NEW YORK – Qualcomm announced it is in production with its next generation mobile SoC, the Snapdragon 835, in Samsung's 10nm process. The news came at a briefing here where Qualcomm withheld release of other details of the new chip.
The chip becomes the first mobile SoC at 10nm beating rivals such as Apple which is reportedly using TSMC’s 10nm process for a planned iPhone 8 chip and Mediatek which announced it could deliver the first 10nm SoC. The news highlights the intense race for profits at the high-end of the smartphone market and how that race is driving semiconductor process technology
Separately, Qualcomm said it will pay up to $15,000 for anyone who can find security flaws in its Snapdragon, LTE or related mobile chips. It also released an upgrade of its approach to wireless charging.
The Snapdragon 835 is in production and expected to ship in commercial devices in the first half of 2017. More than 200 designs plan to the current 820/821 versions of the SoC, Qualcomm said.
Qualcomm extended a decade-long foundry relationship with Samsung. It makes several of its existing Snapdragon SoCs in Samsung’s 14nm process
Samsung announced in October it was in mass production of 10nm FinFET chips. At the time, observers expected the Korean giant may have been making its Exynos SoCs for its own Galaxy 8 smartphones expected early next year.
Samsung said its 10nm process can reduce area up to 30% and increase performance 27% or lower power consumption by 40% compared to its 14nm process.
Qualcomm will work with HackerOne to pay anyone who finds security flaws in its Snapdragon, LTE or related mobile chips up to $15,000 per flaw.
The program will apparently be limited at first to about 40 security researchers who have made vulnerability disclosures in the past. HackerOne posted online details about how to participate in the program that is effective immediately.
“Although the vast majority of security improvements in our products come from our internal efforts, a vulnerability rewards program represents a meaningful part of our broader security efforts,” said Alex Gantman, a vice president of engineering at Qualcomm.
Separately, Qualcomm announced Quick Charge 4, an upgrade of its fast-charging approach that will be available in the Snapdragon 835. It uses a dual-charging technique that is 20% faster than the current version and supports USB Type-C and USB-PD standards. The upgrade can provide up to a 50% battery charge in roughly 15 minutes or less
The new version upgrades its power-management algorithm to support real-time thermal management that determines and selecting optimal power transfer levels for given thermal conditions. Quick Charge 4 requires an upgrade to the company’s new power management ICs, (the SMB1380 and SMB1381) for optimal performance.