now if they have better-looking devices in Korea...

Samsung alone accounts for 20% of South Korea's economy. They're too damned big.

I wonder what % Apple contributes to our GNP?

The interplay between USA and South Korea, while always interesting, is nothing short of profound in this case...

bloodycape
Apr 27, 2006, 11:30 PM
Now this is getting interesting... Particularly given that Samsung has the closest thing to an iPod competitor right now. So what are they up to?
I would beg to differ on that one. I would have to say Toshiba, Cowon and Creative are all a little worse, equal to or beter in their own ways the iPod. Samsung may have nice looking players but they are average in sound and interface compared to the ones I listed. However I did have pda with samsung chips and they were exceptional in performance of video and audio. Maybe this means we can see native FLAC, OGG and WAV support.

BTW correctly me if I am wrong but isnt apple using Toshiba HDs?

Lollypop
Apr 28, 2006, 12:52 AM
I think this is purely a cost cutting measure, one more reason form samsung to give apple a discount and for apple to save money. If they get something like improved battery consumption out of this even better!