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.
Intel went FinFET (or tri-gate transistors as they call them) at 22nm with Ivy Bridge, and now the #1 foundry, TSMC, and the #2 foundry, UMC, will also go to FinFET for the next gen 20 nm process. However, mass production of 20nm ARM chips will probably not happen until 2014, considering 28nm is barely here in 2012, and it usually takes 2 years for the new process technology to be ready. Apparently, the planar FinFET technology that these foundries intend to use is better suited for mobile SoC’s, like the ones from ARM, and it should bring a performance…
TSMC is the largest foundry in the world, and it’s usually the main company that Nvidia, Qualcomm and others turn to when they want their chips manufactured. As an IP vendor, ARM has to work close with TSMC, much earlier than their IP clients, so they can prepare everything for the transition to the new chip architectures and the new process technologies. While we’re currently only on 28nm/32 nm, ARM has been working with TSMC and others for the next-gen 20nm/22nm process, and also for the 14nm/15nm process, which are still many years away. As chip makers create smaller and…
By now, we all know that Qualcomm has trouble satisfying the high demand for its S4 processors, which come integrated with LTE. The Snapdragon S4 is the only chip with this feature, so most manufacturers that want to launch their phones in the USA right now have no choice but to go with Qualcomm. That includes even Samsung and their Galaxy S3 phone, although Samsung makes its own chips usually. Qualcomm doesn’t want to leave so much money on the table, knowing that the longer the chip demand is higher than the supply, the more (potential) revenue they stand to…