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Qualcomm to Turn to Samsung to Produce Next-Generation Snapdragon 820 Processor

April 21, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

 

Samsung might be known for producing great smartphones like the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note line, with the new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge turning heads, but they’re also known for producing the components that go into producing smartphones and tablets. For a long time now, the South Korean giant has been the major player in AMOLED displays for mobile, producing their own Super AMOLED displays for the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note devices. They’ve also been designing and producing their own Exynos ARM-based processors for some years now, and while they haven’t received the same sort of mainstream success as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, they’ve finally broken through with the Galaxy S6.

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge will be powered by an Exynos 5420 all over the world, breaking the trend of Qualcomm powering the Galaxy S flagships in the West. The driving force behind this decision from Samsung was that Samsung Semiconductor’s 14-nanometer production process results in a smaller, more efficient processor that generations less heat. Meanwhile, Qualcomm’s first octa-core CPU, the Snapdragon 810 has been built using a 20-nanometer process and struggles with heat issues. Now, there’s word that Qualcomm will turn to Samsung to help them produce the next-generation Snapdragon 820, said to be a return to form for the San Diego firm.

Rather than choose TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor) as they have in the past, Qualcomm is said to be working with Samsung as they have the upper-hand on the industry when it comes to 14nm production. Whether or not this means the next Galaxy S or Galaxy Note device from Samsung will feature a Qualcomm processor remains to be seen. Using an Exynos processor has a lot of benefits for Samsung, after all they can target better for hardware they’ve created for themselves, but Qualcomm have proven their Snapdragon line to be an excellent processor for 4G LTE networks, thanks to the built-in modems. The Exynos 5420 has to rely on a modem elsewhere on the device’s board and this adds cost to the overall build. Either way, it looks like Samsung’s wish to become a big player in the semiconductor market looks set to come true.