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 improvement of at least 15%-20% over Intel’s own FinFET [...]
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 lose. We’ve heard persistent rumors that Qualcomm is looking to diversify its manufacturing [...]
According to the Chinese Commercial Times (quoted by Digitimes), Qualcomm has struck a deal with Taiwan’s United Microelectronics for manufacturing 28nm Snapdragon S4 systems on a chip (SOC). If the paper is to be believed, UMC will start volume production during Q4 2012, and is expected to manufacture 3000-5000 wafers for Qualcomm during the quarter.
This news comes of no surprise, as it’s well known that the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is currently struggling to keep up with Qualcomm’s demand, a situation that has forced both Qualcomm (as well as Android device manufacturers) to swap the S4 chip found inside some Android devices with the older S3 SoC, [...]