The Galaxy S9 may be one of the hotly anticipated Android phones set to launch in the first quarter of the year, but it’s not the only new Android flagship that’ll be unveiled soon. Most of these phones will be powered by new silicon, with the Snapdragon 845 that Qualcomm introduced last month being the most likely candidate. Samsung also unveiled its own flagship chip for the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 phones, and other smartphone makers will have their own Snapdragon 845 equivalents in 2018.
But the iPhone X successors set to debut this year will pack new mobile chips that will be unlike anything available in Android devices.
Samsung recently announced that it’s mass-producing second-gen 10nm chips for this year’s flagship handsets — the Snapdragon 845 and Exynos 9810. But 2018 iPhones will have TSMC-made 7nm processors, which should be even faster and more energy-efficient.
TSMC beat Samsung in the race to 7nm process volume production, a new Digitimes report says. The Taiwanese company has apparently secured orders from 40 companies, including Apple and Qualcomm. While it’s unlikely for Qualcomm to release a 7nm flagship mobile CPU this year, Apple’s A12 that will power all 2018 iPhones are expected to be a 7nm chip.
The report doesn’t say which customers chose TSMC’s 7nm tech over Samsung’s 8nm and 10nm processors, but says the new advanced process will be used for mobile communication, high-performance computing, and AI apps.
Samsung and TSMC will also develop 5nm, 4nm, and 3nm processes for future devices. TSMC will conduct a trial run of the 5nm fab in the first half of 2019, while 3nm chips will be manufactured a year later. Samsung, meanwhile, plans to launch 7nm chips this year as well, even if it lost customers like Apple and Qualcomm to TSMC. The 6nm and 5nm processors will follow next year, and Samsung-made 4nm chips will reportedly arrive in 2020.