Samsung has cemented its position as the market leader currently all thanks to its 14nm FinFET production method that brought us the Exynos 7420 in the Galaxy S6 and this production process allowed Samsung to steal big customers like Apple and Qualcomm from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. It appears that to counter this move TSMC is going to skip the 14nm process and head straight to 10nm as Samsung did when it skipped the 20nm process and went straight to 14nm.
TSMC is expected to start risk trial production of 10nm chips within this year which would enable the foundry to accept orders from major clients like Apple and Qualcomm by early next year. Samsung surely wouldn’t like that as it’s already producing the Snapdragon 820 for Qualcomm and Apple’s A9 chip, it wouldn’t want these clients to go back to TSMC.
According to reports Samsung currently has plans to expand its 14nm capacity and it hasn’t publicly announced plans yet to set up its own 10nm production lines which it has previously said will happen by the end of next year. Interestingly the company’s System LSI division showed its first 10nm wafers in a rather unusual move which was perhaps a subtle message to major clients that Samsung is more than capable of setting up 10nm production so they should think twice before jumping ship to TSMC. 10nm chips are expected to provide a 20% increase in clock rates and a staggering 40% decrease in power consumption.