Qualcomm Runs the Table at Samsung Unpacked 2023

By Patrick Moorhead - July 31, 2023

The Six Five team discusses Qualcomm at Samsung Unpacked 2023.

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Daniel Newman: You were over in South Korea for Samsung Unpacked, and one of your big observations was that Qualcomm had quite a show.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, it was pretty incredible. Let me first talk about, I spent the week with Samsung, really got unprecedented access. Met with some of the top line leaders, the leader of the mobile business, T.M. Row, the chief executive officer for North America, which is their largest geo, the leader of Cross Business experiences. It’s one thing to look at a press release, look at a video, it’s another thing to go to the corporate headquarters. First of all, the largest semiconductor company that’s out there, and next to Apple, the largest consumer electronics company. I toured facilities that were deemed previously super secret, and quite frankly, Samsung needed to open up a little bit. You have people invited to Apple spaceship, now you get very manicured. I’ve been to the spaceship before, it’s cool, but it’s very processed. I ate lunch with employees at Samsung HQ and the quality of it really reminded me of a Google, Microsoft type of campus.

Young people, the energy that was there, workout rooms, ping pong tables, resource groups. It was super, super impressive. But, there was a major announcement and Samsung brought out the Galaxy Z Flip five, the Galaxy Z Fold five and the Galaxy Tab S nine series, and they also brought out a Watch six, but the big surprise was that Qualcomm was in the Tab S nine. Now, there’s always rumors you’re seeing of “Oh, on the smartphone they’re going to go back and Samsung’s going to put their own silicon in it,” after this big strategic announcement that Samsung and Qualcomm made about a year ago. But, Qualcomm ran the table with the top two foldable smartphones.

It’s also great to see… Met up with Alex Gaussian who runs the Mobile XR PC and Wearables business there. Also had a good time, I spent some time with Keter Kundap, which we both know runs the PC business. It is fun when you’re 24 hours away and you bump into people that you knew in the US. It was interesting. Again, this is home field advantage for Samsung, this is not a Qualcomm announcement, but when they announced that Snapdragon was going into the tablet, everybody cheered. These weren’t influencers from Qualcomm. These were people who are super excited to get that level of technology in there.

One thing I wanted to point out about the foldables was everybody’s talking about this a hundred million unit for foldables, and again, kind of squishy, is it 2025, ’26, ’27? It likely precipitates or is based a little bit upon Apple getting into it. But, I got to tell you man, these devices, every generation is just getting better, and I can see, not just based on price point, although the price point of the Flip is amazing, the more people using it and all the research that I’ve seen suggested, this is the one thing that Samsung is doing, that is pulling people over, from the Apple ecosystem.

Daniel Newman: Look, this is a little bit exclusive to what I was able to see from afar, but what I can say Pat is, Samsung in Qualcomm is a very, very promising partnership, and while it’s obviously sometimes tough when you’re Samsung to take the L on Exynos and acknowledge it, I think the Snapdragon silicon in their devices make some very, very powerful devices. Now, watching you from afar, I got to admit I was a little jealous. Seeing you play with these new… Getting your hands on some of these new foldables. I have one here, crease is pretty darn fat. See that crease?

Patrick Moorhead: I do. That means you must be using it then.

Daniel Newman: I hear it’s getting better, but I’m really… I still use this 21, still really like it, big fan. So look, sometimes it makes sense. It’s the same thing we saw with Apple, Pat. I mean the iPhones worked better with the Qualcomm soaking in it. It just did, and that was not Samsung, but it was Intel. But at the time, sometimes you got to acknowledge when you’ve got the right partnerships and the right solutions. I think Samsung plus Qualcomm makes a really good marriage. I won’t lie though, I am glad I didn’t go. I’m not upset to not be jet-lagged, I’m not upset to have spent my time here, gallivanting around New York and seeing my giant melon on TV, talking about Google earnings. So, let’s go ahead and-

Patrick Moorhead: I mean, the victory laps, I felt like I was there with you.

Patrick Moorhead
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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.