Alongside Intel’s sizable announcement immediately concerning their manufacturing roadmap over the following half-decade, the corporate can be asserting their first main buyer for his or her third-party foundry service, IFS. And in an instance of how Intel’s entry into the contract fab enterprise goes to make for some unusual bedfellows, it seems that main buyer is Qualcomm.
Per Intel’s announcement, Intel and Qualcomm are partnering as much as get Qualcomm merchandise on Intel’s 20A course of, one of many firm’s most superior (and farthest-out) course of node. The primary of Intel’s “Ångström” course of nodes, 20A is due in 2024 and might be the place Intel first implements Gate-All-Round (GAA) transistors, one of many main manufacturing know-how milestones on Intel’s new roadmap.
Provided that 20A isn’t due out for one more three years, neither firm is saying way more concerning the partnership at this level – we’re speaking about chip designs which are nonetheless of their earliest phases – however even having the ability to title a serious buyer like Qualcomm is a giant deal for Intel. Not solely does it present that one other main business participant has a level of religion in what Intel is making an attempt to perform with its silicon lithography know-how, nevertheless it helps to validate Intel’s efforts to open up into the contract fab enterprise.
In the meantime, an announcement like this opens the door to all types of hypothesis over simply what Qualcomm might be constructing over at Intel. Qualcomm is finest identified for his or her cell SoCs, and the corporate already has important expertise utilizing a number of fabs as a buyer of each TSMC and Samsung. So it could be that Qualcomm is trying to construct a mainstream cell SoC or two at Intel as a option to get expertise working with Intel and show that Intel’s fabs will meet their wants. Alternatively, Qualcomm could also be trying to make the most of Intel’s PC-tuned manufacturing strains to provide Nuvia-infused laptop computer SoCs – which might imply Intel can be immediately producing competing chips.
There are lots of potentialities right here over the long-run, although within the short-run it’s doubtless that Qualcomm goes to play issues conservatively. So suffice it to say, will probably be fascinating to see simply what Qualcomm is utilizing their rival’s fabs for in just a few years.
Qualcomm is worked up concerning the breakthrough RibbonFET and PowerVia applied sciences coming in Intel 20A. We’re additionally happy to have one other modern foundry accomplice enabled by IFS that may assist the U.S. fabless business to deliver its merchandise to an onshore manufacturing website.
-Cristiano Amon, President and CEO, Qualcomm