Details about the upcoming Snapdragon 835 high-end SoC (main processor) from Qualcomm are starting to (officially) emerge. The new chip, designed by Qualcomm, will be manufactured by Samsung Semiconductor using Samsung’s edgy 10nm (nanometer) FinFET process technology.
FinFET is a transistor technology that allows much more efficient handling of power leakage, without having to crank up the voltage. Power-efficiency is always a primary concern for Qualcomm since its chips are used in mobile devices where battery life is the main concern for nearly 70% of users, according to Qualcomm. 10nm is the most advanced semiconductor process available industry wide. Not even PCs have switched over, and Intel will do so sometime only later in 2017.
Not so long ago, Samsung was already leading with the 14nm FinFET, but this 10nm evolution of the process allows a 30% of area efficiency (pack more transistors in the same space) and a 40% lower power consumption according to a joint Qualcomm-Samsung press release.
Power-efficiency is important to cope with the smartphone workloads that keep getting more complex. Being able to get more things done within the same power budget is extremely important because apps are getting more complex, and more of them run in the background at any given time.
Qualcomm and Samsung say that Snapdragon 835 is now in production and that the first devices should arrive on the market in the first half of 2017. Although handsets will be announced by OEMs, we can guess that some may be announced at CES 2017 and MWC 2017 – two major shows which Ubergizmo will cover in details. Handsets could be available as early as February, but March/April is more likely.
Snapdragon 835 will become Qualcomm’s new “tip of the spear” in the high-end, taking over Snapdragon 821 and Snapdragon 820. Both chips will likely continue to be produced for some time, since they are used in ~200 phone designs.