Qualcomm turns to TSMC to meet their 3nm Snapdragon needs so as to give Android phones a fighting chance against Apple's Phone 15
A new supply chain report claims that Qualcomm has given the foundry order for its 3-nanometer (nm) application processor launching next year exclusively to TSMC which is a major setback for Samsung. Qualcomm made the decision to rely on TSMC more than Samsung as the latter is facing yield problems for its advanced process nodes.
The decision by Qualcomm to switch to TSMC is a critical blow to the Samsung Foundry as it has already lost the foundry order for Nvidia’s 7nm graphic card to TSMC last year.
Samsung's contract chip-making business unit, is seeing a yield rate of around 35% for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, while the yield rate for Exynos 2200 is even lower than this, they added.
The higher yield on Snapdragon compared to Exynos was due to Qualcomm sending an executive and engineers to Samsung Foundry’s production site, which helped with solving some of the problems. For more on this, read the full report by The Elec.
It would be safe to say that Qualcomm's team that visited the Samsung Foundry regarding this yield issue, made the call that the Samsung's Foundry problems weren't going to be resolved in time for mass production of 3nm Snapdragon chips for Android phones set for Q2 2023.
Qualcomm panicked when Apple introduced their advanced M1 Processor pushing them to acquire Nuvia Last January. Qualcomm's new CEO claimed that they would have a laptop chip to compete with Apple's M1 in 2022. However, it appears that it's going to only debut sometime in 2023.
Allowing Apple to once again get the jump on them with a 3nm chip powering the iPhone 15 was motive enough for the Qualcomm executive team to make the decision to switch to TSMC. It's bad enough that the iPhone 13 clobbered Samsung's Galaxy S22 Ultra in recent benchmark testing, it's another to have the Snapdragon chip a generation behind the 3nm iPhone 15. That would have been a colossal disaster.