In a huge contrast from previous generations, reports are surfacing stating that Qualcomm will partner with Samsung to manufacture the future Snapdragon 820 processor. This time around the mobile processors out of Qualcomm will be produced entirely at Samsung’s in house facilities. For past-generation mobile processors, Qualcomm has relied heavily on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and a few other foundries for its manufacturing contracts. It would appear that with recent advances, Samsung has gained an advantage over TSMC and other players in the industry by shifting to a smaller 14-nanometer manufacturing process. The 14-nanometer transistors compared with the 20-nanometer counterparts at TSMC will lower manufacturing costs as well as operating power consumption of the chips.
Ever since Samsung decided to drop Qualcomm as its mobile processor supplier for the Samsung Galaxy S6 in the United States, Qualcomm’s latest chip has been in direct competition with Samsung over performance and quality. With the Samsung Galaxy S6 powered by the Korean company’s in-house Exynos processor, Qualcomm was forced to slash its financial outlook for 2015 showing significant projected declines in revenue. Even though Qualcomm will still power many other flagships, like the HTC One and the LG G Flex 2 with the Snapdragon 810, Samsung represented a huge percentage of their business. It is reported that Qualcomm hopes to win back its Samsung partnership in 2016 with the Snapdragon 820 and the shift to Samsung factories and manufacturing processes.
This represents a huge shift in the mobile processing industry and the fact that in order to be competitive, the absolute latest and greatest technologies are a must. There have even been reports that Apple is planning to manufacture the A9 mobile processor at Samsung facilities. While allowing competing companies to utilize its improved manufacturing process takes a slight advantage away from Samsung phones, it will greatly bolster profits for Samsung’s chip-making business. Still, Qualcomm will only benefit from this partnership by potentially increasing their revenue while lowering manufacturing costs as well. For the Snapdragon 820, Qualcomm also plans to utilize its own processing core in place of the outside design the Snapdragon 810 contained. With these changes the Snapdragon 820 will surely be a huge step up in terms of performance and power consumption.