Today Qualcomm is announcing that it has begun sampling its next generation Snapdragon SoC. The announcement is unusual as in the past we’ve never really had sampling announcements from the company. Usually new silicon samples start around 4-6 months before commercial device availability.

At any rate, today the company is confirming that their unnammed next-generation high-end Snapdragon SoC will be manufactured on TSMC’s 7FF process node, bringing with it the associated performance and power benefits over current generation silicon. The new SoC can be paired with Qualcomm’s X50 modem in order to enable the first generation 5G smartphones next year.

Interestingly, this is the second such SoC announcement we've seen this month. Last week, Huawei had let it slip in an official press release that the new Kirin 980 SoC, which is to be used in the upcoming Mate 20, will be manufactured on a 7nm process node. So the timing of Qualcomm's own announcement – and the fact that they're announcing sampling at all – is probably not coincidental.

As for the subject at hand, Qualcomm says that we’ll see the full details of the next-generation flagship SoC and platform in the fourth quarter. And for long-time readers shouldn't be too surprising as – Qualcomm's latest sampling announcement aside – the timing itself doesn’t seem different to what has happened in prior years. In which case I expect we're still quite a few months away from the first commercial devices, as those will most likely arrive in in Q1 of 2019.

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  • eastcoast_pete - Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - link

    Yes, TSMC will be shipping A12s to Apple at least in some quantity. They'll better ship them, as Apple is not only one of their largest (the largest?) customer by $$$ volume, but also because Apple has a very big and aggressive (litigious) legal department that would sue TSMC out of existence if they don't deliver the SOCs on time. But, just because one customer gets what they ordered doesn't always mean that there is enough capacity for everybody. So, I agree with your earlier posting, this is QC yelling "me too, look here".
  • Wilco1 - Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - link

    Really?!? HVM on 7nm TSMC was announced back in April - most of the early production likely was allocated to Apple. We're now a few weeks away from first 7nm products from AMD, Huawei and Apple.
  • eastcoast_pete - Friday, August 24, 2018 - link

    QC's access to TSMC's 7 nm process in sufficient volumes is NOT a given; apparently, Apple pretty much takes whatever TSMC can make in 7 nm, and has, in turn, made TSMC their exclusive mobile SoC provider, at least for 7 nm. See this article and its pie chart here:
    That also means that it's vital for TSMC to come through for Apple, and vice versa. But, if this report is accurate, if QC wants to ship 7 nm snapdragons in quantity by 2019, they may have to talk to Samsung.
  • WatcherCK - Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - link

    How long will we see 7nm snapdragons I wonder, i mean there needs to be a 'new' smartphone cpu every year right? And its not like arm/samsung will be releasing a 5nm or smaller processor next year... so maybe an 855 this year and an 856 next year (or 855 and three quarters) Marketing teams are going to have to put their thinking caps on!

    Cant wait to see some solid performance data for 7nm Arm, and are wondering how well windows for example would run on a higher TDP 7nm arm part...?
  • YoloPascual - Sunday, August 26, 2018 - link

    But iNtEl's 10nm iS bEtTeR tHaN tSmC 7nm ThOuGh.

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