Irony: Samsung to start making Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips

Qualcomm is what’s known as a fabless company. Their engineers sit in front of computers all day designing chips that someone else then has to physically make. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, better known as TSMC, has been making Qualcomm’s chips since the beginning of time, but these days they’re having issues feeding Qualcomm’s demand. What’s Qualcomm to do? According to EE Times, the answer is to sign deals with additional chip makers. They say that Qualcomm now has agreements with United Microelectronics, better known as UMC, and Samsung, one of their fierest competitors. UMC will start making 28 nanometer Snapdragon S4 chips as early as Q4 of this year, and as for Samsung … the terms of that deal haven’t been revealed.

Let’s forget about UMC for a second and focus on Samsung. Samsung, the company who is presumed to have made between 48 million and 52 million smartphones during Q2 2012, makes their own chips under the “Exynos” brand. Most of Samsung’s smartphones use said Exynos chips, but something funny happens to Samsung handsets sold in North America. Due to the requests from operators, Samsung swaps out their Exynos chips for Qualcomm’s chips. Why? Because Qualcomm has proven that they can provide bulletproof support for 4G LTE in the 700 MHz band.

To put it another way, Samsung hates Qualcomm because they’re stealing business from them in one of the largest smartphone markets on the face of the planet. The fact that Samsung is now making Qualcomm chips is not just ironic, it’s downright insane. We would love to know what the contract between those two companies stipulates, but chances are those details are never going to be known to the public.

Anyway, at the end of the day what this means for you is that there are going to be more Qualcomm S4 Snapdragon chips available, which means more smartphones with incredible performance, great battery life, and the ability to use a 4G LTE network.

  • Joey Mauro

    Irony? Isn’t that something you do to a wrinkled shirt?

    • Please visit your local library and locate a dictionary.

      • Joey Mauro

        Ironing – the act or process of smoothing or pressing clothes, linens, etc., with a heated iron.

        • Don’t be a dick. It never pays off.

          •  Tell that to Ron Jeremy.

          • Joey Mauro

            Remove a comment that outwits you, yet doesn’t cross any political, racial, or moral values? Classy Stefan… very classy.

            Some people like to have fun Stefan, too bad you couldn’t join in.

  • J123

    If Samsung conceded that Qualcomm has better products and will now build them is it just for internal use in their own branded phones or will Qualcomm use Samsung built chips at other samsung chip customers, maybe apple.

    • I had to read that question twice. It’s a good one. Like I said in the article, the terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Samsung made Qualcomm designed parts ended up in devices that compete with Samsung’s phones and tablets.

    • Joey Mauro

       Hmmmm….. I bet Samsung is currently building enough smartphones needing these chips to just produce them for themselves.

      As far as building chips for Apple, that would be nothing new. Samsung
      has been doing it for years… not only SOC, but ram and screens as

  • Anonymous

    I see a flaw here..but correct me if I am wrong. The reason why Snapdragons are used in North American phones is because the LTE support comes from Qualcomm (as said above) who also makes modem chips bundled with application processors. It cant be separated as they are physically on the same chip. So if you need American LTE from Qualcomm, you have to buy the AP too.
    Exynos on the other hand is a standalone application processor which gives Samsung the freedom to choose the modem vendor. So they never go for Qualcomm when American LTE support is not needed. Instead, they have used Intel and Broadcom.
    Unless other modem vendors come up with their own LTE chips, this wont change.

    • Qualcomm do offer their modems separately, just look at the iPhone 4S. And Samsung also makes their own 4G LTE modems, just look at the Galaxy Nexus for Verizon.

      • Anonymous

        iPhone 4S is not with LTE. The Qualcomm LTE modem comes with integrated AP (atleast the product spec sheet for Gobi says so). Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus is a Samsung LTE modem paired with a CDMA solution. AT&T is based on GSM so its a whole different story. Has Samsung LTE been paired with GSM? 

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