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Samsung ups its smartphone game with new eight-core processor and “bendable” displays


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Matt Ablott

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LIVE FROM CES 2013: Samsung’s devices president Dr Stephen Woo opened day three of CES with a keynote address highlighting how advances in processors, memory and displays are underpinning the mobile revolution.

Woo announced a new Samsung eight-core processor called the Exynos 5 ‘octa’ – but it was a series of demos showcasing the vendor’s new “bendable” display technology that sparked the most enthusiastic audience reactions.

Woo was joined on stage by several Samsung partners, including Electronic Arts, ARM, HP and Microsoft (and some futuristic dancing girls). The keynote culminated in an appearance by former US president Bill Clinton, an ambassador for Samsung’s ‘Hope for Children’ charity.

“Our industry’s centre of gravity is mobile devices,” said Woo during his introductory comments. “And it is the components that are driving this; it’s deep inside the devices where the magic happens.”

On the processing side, Woo said that Samsung’s Exynos 5 processor is now present in some 53 million devices, powering top-of-the-range devices such as Google’s Nexus 10. Unveiling its successor – the Exynos 5 ‘Octa’ – Woo said that the vendor had delivered a “breakthrough” that manages to increase processing power but decreases power consumption at the same time.

“This delivers processing power never seen before in a mobile device, enabling heavy duty multi-tasking,” said Woo. “It is designed for high-end smartphones and tablets.”

He demonstrated a reference design powered by the new processor; it uses ARM’s ‘big/little’ processing concept, switching between ARM’s Cortex-A15 “big” processor and its Cortex-A7 “little” processor to ensure the most efficient energy consumption.

Brian Berkeley, senior VP at Samsung’s display lab, then joined Woo on stage to showcase Samsung’s new ‘YOUM’ flexible OLED screens, allowing screens to wrap around devices and be folded like paper.

“This will create a whole new ecosystem of devices featuring bendable, flexible and rollable screens,” Berkeley said.

Microsoft’s chief technical strategy officer Eric Rudder was on hand to show a prototype Windows Phone featuring one of the bendable displays.

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