Qualcomm has been using TSMC’s foundries for its mobile processors. But Samsung’s foundries, which utilizes a 14-nanometer process, are building better chips. A new report reveals Qualcomm’s plans to create its next-generation chip at Samsung’s foundries.
Qualcomm is reportedly planning to build its next-generation Snapdragon 820 processor at Samsung’s foundries, sources told Re/code. If the report is true, then Qualcomm’s bold move will break tradition—the American semiconductor company manufactures its cutting-edge chips at the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), perhaps the world’s biggest independent semiconductor foundry, and other foundries.
Sources familiar with Qualcomm’s plans said that Samsung’s 14-nanometer wiring technology is the reason why the Snapdragon 820 will be manufactured there. Apparently, Samsung’s 14-nanometer wiring creates smaller and cheaper chips, unlike the 20-nanometer process used by companies like TSMC. Moreover, chips using the 14-namometer process have better battery performance.
In fact, Samsung uses the same high-tech process on its latest Exynos chip, which now powers the Galaxy S6. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 has been sidelined by Samsung’s Exynos chips, forcing the chipmaker to cut its financial expectations this year. Although Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 is currently powering the HTC One and the LG Flex 2, missing the Galaxy S6 is still a big blow to the company.
By using Samsung’s foundries, Qualcomm hopes to develop a better, energy-efficient chip in the Snapdragon 820, while providing power for Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy smartphone. According to chip industry analyst Patrick Moorhead, Samsung’s foundries are the hottest thing going. “This is a great example of ‘co-opetition,’” he said. Meanwhile, Qualcomm and Samsung did not comment on the report.
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