Qualcomm to work with Samsung on 28nm production

/ 4 years ago

Qualcomm is currently experiencing shortages of particular 28nm Snapdragon mobile chips. The reason being is TSMC just can’t keep up with demand, which isn’t surprising given the fact AMD and Nvidia both rely on TSMC for 28nm production as well. Qualcomm’s partner HTC has now had to start swapping out the new S4 Snapdragon chip on some phones for the older S3 chip just to be able to keep producing phones. Qualcomm has now made the wise decision to start looking to other foundries for 28nm production to ease their shortages.

The first candidate for Qualcomm is UMC, United Micro Electronics, even though they have less production capacity than TSMC, they still have 10 production facilities worldwide. Without being stretched by demand for the likes of AMD and Nvidia it seems likely UMC will have no trouble in offering Qualcomm some additional capacity. Although, UMC say they hope to start 28nm production by Q4 this year, meaning supply shortage relief is still a few months away. However, UMC currently produces 28nm chips for Texas Instruments so the 28nm process at UMC will surely be well refined by October.

Samsung is the second candidate for Qualcomm. Currently Samsung already produce 28nm chips for their own smartphones (the exynos line) and for Apple’s iPhone/iPad range so could end up providing most of the mobile markets processors should Qualcomm rely on them too.

The overall trend for the market is still disappointing and many big companies (AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm…) will be counting on the big foundries (UMC, TSMC, Samsung, Global Foundries…) to significantly raise 28nm yields before demand rapidly outstrips supply.