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Report – Qualcomm drops Samsung in favour of rival TSMC for 7nm chips

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 has been used in all manner of flagship devices this year, including the pre-eminent Galaxy S8 in some territories.

Based on the latest 10nm process, the chip is a top-of-the-range offering, but Qualcomm is looking to outdo itself next year, reportedly eyeing up the even more efficient 7nm process.

And while Samsung’s own manufacturing arm produced the Snapdragon 835, a new report claims Qualcomm will drop Samsung in favour of rival firm TSMC for its next chipset.

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TSMC is said to be much further along in developing the 7nm process than Samsung, which has reportedly – and not surprisingly – affected Qualcomm’s decision.

As Fudzilla reports, Qualcomm is said to have been working on its next-generation 7nm Snapdragon AP since the second half of 2016, using chip development tools from TSMC.

Snapdragon 660 630
The Snapdragon 660 and 630

Samsung, on the other hand, has lagged behind its rival in the development of the 7nm technology, as TSMC decided to skip the 10nm process in favour of getting a head-start on the more efficient process.

Qualcomm is said to be planning a late 2017, early 2018 time frame for mass production of the 7nm chips to begin.

If accurate, the news is another blow for Samsung, which recently lost its contract with Apple to manufacture processors for iPhones.

The company has announced it’s added an 8nm process between the 7nm and 10nm technologies, with the firm’s own upcoming Exynos chipset upgrade said to be based on this intermediate process.

Samsung isn’t expected to start manufacturing its own 7nm chips until late 2018, following its decision to focus on the 10nm process.

The decision was reportedly based on the belief that the 10nm process would last longer than it has. Either way, things aren’t looking good for the company’s chip-making arm – although it will continue to produce Qualcomm’s 10nm processors and modem chips for the time being.

Let us know what you think of Qualcomm’s reported decision in the comments.

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