Samsung has shelved its project to create custom Samsung processor CPU cores, and will instead be licensing designs directly from ARM.
The news comes as part of a lay-off at their Austin research and development facility, where the company has been working on developing custom CPUs under a license from ARM Holdings.
Samsung will be laying off 290 engineers and developers, and going forward will be using ARM reference designs directly, rather than trying to improve them under license.
Despite not making the very best CPUs, some have bemoaned Samsung’s decision, noting that it is unlikely Apple, who designs their own CPU cores, will now have any direct competition. Samsung has only a few days ago announced a new Exynos 990 processor which included two powerful custom cores, two high-performance Cortex-A76 cores and four power-efficient Cortex-A55 cores and offered 20% improvement in performance over earlier versions.
The layoffs will be effective on the 31st December 2019, but the highly qualified staff are expected not to have difficulty finding new employment, and the facility will remain open.
“We have treated all employees with respect. They all have been given appropriate packages, and advanced notice,” said Michele Glaze, a spokeswoman for Samsung Austin. “These things are very tough. People always wonder, ‘did they treat them right?’ And we did. It’s unfortunate that they are losing their jobs, but it is based upon the fact that we’re always assessing our business.”
The industry will now be more dependent on ARM’s CPU roadmap. Samsung’s latest processors are based on the A76 cores. According to ARM, the next step is a 7nm processor codenamed “Deimos” following by a 7nm and 5nm processor called Hercules.
While these CPUs are expected to beat Intel’s mobile PC offerings, it remains to be seen if they will match Apple’s A14 CPU due next year.