Samsung claims to have won contract for next-gen Apple iPod chip design

“Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on Wednesday claimed that the company grabbed a major MP3 chip design win at Apple Computer Inc. — at the expense of PortalPlayer Inc. An executive from Samsung said that the company won the MP3 media processor business for Apple’s next-generation iPods. Samsung, along with other vendors, also supplies NAND flash-memory chips for the iPod as well,” Mark LaPedus reports for EE Times. “It’s a huge win for Samsung — and a blow for PortalPlayer. Last week, PortalPlayer said that it had been dealt a major setback at Apple, which is apparently switching media processor chip vendors in its iPod lines.”

“At the SEMI Strategic Business Conference on Wednesday, Samsung disclosed that it won the iPod business. ‘I knew PortalPlayer would take a dive,’ said Jon Kang, senior vice president for the technical marketing group at Samsung Semiconductor Inc.,” LaPedus reports. “Kang referred to the company’s chip as the ‘PortalPlayer killer.’ Samsung’s chip is based on 32-bit processor technology from ARM Holdings plc. In a brief interview after the presentation, the Samsung executive said the design win represents Samsung’s largest LSI chip order to date. ‘We’ve been working with Apple a long time,’ he said. ‘It’s a huge win for us.’”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, how does this help Samsung take the top spot in music players from Apple by 2007? Or has that fantasy of Samsung’s already lapsed?

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Related articles:
PortalPlayer announces product not selected by Apple for iPod use – April 19, 2006
Samsung: we will take top spot in music players from Apple by 2007 – January 09, 2006


  1. I like the comment that this “represents Samsung’s largest LSI chip order to date”

    Samsung makes a lot and sells a lot to other vendors. For this deal to be the biggest for Samsung, it shows how successful the iPod has become.

  2. Point well taken about Samsung making a better chip for themselves. How are they to be trusted? I just saw an ad for their new player in downtown Toronto claiming everything from better battery life, better interface, better options…. better than they didn’t say.

  3. Cue the Newton conspiracists in 3…2…

    Remember that the Newton used an ARM processor. So the next iPod will have PDA capabilities like the Newton!

    Better yet, Apple will create a “Boot Camp” for the iPod so you can boot NewtonOS…

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” />

  4. Samsung makes cheap crap, expect problems

    But then again so does Intel, but that didn’t stop Apple.

    Oh where oh where has the quality gone?

    Oh where oh where can it be?

    Soon Mac’s will be no better than Dells

    From where devils dance at the halls of Redmond.


    Apple Computer, using new Samsung chips, just released a new beta version of an iPod driver called ‘Beat Camp’. If you press the Select button on startup you can choose amongst iPod, Creative and Dell interfaces. These are the full versions suitable for playing all music from all stores including protected WMA files. Apple announced it will not sell WMA songs but “will not prohibit someone from installing them”. This is seen as a major coup as soon the iPod will be the only media player available for sale in France and eventually the whole of the European Union as it the only player that can play songs purchased from all music stores.

    ; ^ O

  6. If my memory serves me correctly, it’s not so long ago that Samsung pre-sold a huge proportion of their flash memory chips to Apple. Other Korean MP3 player manufacturers weren’t best-pleased with this and the outcome was that the Korean government announced that they would be investigating the arrangement. As far as I can see, it was a fuss about nothing and it fizzled out, but the fact remains that their government did get unduly interested with what should have been a straightforward commercial arrangement.

    Whatever Samsung thinks about this new deal, they still have to live within the Korean political system. I hope that Steve Jobs has been shrewd enough to negotiate substantial penalty clauses if Samsung is in any way unable to deliver, or prevented from delivering the goods.

    I have no doubt that Samsung are delighted with this deal, but I do wonder whether their local rivals might try to derail the arrangement by leaning on their friends in high places. It’s clearly in Korea’s interests that they should build 100% of the runaway market leading player, rather than 100% of one of the also-ran players that are jostling to get scraps of the remaining 15% of the market.

  7. Interesting that Apple have gone with Samsung for an ARM based chip instead of Intel, certainly shows that Apple isn’t Intel’s bitch like many seems to think.

    The move to an ARM processor certainly seems to suggest that the next iPod will have more power. I would expect that the next generation iPod will have much more advanced PDA features, and maybe even a API that allows third party programs to be installed on the iPod, transforming it into a full Newton replacement.

    Hopefully they’ll include a microphone in the headset as well, and put Wifi/VOIP into the iPod, then we have a killer app for the next gen iPod.

  8. Firstly, whoever said that “Samsung makes cheap crap” is very far from the truth. I have two Samsung TV’s (one a DLP HDTV), and a Samsung cell phone and they are all excellent products. I would not hesitate to recommend a Samsung DLP to anyone looking for a HDTV; the picture quality is astoundingly beautiful. Their cell phones are nice too… easy to operate with good reception and a nice overall feel to them. None of their products that I own feels cheap at all.

    Secondly, the website lists all previous iPod models from the 1st Gen. to the 5th Gen. as having ARM7 processors. Now, I don’t know if this information is correct or not, but perhaps they’ve always been using ARM processors, and are just switching to a different vendor. This would mean that there will be no discernible speed change at all. In fact, there might not be any change in speed or capability of the processor at ALL. This all assumes that is correct, and it is possible that they aren’t.


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