The mobile chipset business is absolutely booming right now, and because of that there’s been some incredible innovation going on over just the last 6 months alone. Back in August we saw the jump from 28nm chipsets, which have been made for a while now, down to 20nm in Samsung’s newest Exynos that powered their big Fall 2014 release phones like the Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge. Just last month we saw the jump down to 16nm at TSMC and it seemed like that might be the next big manufacturing process to build chips on in the coming new year. Now we find out that Samsung has moved on from 20nm and is ramping up production of 14nm chips in its stead, an incredible feat no matter what time frame you look at here.
These new chips are being built in its new 14nm FinFET facility which is directly aimed at competing with Taiwan-based TSMC and their 16nm chipsets unveiled last month. These new 14nm chipsets are set to boast 35 percent energy savings over the 20nm chips that Samsung has been producing all while performing 20 percent faster and taking up 15 percent less space. That’s all in a day’s work for chip process shrinking and it’s important as chip makers continually pile on the transistors and make these chips more and more complex, which would normally cause power drain to go up as well as heat production.
At this point it’s not 100 percent clear who Samsung will be selling these chips to but given that Samsung produces chipsets for some of the biggest manufacturers in the world, we’ve got some good ideas. Samsung has the contract for the next-generation Apple chipset, likely called the A9, and will power the next round of iPhone and iPad devices. This comes as the two companies have decided to play nice in the litigation arena and continue with business as usual. There’s also the distinct possibility that the S1 chip that powers the Apple Watch could be using this process too. Focusing more on the Android side of things we may see the 14nm process used on the next-generation Qualcomm chips after the Snapdragon 810 as well, as Qualcomm and Samsung have made a deal to develop those together. Mobile tech isn’t slowing down anytime soon and looking at the chipset wars only confirms that.