Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) -- the world's largest smartphone maker -- designs the system-on-a-chip for its smartphones in-house, much like its rival Apple, Inc. (AAPL). Samsung's chip line -- the Exynos -- has struggled, despite Samsung being a top leader in mobile chip manufacturing (Samsung manufactures Apple's latest and greatest A7, the brains of the iPhone 5S).
I. Exynos 5 Struggles -- is the Third Time the Charm?
The Exynos 5 Dual Core (Exynos 5250) is featured in the Nexus 10 and other products, but it showed surprisingly poor performance, getting beat by Apple's A5X and A6X dual-core chips. Its successor -- the Exynos 5 Octa Core (Exynos 5410) -- promised to shift that, but was bogged down with cache design issues, which seriously limited the potential of its big.LITTLE core design.