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Print 6 comment(s) - last by Penti.. on Aug 23 at 10:11 AM

New line should help to fill demand for Qualcomm's SnapDragon 4 and Apple's next generation iPhone/iPad CPU

Since 1996 Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) has poured $9B USD into its semiconductor fab in Austin, Texas, one of the nation's largest semiconductor production facilities.  As part of its deep research and development spending commitment and dedication to stay on top of the mobile market, Samsung is upgrading its CPU line with another $4B USD in investment, taking its total investment in the U.S. facility to $13B USD.

Samsung Electronics is the world's largest supplier of memory chips, and one of the only suppliers to profit from its DRAM.  It is also the biggest display manufacturer.

The South Korean company produces the chip brains inside every Apple, Inc. (AAPL) iPhone and iPad, part of what has led to wild international demand for its third-party chip-making expertise.  Earlier this year Samsung committed to building a new $2B USD system-on-a-chip (SoC) line in South Korea and to retrofitting two memory chip lines for SoC production.

Samsung currently is building its chips on a second-generation 32 nm silicon process, though it's also reportedly warming up 28 nm lines for production.

Samsung Austin Texas
Samsung's CPU supplying plant is located in Austin, Tex. near Texas Instruments and Apple.
[Image Source: Let's Go Digital]

Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM), which traditionally has relied on Taiwanese fab giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Comp., Ltd. (TPE:2330) (TSMC) has turned to Samsung [source] for help producing its hot 28 nm SnapDragon 4 chip, after TSMC struggled at the 28 nm node.  SnapDragon 4 is set to power a slew of high end Android and Windows Phone smartphones, as well as Windows RT tablets and laptops.

Source: Samsung [press release via Market Watch]



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RE: goodness
By TakinYourPoints on 8/22/2012 4:11:17 PM , Rating: 2
The funny thing is that Apple's existing presence in Austin is why Samsung is even building there in the first place.

Apple has their in-house chip design facilities for the A-series SoCs in their iPhones and iPads in Austin. Samsung's existing manufacturing facilities in Austin produce those parts, and the expansion in Austin is to further accommodate increased production for those parts.

tldr - Samsung's expansion in Austin is to make parts for Apple's products.


RE: goodness
By TakinYourPoints on 8/22/2012 4:13:10 PM , Rating: 3
Also, Samsung's manufacturing in the US is a blip compared to what they have going on in China.


RE: goodness
By Penti on 8/23/2012 10:11:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah they choose that location back in 1996 because of Apple... Get over yourself. They are just one of many profile customers, and did basically become a customer as late as 2007. And a major one several years later. When it comes to DRAM, NAND, panels etc Apple multisource so it's not that many units Samsung supplies in all. If all their own phones had stuff manufactured by Samsung it would be a lot more difficult to supply then Apple is, but they aren't using only them/subsidiaries for parts of course.

While companies like Samsung, TI, Intel etc invests in facilities all over the world it's only recently semi high-end plants has been built in China. Assembly operations are a different thing too. The choice there is never US because of imbalances, and because you have Mexico to do those jobs. But Samsung still build some 60-80 million phones in Korea, a high-wage country, builds and packages memory, SoCs, LCD-panels and modules, battery cells and batteries, etc. While they have invested billions in US it's not like Apple hasn't had anything happen too as they have hired and added some 40 000 more people over the last 5-6 years. Although there is a big difference between them and a crumbling company like Nokia is under their new leadership, where most of their people where manufacturing and assembly people and most of Apples employees are employees in Apple run stores. Their expansion has been in retail. Not so much engineering, software development, project management and so on.

Austin and Dallas is a semiconductor hub in the US, you have companies like TI, Maxim, Analog, Freescale etc and lots of design centers of companies like AMD, Intel, IBM, and small players like Centaur etc there. PA-Semi where based in California though, but Intrinsity where based in Austin and where a partner with Samsung and others from before Apple came into the picture. Basically the A4 was design by Intrinsity and Samsung in collaboration, thus Apple bought it after most of the design work. It was developed as enhancements to a std ARM core for Samsung. Before Apple bought them so to say. They only bought them in April 2010. Thus it was branded Apple A4 even when it was a Samsung/Intrinsity product not developed in house or owned by Apple. Not to blame them for buying that small firm though.


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