According to DigiTimes, Qualcomm has received chip samples from UMC. If they like them, then they’ll make UMC their second chip fab partner. So why do this now?
At the moment Samsung is responsible for making the ARM processors which power Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. Apple is seeking to find other suppliers and it looks like the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) will start trial production of Apple’s latest CPU, the A6X, which powers the fourth generation iPad.
According to various rumors the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) wants to build a new 3.2-million-square-foot factory so that it can take over ARM chip production for Apple. The move would lessen Apple’s dependence on Samsung.
According to a new report published by IC Insights, more money is going to be spent on the parts that make up mobile phones than the parts that make up personal computers in 2013. Their exact numbers: $65.1 billion will be spent on PC components next year, whereas mobile phone component spend is expected to hit $70.7 billion.
According to our favorite Taiwanese supply chain rumor website DigiTimes, here’s what we can expect in 2013: Samsung is going to jump to 20 nanometer technology while simultaneously building factories that can produce 14 nanometer transistors. TSMC is also going to make 20 nanometer chips, but production is going to start in the second half of the year.
There’s probably no greater rivalry in the mobile space right now than the one between Apple and Samsung, although one could argue that the Apple vs Google battle is also quite important for the mobile market.
Chances are that the smartphone you have in your pocket right now is powered by a chip that was made by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, TSMC for short. Qualcomm uses TSMC, NVIDIA uses TSMC, and roughly 150 other companies also depend on TSMC for their chips. According to Focus Taiwan, TSMC just broke ground on a new factory, or fab in industry parlance, that will pump out 20 nanometer chips.
Globalfoundries is a company that deals with the fabrication of chips. Companies like Qualcomm or Texas Instruments design chips, but then they have to send those designs to someone like Globalfoundries to make the physical products that handset makers then put into their devices. The chips in today’s flagship phones are made using chips that have transistors that are either 28 nanometers (Snapdragon S4) or 32 nanometers (Samsung Exynos 4 Quad) in size. Globalfoundries says they’re ready to make 14 nm chips.
In the aftermath of Apple’s big patent win against Samsung, industry observers have wondered whether it would affect the iPhone maker’s relationship with the South Korean company in terms of its supply contracts for components. In fact, our own Mike Andrici posited that Apple and Samsung are not about to divorce anytime soon, due to the mutually beneficial nature of the two companies’ supplier-client relationship. But recent rumors indicate that Apple may already be starting to look elsewhere.
While it may look like Samsung has more ways of overcoming any possible divorce issue, I’m willing to bet that neither Apple or Samsung will stop playing nice outside the courtroom for at least another year or so.