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Qualcomm Weighing Samsung's Fab for Snapdragon 820

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Apr 21, 2015, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm might turn to competitor Samsung to make its next top-of-the-line mobile processor, reports Re/Code. Qualcomm has historically used Taiwan Semiconductor to fabricate its processors, but Samsung's capabilities are more advanced. Taiwan Semiconductor can develop chips with a 20nm process, but Samsung's chip-making foundries are able to produce chips using its 14nm process. This makes chips more efficient, more powerful, and also less expensive. The Snapdragon 820 is expected to begin sampling later this year and won't reach consumer devices until 2016. Qualcomm plans to use an in-house design for the cores, rather than relying on off-the-shelf cores from ARM as it did with the Snapdragon 810. Samsung opted to put its own Exynos processor in the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, a move that forced Qualcomm to cuts its financial forecasts for the year. Qualcomm hopes selecting Samsung to make the Snapdragon 820 will help it win back Samsung's business for future flagship smartphones, say Re/Code's unnamed sources. Neither Qualcomm nor Samsung commented on the report. Earlier this month, Re/Code reported that Apple may also jump from Taiwan Semiconductor to Samsung to make the A9 processor for the next iPhone.

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Apr 21, 2015, 4:56 PM


It surprises me that Qualcomm isn't teaming up with Intel for fabrication. Intel announced intent to produce ARM designs in 2013, certainly has similar/better capability in producing high density / low nm spacing designs, and it would seem if indeed the 820 is a proprietary design, why would you give the 'blueprint' to an established competitor like Samsung?
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