Following rumours that Samsung planned to shut down its Austin, Texas-based CPU team, the South Korean company has officially done so.
According to The Statesman, Samsung filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) letter notifying Texas that 290 employees will be laid off as part of the shutdown of its CPU unit. The layoffs will reportedly go into effect on December 31st.
Samsung confirmed the news to Android Authority, saying it decided to transition part of its U.S. research and development teams in Austin and San Jose, California. It made the decision “based upon a thorough assessment of our System LSI [large scale integration] business and the need to stay competitive in the global market.”
Samsung says it remains committed to its U.S. workforce.
The company’s Austin CPU team was behind its custom Mongoose CPU cores primarily used in Exynos processors. Samsung started using its Mongoose cores in 2016 with the Exynos 8890 in the Galaxy S7.
However, the Exynos chips often weren’t quite as powerful as comparable Qualcomm processors. For example, the Exynos variant of the S10 performed better in single-core scenarios, but the Snapdragon version had better multi-core scores.
If Samsung does abandon its custom CPUs, the company will likely adopt ARM CPUs or semi-custom versions of them. Huawei uses ARM CPUs in its flagship devices, and Qualcomm uses tweaked versions or ARM cores to build its 800-series Snapdragon processors.
Considering Samsung announced plans to work with AMD to develop mobile GPUs a few months ago, the company likely isn’t entirely abandoning its custom components yet.