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.