Back in April 2011, LG issued a press release saying that they licensed ARM’s Cortex A15 CPU and ARM’s Mali-T604 GPU. If those processors sound familiar to you, then chances are you’ve read about the Exynos 5250 inside the Samsung Nexus 10 and Samsung’s ARM based Chromebook. But back to LG, according to an article published in The Korea Times, LG wants to become known for their chip design abilities. They currently have over 900 people working on designing chips for both smartphones and televisions. The company’s first chip, the H13, will be unveiled at CES 2013. The H in H13 stands for Home Entertainment, the 13 stands for the year. LG doesn’t want to make their own chips however, they’re going to leave that to TSMC, who right now makes 28 nanometer chips for just about everyone, with their most famous customer being Qualcomm.
So is this a good idea or a bad idea? LG is obviously trying to become a vertically integrated player. They make their own screens, batteries, camera sensors, so why not make their own chips? The thing is, anyone can become a fabless chip company. Samsung, arguably LG’s largest competitor, not only designs their own chips, but they make them too. Considering how few smartphones LG sells every year, and how few televisions, going fabless makes sense in the beginning, but we really hope the company starts investing in chip fabrication facilities.
We hate to spoil it for you, but the H13 will pretty much be nothing but an Exynos 5250, except it’s going to built on TSMC’s 28 nanometer technology instead of Samsung’s 32 nanometer technology. What’s Samsung’s response going to be? Rumor has it that their first quad core ARM Exynos chip will be built using 28 nanometer technology, and that it will end up in the next Galaxy S. Said phone will be out in the first half of 2013.
Again, we wish LG luck, but these days it always feels like they’re playing catch up.