Recently Qualcomm unveiled its next-generation 5G modem chips Snapdragon X65 and Snapdragon X62 — 5G modem chips are a semiconductor that transmits and receives data in 5G smartphones.
Qualcomm is, of course, a fabless chip maker, in that it stops with design while the actual production is carried out by contract manufacturing companies.
It has now emerged that Qualcomm will outsource the production of Snapdragon X65 and its sub-model X62 to Samsung Electronics’ foundry division.
The production deal is said to be worth around one trillion Korean won (roughly $910 million.)
Samsung will manufacture Qualcomm’s core chips again after earlier snapping the deal for the Snapdragon 888 in 2020.
To be available from late 2021
Qualcomm is now supplying prototype Snapdragon X65 to smartphone makers, and the chip will be commercially available by the latter part of the year. The Snapdragon X65 will likely be used by Apple in future generation iPhones.
The Snapdragon X65 is the first 5G chip that will be produced through a 4-nm micro-process. It offers a 10Gbps data transfer speed, 100 times faster than an LTE modem chip.
Snapdragon X62 5G is also for mainstream adoption of mobile broadband applications.
Only Samsung Electronics and its Taiwanese rival TSMC currently have the technology roadmap for 4nm process technology.
Samsung’s Foundry Division has already announced that its “4nm 1st generation process development is in progress, and 2nd generation 4nm process technology development is accelerated.”
5 or 4 nm refers to the line width — the gap between the transistor gates. The thinner the line width, the more compact, low-power, and high-performance semiconductors can be produced.
Samsung as a chip-maker is making much inroads in the US market.
Aside from the orders from Qualcomm, Samsung, last year, secured a deal for manufacturing IBM’s POWER10 chips for next-generation servers. It has also received an order to make Nvidia’s new RTX 300 series graphics processing units.