According to the managing director of Samsung’s LSI Division, Dr. Heo Kuk, the company is hoping to have chips that use the 7nm process in production by the beginning of 2018. Recently Samsung's semiconductor business has been one of the quickest to innovate, with the company starting production of chips that utilize the 10nm process back in November. The 10nm process will be used in the production of the next generation Exynos chipset that will power this year's Galaxy S8, as well as in the manufacturing of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835, to which Samsung is alleged to have exclusive rights until April. For those wondering how the company will achieve production using the 7nm process so soon, the company is expected to make use of next-generation Extreme Ultra Violet Exposure equipment in the production process.
With the introduction of the 10nm process this year, chipsets for mid-range devices now have access to the 14nm process, but if the company is successful in introducing the 7nm process by this time next year, devices that utilize the company's chips may be about to get much more efficient. The access to 7nm chips for Samsung's flagship devices would allow the company to use the current 10nm process for chips dedicated to their mid-range Galaxy A line, meaning a significant increase in both power and efficiency for its smartphones. In addition to this, the fact that the chips will be much smaller should also help the company when it comes to producing its Gear S line of wearables, a segment where size and efficiency of chips are even more crucial.
With this year's Galaxy S8, Samsung is expected to make use of its newly introduced 10nm process and, with the company expected to have chips built with the 7nm process in production by the beginning of next year, it wouldn't be surprising to see next year's Galaxy S9 feature a chip that makes use of the process. Nonetheless, there is still a way to go before the company introduces the process and there is also the possibility that the company could push back production due to unforeseen circumstances, so anything could change. With one year to go until their goal, though, and Samsung's 10nm process yet to be seen on any of its own devices yet, it still remains to be seen what the newer process means in terms of actual performance and efficiency gains, both in flagship devices and mid-range ones.