Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon speaks during its Investor Day event, Nov. 22. Captured from Qualcomm’s YouTube channel
By Kim Yoo-chul
Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon said it has chosen Samsung as the sole manufacturer of its latest Snapdragon Gen 1 mobile application processor (AP) chipsets.
Amon, who is currently in Hawaii for Qualcomm’s annual Snapdragon Tech Summit, responded “yes” to questions over his company’s renewed position on using Samsung’s 4-nanometer level technology for the production of Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile APs.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the successor to last year’s Snapdragon 888, and the first chipset to bear Qualcomm’s new naming scheme ditching the triple-digit numbering system used earlier for new, generation-based monikers. The recently released Gen 1 is featured with improved AI capabilities, security, camera technology and fifth-generation (5G) connectivity.
More interestingly, Qualcomm Senior Vice President Alex Katouzian, also serving as general manager of the company’s mobile business unit, told Korean reporters covering the event that Qualcomm decided against having Taiwan’s TSMC manufacture its chips using the 4-nanometer level processing technology. As such Samsung will be handling the entire volume of its new premium mobile AP chipsets.
Qualcomm’s traditional pricing metric uses multiple foundries to leverage chip pricing. With Qualcomm, Apple is also complying strictly with its own “multiple vendor strategy,” with the iPhone designer letting both Samsung and TSMC produce customized chips based upon its idiosyncratic specifications and requests.
But some officials said that behind Qualcomm’s selection of Samsung in the latest deal is TSMC’s accelerated focus on making customized chips for Apple. Samsung’s foundry service unit is said to have lost its status as a leading foundry service provider for the production of Nvidia’s next-generation graphic processing unit (GPU) chips. On a related note, the world’s top semiconductor firm Intel is still behind in 7-nanomter technology and also lacks the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography equipment throughput to accommodate Qualcomm.
Samsung finalized its ambitious plan recently to construct another foundry chip-producing factory in Taylor, Texas, located a few miles from its existing foundry chip-making plant in Austin.Internet Explorer Channel Network