Samsung is building a GPU and this has been going on for a while. We hear that the company has been trying for a while and that it managed to hire some people who used to work in distinguished companies such as Nvidia, AMD, Intel and others.
This does not come as a surprise, as poaching and head hunting happens all the time. Companies are always trying to hire talent as they can add to the value of state-of-the-art products. Samsung knows the importance of graphics APIs and GPUs and this is why it is trying to make it in house. So far the company is not ready to announce anything and it is still trying hard to make something that counts.
We have confirmation from several Silicon Valley based companies and insiders that Samsung's GPU development has been going for a few years. Bear in mind that you need at least two years to design a chip, and if this is the first time you are doing it, you probably need more.
It is hard to get things right at the first try and some observers with extensive knowledge of the GPU still remember that Nvidia’s first chip, the NV1, wasn’t the best thing around. The second Riva 128 was better and then the third generation Riva TNT was a quite good one.
The same happened to ATI in the early days as well as most other manufacturers including 3DFX, Matrox, S3 and Intel to name a few. We don’t think that Samsung will become instantly successful, but if it would the success could give Samsung the advantage that Apple currently has. It will be interesting to find out if Apple is trying to make a GPU as it did a great job with its custom SoCs. We do know for a fact that making a good GPU or even graphics API is really demanding and this is why you only have a handful companies doing them.