Qualcomm has reportedly turned to Samsung for making its upcoming Snapdragon processors, likely including the Snapdragon 855’s successor, according to reporting by Korean media outlet Theelec on June 8th.
The new Snapdragon flagship processor dubbed the Snapdragon 865 will commence production in late 2019 on a Samsung EUV-based 7nm process for better efficiency and performance.
In comparison, the rumored Huawei Kirin 985 chip — which should position itself as a direct competitor to the upcoming Snapdragon top-dog — also reported using a similar process at TSMC. But, Theelec claims Samsung was the first company in the world to complete a new EUV 7nm process, which may explain why Qualcomm ditched TSMC.
Moreover, the decision to shift production orders from Taiwan to South Korea may not come as a total surprise since Samsung is a proven chip maker and Qualcomm knows it.
A stroll down memory lane shows Samsung made the retired Snapdragon 835 and 845 flagships using FinFET 10nm nodes. Even though TSMC seized the Snapdragon 855 order in 2018, Samsung still manufactures the midrange Snapdragon 730 on an 8nm LPP process.
That said, if the report is accurate, Qualcomm’s return marks a significant victory for Samsung’s silicon foundry.