Samsung Electronics unveiled its newest silicon, a 14-nanometer chipset that it said offers better battery life and performance. The chipset could be key to Samsung's growth as its smartphone sales flatten out. Meanwhile, a Samsung executive hinted that the company's forthcoming flagship smartphone, expected to be called the Galaxy S6, will support multiple wireless charging standards.
Samsung's new 14-nanometer process will first be adopted in its own Exynos 7 Octa chip.
Samsung said its new 14-nanometer process will first be adopted in its own Exynos 7 Octa chip, and then expanded to other products throughout the year. That Exynos chip is expected to power the Galaxy S6. As Re/code notes, the 14-nanometer process is thinner than chipsets produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the foundry that manufactures chipsets for a wide range of mobile players. TSMC's thinnest transistors are 20 nanometers.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is going to rely on Samsung to produce the processor for its next iPhone models, leaning on Samsung over TSMC, according to a Re/code report from earlier this month.
"We expect the production of our 14nm mobile application processor to positively impact the growth of the mobile industry by enabling further performance improvements for cutting-edge smartphones," Gabsoo Han, Samsung's executive vice president of sales and marketing of its logic and silicon business, said in a company blog post.
When compared to Samsung's 20-nanometer process technology, the new 14-nanometer process enables up to 20 percent faster speed, 35 percent less power consumption and 30 percent productivity gain, Samsung said.
Samsung's chipset business is taking on growing importance as Samsung's smartphone sales wane. Indeed, Samsung is investing $15 billion to build a new silicon factory outside of Seoul in South Korea.
Meanwhile, in a separate blog post, Seho Park, Samsung's lead engineer for its IT and Mobile units, wrote that 2015 is going to be a "landmark year" for smartphone wireless charging. He noted that Samsung has been working on wireless charging technology since 2000 and that the company is a member of the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and Wireless Power Consortium (WPC).
In January, the A4WP and PMA said they will merge to "establish an organization that will accelerate the availability and deployment of wireless charging technology on a global scale."
The A4WP was founded in 2012 to push the Rezence-branded technology for magnetic resonance wireless charging, and it counts Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Samsung and others as members. The PMA was founded in 2012 to push its inductive charging technology, and its backers include AT&T, Duracell, Powermat Technologies and Starbucks, which has added PMA-capable chargers into some of its coffee stores. As part of the merger, the groups said both technologies would continue to be available so that members could use whichever made the most sense.
Separately, the WPC continues to push its own Qi-branded wireless charging technology, which the group said combines elements of both inductive and resonance technology.
Park indicated that Samsung wants to move beyond the fight over standards and support all of them in a single device. "Last year, components that support multiple standards on a single chip were released," he wrote. "Given that it usually takes around 6 to 12 months to integrate new components and put them on the market, it is expected that several of these products will be available to consumers this year."
"Samsung will accelerate to democratize this wireless charging technology with compelling smartphones," Park concluded. "With our upcoming Galaxy smartphones, users will be able to enter a new wireless world like never before."
- see this Samsung blog post
- see this Re/code article
- see this Ars Technica article
- see this TechCrunch article
- see this Reuters article
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