A New Dawn Approaches As Qualcomm Looks To Samsung For 14nm Chip Supplies
With the launch of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung entered a new era of mobile manufacturing. Not only did the devices feature massive design upgrades and overhauls, but debuted with Samsung's home grown, industry first, 14nm Exynos 7420 chipset, making the Galaxy S6 duo the first smartphones in the market to come with the benefits associated with the advanced manufacturing process. But with Samsung's FinFET debut, we can surely expect Apple and Qualcomm to have their replies ready soon too. And if several rumors are to be believed, then both of them might end up relying more on Samsung than they'd originally prefer.
Samsung To Reportedly Manufacture 14nm Chipsets For Apple And Qualcomm?
While Samsung did go ahead and launch its flagship devices with the 14nm Exynos 7420 on board, even after their launch, rumors and speculations remained ripe about the manufacturer's ability to completely bring them into production on mass scale. One analyst in particular, Mark Lee of Bernstein Research claims that while Samsung is able to bring 14nm chipsets into production, their yield still proves to be an issue for the South Korean giant, which has been one of the primary reasons Apple still chose to place only 40% of its A9 orders to Samsung.
If Samsung's having yield problems of its own, then it could spell trouble for the company's heavily hyped Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge launch at the start of this month. Not only this, but given alleged reports that Qualcomm's been having trouble solving the heating issues on the Snapdragon 810, then the question remains; how long will it take 14nm for smartphones to be adopted on a mass scale? Feng blog further goes on to report that TSMC itself is having problems with the 16nm yield, so looks like even Apple isn't in the clear this time around.
Looking at chipsets and manufacturing processes for smartphones, while reduced die size does end up offering significant performance and power consumption benefits, are those benefits worth it if our devices get delayed? After all, devices that run on chipsets older than this year's still do manage to run nearly everything there is to run out there. The key player in this entire puzzle is Samsung however; if the Korean manufacturer is able to solve its yield issues, then various sources suggest that Qualcomm itself might see Samsung become a supplier. Where all of this leaves ARM's dominance in core design and architecture? Only time will tell, as Samsung and Qualcomm both have plans for custom cores. Stay tuned, we'll keep you updated.