7nm chips are the future, and the evolution brings both a boost in performance and a lower energy consumption. The cost of manufacturing chips with 7nm technology is “prohibitive”, claims a recent report. Huawei is believed to have spent at least $300 million in developing its new 7nm Kirin 980 chip. Unnamed sources claim that other manufacturers are still not sold on whether such huge investments will pay off.
Qualcomm and MediaTek have both reportedly delayed the launch of their 7nm chips to 2019. Initially planned for 2018, 7nm technology chips from Qualcomm and MediaTek will arrive next year, with incorporated 5G solutions. Instead, the two chip makers are now focusing on enhancing their upper mid-range offerings. These are reportedly coming with new 14nm and 12nm solutions and are catering to actual demand. Instead of spending insane amounts on 7nm technology, the companies prefer to focus on upper mid-range segments that are profitable, before 5G is ready for prime-time.
TSMC and Samsung already revealed their 7nm plans. Globalfoundries placed its 7nm FinFET program on hold indefinitely. UMC has diverted the investments in a different direction, notes the report.
This all leaves Huawei as the single player out there at the moment. The first phone to feature its Kirin 980 chip will be the Mate 20 series, coming next month. The 2018 iPhones are expected to be unveiled next week with their own 7nm chips manufactured by TSMC.