Qualcomm wins back Samsung semiconductor business

After a year on the sidelines, Qualcomm Inc. has won back the key semiconductor slot in Samsung Electronics Co.'s latest flagship smartphones.

The San Diego company said that its Snapdragon 820 processor will power Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones sold in select markets, such as the United States.

Samsung will use its own Exynos processor in Galaxy S7 models sold in South Korea and some other countries.

The announcement at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday was expected but still welcome news for Qualcomm. Samsung is the world's largest maker of Android handsets, shipping nearly 325 million devices last year, according to industry research firm International Data Corp. It is a longtime Qualcomm customer.

Last year, Samsung ditched Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 integrated applications processor/cellular radio from all of its top-tier Galaxy S6 smartphones, contributing to a 30% plunge in Qualcomm's stock.

Qualcomm has made it a priority to recapture Samsung's business, fixing last year's performance and power consumption deficiencies with the new line of Snapdragon 820 processors.

Last year "was a big loss in terms of units," said Jim McGregor, head of Tirias Research. "This deal means more revenue for Qualcomm, and it helps rebuild that relationship with Samsung."

Qualcomm said the Snapdragon 820 is being designed into more than 100 models of new devices coming to market. LG also announced at Mobile World Congress that it would use the Snapdragon 820 in its G5 smartphones.

Last year, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 processor fell out of favor with Samsung in part because it wasn't as power efficient as Samsung's Exynos chip.

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mike.freeman@sduniontribune.com

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A version of this article appeared in print on February 24, 2016, in the Business section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Qualcomm wins back Samsung" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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