After a hot two years, Samsung will not be making a flagship Qualcomm system-on-a-chip starting from the wee end of this year.
Fudzilla reports that the San Diego-based semiconductor has opted for Apple-favored Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to produce chipsets based on a 7nm architecture — the upcoming Snapdragon 845’s design is said to be based on the die. In fact, TSMC has been providing tools to Qualcomm for the new fabrication since the second half of last year.
Samsung’s contract loss comes on top of TSMC’s newfound manufacturing monopoly over Apple’s A-series processors.
Part of it comes down to each company’s strategy: Samsung was pushing for 10nm transistors as a long-term solution, for the IC sector was coming up against Moore’s Law. However, TSMC has been gunning to leapfrog down from 14nm to 7nm, skipping 10nm as it saw little demand for it. Samsung has since tried catch-up by announcing an intermediate 8nm process as a one-up on the 10nm process. 7nm would involve a heavily-revised fabrication process for Samsung.
TSMC has about a year’s advantage on Samsung at this point in developing for 7nm.