Late last week, Statesman reported that Samsung shut down the CPU at one of its R&D facilities in Austin and laid off 290 employees. This confirms month-old leaks that the company downsized the CPU design branch, which was responsible for Samsung's internal Exynos chipset.

has used a custom design based on an ARM license. Like some chips from Qualcomm and Apple, Samsung chose to create their own custom "custom" cores, (apparently boosting performance / customizing for their particular applications) rather than sticking to ARM's licensed Cortex designs like Huawei and MediaTek. Also note that Samsung has recently licensed some graphical technology from AMD to improve GPU performance in future chipset.

Although we do not have explicit confirmation that all of the laid off employees were specifically tied to chipset design, and we do not know what specific responsibilities the Austin Research Center may have had, the statesman has confirmed that the "Central Processing Unit Project" at the Austin Research Center will be laid down.

Earlier, the leaky Ice universe claimed that the "Mongoose" design team should be laid off without completely killing its own CPU design. Instead, the company would develop a newer, more efficient architecture, though analysts and others have recently speculated that Samsung could switch its Exynos products all the way to the ARM reference design for CPU, as it did with the upcoming Exynos 980.

With so few details known, the news of closure and layoffs honestly raises more questions than it answers. We have contacted Samsung for more information on the future of Exynos chip sets, and we will be sure to update our coverage as we know more.