After a successful partnership with Samsung in the past years Qualcomm will not renew the deal for the future Snapdragon 855 processor that might get a lot of attention after its predecessor hit the notebook market.
Even though this was not official news it doesn’t come as a big surprise. TSMC was ahead of Samsung with its 7nm process and already won some contracts over Samsung. With those hits Samsung chose to focus more on the EUV process to be back in the game next year. With the need for technical advancements in the chip industry no manufacturer can keep idle for long. To put this into perspective: The dominating process 2008 was 45 nm. Current desktop processors employ a 14 nm process with 10 nm to follow next year. The current Snapdragon 835 is already using a 10 nm process. Being behind by just a year in this always evolving market can influence the profit of a manufacturer big time so it might be a wise choice for Samsung to not try and catch up but jump ahead to the next process and not repeat Intels mistakes. Not so long ago Intel was ahead of other manufacturers by more than a year when it came to facbrication processes. But right now, with a transition to even 10nm still missing for its desktop segment, the tables have turned.
With this deal TSMC now has another big deal to celebrate after already producing the well known A series chips for Apples current iPhones and taking over Samsung share of the production after the A9 chip. But the reports also state that this deals days are numbered as Samsungs efforts (and free time they are not using optimizing the first 7nm version) to perfect their own EUV process next year means that Qualcomm will switch back as soon as it’s ready for mass production.