The year 2015 is devoted to 14nm engraving at Samsung and 16nm at TSMC on the side of the mobile processors but the actors are already preparing for the next step: the 10 nm etching. In this game, Korean Samsung hints that it will be ready for mass production at end of 2016, after gaining speed from competitor TSMC this year.
10nm engraving should always use transistors 3D FinFET and logically make improvements in terms of performance and energy consumption, with even more compact chips.
Samsung Foundry could launch pre-production at the end of 2015 but already the stated objective is to seduce the Apple group whose very high volumes of processor production would facilitate the launch of next-generation engraving technology and would allow to equip mobile devices of the Cupertino group in 2017.
But the competing Taiwanese founder TSMC will continue to offer a response to the accelerated pace of innovations in engraving techniques. After having won a good part of the orders on the Apple A8 but having perhaps lost ground on theApple A9, the founder wants to have every chance to return to a Apple A10.
It is rumored that TSMC could launch a first 10nm pilot production line in June and could start negotiating orders at the end of the year, so perhaps ahead of its schedule which provided for a mass production at the end of 2016.
At this rate, it could then recover almost all of the volumes on an Apple A10 processor by taking its competitor Samsung short. Speculation to intimidate the opponent or real advance from TSMC, difficult to decide at the moment.
And the American giant Intel, also involved in the race to miniaturize processors? The US giant is also preparing to switch to 10 nm but it remains silent on the subject while promising to clarify its strategy later in the year.