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Samsung, Google Take Credibility Hits
Samsung, Google Take Credibility Hits

By Seth Fitzgerald
July 31, 2013 2:27PM

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Samsung has denied all claims suggesting that the company purposely altered the Galaxy S 4 GPU's performance, saying, "The maximum GPU frequency is lowered to 480 MHz for certain gaming apps that may cause an overload, when they are used for a prolonged period of time in full-screen mode." Most analysts do not expect the accusation to hurt Galaxy S 4 sales.
 


People and companies are similar in quite a few ways, and one of the most obvious similarities is that they both "bend the truth" in order to change public opinion. Just as Steve Jobs had his reality distortion field, companies have been under the impression that if they exhibit better than they really are, consumers will be swayed.

Google was caught this week using an incomplete study from Japan to suggest that its Nexus 7 tablet was outselling the iPad, and now Samsung has been confronted with claims that the company specifically designed its Galaxy S 4 chips to perform better in benchmarks than in real-life situations.

Multiple Web sites have tested the S 4's graphics processor and found the results suspicious. Samsung responded forcefully to deny the claims it rigged its processors to perform better in certain tests.

"The maximum GPU frequencies for the Galaxy S 4 have been varied to provide optimal user experience for our customers, and were not intended to improve certain benchmark results," the company said in a statement.

The Name of the Game

To only pick on Samsung and Google would be unfair. Amazon and other tech companies also exhibit relatively frequent fibs, but if Samsung did indeed alter its GPU, then both companies have misled the public.

Unlike Samsung, Google is already guilty of reporting -- during its recent Nexus 7 update event -- that it had beaten the iPad in sales in Japan. But the study cited as the basis for those claims only accounted for 16 percent of all sales channels inside the country.

Apple's physical and online stores as well as two of the largest Japanese carriers were not included in the study conducted by Japanese research firm BCN. When IDC decided to look into the actual sales numbers more closely, it discovered that only 350,000 Nexus 7 units were sold, compared with 773,000 iPads.

Cover-Up

On the other hand, Samsung's situation is a bit more difficult to form an opinion on. First discovered by a Beyond3D forum member, the Galaxy S 4's GPU runs at 532 MHz when placed in the AnTuTu and GLBenchmark programs. This claim then suggested that the GPU was running 11 percent faster in benchmarks than in actual real-life programs.

In order to validate those findings, AnandTech -- which has always reviewed and tested products with precision -- tested the Galaxy S 4's GPU. Two researchers at AnandTech confirmed that the processor was indeed running significantly faster in benchmarks than in any other programs.

Samsung has denied all the claims suggesting that the company purposely altered the GPU's performance, saying, "The maximum GPU frequency is lowered to 480 MHz for certain gaming apps that may cause an overload, when they are used for a prolonged period of time in full-screen mode."

Whether or not Samsung is misleading consumers does not really matter, as most analysts do not expect this discovery to hurt sales, but it will change the way some people view future tests regarding Samsung products.
 

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