What you need to know
- Sources tell Reuters Samsung has won Qualcomm business to produce the next-gen X60 modem.
- Samsung will manufacture the chipset on its 5-nanometer process foundry.
- TSMC, which likely produced the X55, will share business with Samsung this time.
Qualcomm's freshly-announced 5G modem, the next-generation X60 chipset, will be produced by Samsung on its 5-nanometer process foundry, according to company sources speaking to Reuters. Qualcomm has already announced that all of its flagship packages will include a 5G modem, so manufacturing duties for the new technology were sure to be robust. It was assumed that (opens in new tab) TSMC handled manufacturing for the current lineup of X55 modems, but the next generation task will be split between Samsung and TSMC. Qualcomm does not publicly comment on its manufacturing partners.
By employing Samsung's newest 5-nanometer process, Qualcomm can make modems that are more efficient than before, an important step in the evolution of 5G networks, especially on the more power-hungry mmWave networks. The X60 modem will be able to support all of the current 5G implementations, including sub-6, mmWave, and whatever it is that Sprint is still doing.
While TSMC still controls half of the semiconductor foundry market, Samsung has been making gains as it expands beyond its bread-and-butter memory chips. The new Qualcomm X60 chip will be the closest yet to achieving a universal 5G modem that will work across existing networks, and all of Samsung's newest Galaxy S20 devices support 5G in some way or other. The race to 5G coverage is ramping up quickly.
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