Electronics heavyweight Samsung will put quad-core silicon in its next Galaxy smartphone, upping the ante for mobile performance.

The Exynos 4 Quad integrates four processor cores and is built on the company’s cutting-edge 32-nanometer manufacturing process. The chip will run at speeds above 1.4GHz, the company said in a statement today.

As a yardstick, the third-generation iPad uses older 45-nanometer Samsung manufacturing tech and its central processing unit is dual-core (though the graphics processing unit is quad-core). And most multi-core smartphones and tablets on the market today are dual-core.

Samsung’s new chip — targeted at both tablets and smartphones — will land initially in the next Galaxy smartphone. “Already in production, the Exynos 4 Quad is scheduled to be adopted first into Samsung’s next Galaxy smartphone that will officially be announced in May,” Samsung said in a statement.

Samsung’s statement continued. “The…processor is a crucial element in providing our customers with a PC-like experience on mobile devices. Samsung’s next Galaxy device, which will be officially announced soon, offers uncompromised performance and ground breaking multi-tasking features.”

That next Galaxy phone would likely be the Galaxy S3.

Other Exynos 4 Quad highlights that presage Galaxy S3 features:

* Full-speed video: uses HD 30 frame per second video hardware codec engine for 1080p video recording and play-back; also, includes an embedded image signal processor interface for a high-quality camera and an HDMI 1.4 interface.

* Speed jump: Owing to its 32-nanometer tech, the Exynos 4 Quad has “two times the processing capability over the 45-[nanometer] process based Exynos 4 Dual while consuming 20-percent less power,” Samsung said.

* Ready to plug into new phones: Exynos 4 Quad is “pin-to-pin compatible” with the Exynos 4 Dual, allowing smartphone and tablet suppliers to adopt the new solution without additional engineering or design efforts.

* Based on ARM Cortex A9 design: Based on the current Cortex A9 tech from ARM. The latest and greatest ARM tech is called Cortex A15 but those chips won’t emerge as commercial products for a while yet.