The Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 will exclusively be mass produced on TSMC’s second-generation 3nm process, but its successor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 5, might switch to a dual-foundry approach as Qualcomm reportedly looks to secure orders from both Samsung and its Taiwanese semiconductor rival. The San Diego chipset maker has apparently requested both companies to provide 2nm samples, which can be evaluated further.
Prototype chipset development takes between 6 to 12 months, hence Qualcomm has reportedly ordered 2nm samples earlier
Even though the company’s 2nm chipset launch is presumably a year away, Qualcomm reportedly wants a headstart as it aims to secure both Samsung and TSMC as possible foundry partners. According to ETNews, performance and improved yields are on the top of Qualcomm’s checklist, with a chipset prototype development phase currently in progress. This phase helps companies determine which technology can be pursued for mass production and is commonly referred to as ‘multi-project wafer (MPW),’ creating multiple prototypes on a single wafer.
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Assuming that Qualcomm successfully enlists both Samsung and TSMC to mass produce the Snapdragon 8 Gen 5, it is likely that the Korean giant’s 2nm technology will be utilized exclusively for the Galaxy S26 series, with the SoC sporting the name ‘Snapdragon 8 Gen 5 for Galaxy.’ As for TSMC’s 2nm node, it would most probably be used by every other smartphone brand. As for why Qualcomm is said to adopt a dual-sourcing strategy for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 5, the company was rumored to pursue it for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4, but Samsung failed to acquire any 3nm orders due to poor yields.
Bringing in Samsung and TSMC as foundry partners should help Qualcomm lower the costs of its chipsets, as the price of its flagship silicon is slowly creeping upward, forcing smartphone partners to either raise their product prices or sacrifice their margins. Alternatively, these partners can ally with MediaTek, which is delivering some healthy competition in the flagship chipset space with its Dimensity 9300 and is said to continue that momentum with the Dimensity 9400, which Qualcomm cannot afford.
It is estimated that each Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 costs $200 for Qualcomm’s partners, with a company executive hinting that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 will be even more expensive due to the transition towards custom Oryon cores. With one of the pitfalls of using an advanced manufacturing process being high costs, Qualcomm has a decent opportunity to bring both semiconductor giants into the fold, but that all depends on whether it is satisfied with the 2nm samples.
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