Intel said that its factories will start building Qualcomm chips and laid out a roadmap to expand its new foundry business to catch rivals such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Samsung Electronics by 2025.
It is best known for designing the Snapdragon chips that power most major Android phones, Qualcomm will start to have its chips manufactured by Intel in the coming years using Intel’s upcoming 20A process.
However, no timeframe has been announced for when the first Intel-made Qualcomm chips will arrive or which of Qualcomm’s products Intel will produce.
Amazon.com Inc will be another new customer for the foundry chip business, said Intel, which for decades held the lead in technology for manufacturing the smallest, fastest computing chips.
But Intel has lost that lead to TSMC and Samsung, whose manufacturing services have helped Intel’s rivals Advanced Micro Devices Inc and Nvidia Corp produce chips that outperform Intel’s. AMD and Nvidia design chips which then are made by the rival chip manufacturers, called foundries.
Intel Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger said the company is laying out a whole lot of details to The Street to hold Intel accountable. Intel also said it will change its naming scheme for chipmaking technology, using names like “Intel 7” that align with how TSMC and Samsung market competing technologies.
Intel’s first major customers will be Qualcomm and Amazon. Qualcomm, which dominates chips for mobile phones, will use what Intel is calling its 20A chipmaking process, which will use new transistor technology to help reduce how much power the chip consumes.
Intel did not give details how much revenue or manufacturing volume the customer wins would bring, though Gelsinger said during an event announcing the news that the Qualcomm deal involved a “major mobile platform” and engaging in a “deep a strategic manner.” Qualcomm has a long track record of using multiple foundry partners, sometimes even for the same chip.