Samsung and Qualcomm share a complicated relationship that is indicative of interdependence among competitors in the tech industry. The Korean company uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoCs in many of its products, but it also makes Exynos chipsets that compete with Qualcomm’s offerings. It doesn't stop there as Samsung Foundry also produces chipsets for some of the company’s rivals, including Qualcomm.
Samsung was Qualcomm’s preferred foundry partner for many years, but the San Diego company went with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for its first 7nm chips last year. Considering Qualcomm’s chipsets power a vast majority of Android devices, this was a significant setback for Samsung’s contract chipmaking business.
However, things may turn in Samsung’s favor once again. According to a report in The Elec, Qualcomm has turned to Samsung to produce its next flagship chipset, rumored to be the Snapdragon 865. It will be made on Samsung’s EUV-based 7nm process, with mass production slated to begin by February next year. The Korean company will kickstart initial production at its Hwaseong 17 line before adding exclusive EUV lines in September for mass production.
The report is based on industry sources and nothing is official yet. If the deal comes through, it will be a major win for Samsung Foundry and its superior fabrication technology. IBM and Nvidia have already opted for Samsung to produce their next-generation chipsets, so things are starting to look good for the world’s second-largest contract chipmaker.