Qualcomm may get Samsung’s help making the Snapdragon 820
The Snapdragon 810 may be the system-on-a-chip powering the hot new smartphones of the moment – devices like the just-launched Sony Xperia Z4 – but the next big thing is already around the corner, and early last month Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 820. The big news for that chip sounded like it would be Qualcomm’s move away from off-the-shelf Cortex A-series cores and to Qualcomm’s custom Kyro microarchitecture, but we didn’t have a ton of technical details at the time. As more information comes to light, there’s a new report out that Qualcomm could be turning to a sometimes-competitor for help bringing the 820 to market, enlisting Samsung to fabricate the SoC.
While Qualcomm has had TSMC fabricate much of its silicon in the past, for the 820 the company reportedly wants to use a 14nm process, while TSMC is still set up for 20nm. Samsung, on the other hand, has already made the transition to 14nm, as we saw with the Exynos 7 Octa 7420 in the new Galaxy S6. That makes it an obvious candidate for Qualcomm to turn to as it gets ready to start providing 820 samples to manufacturers.
Between this, Samsung’s own Exynos SoC efforts, and word that Samsung might produce the A9 chip powering the next generation of iOS devices, Samsung’s fabrication business could end up having one hell of year.