Samsung ready to market ‘one-chips’

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Nov 10, 2013 - 19:32
  • Updated : Nov 10, 2013 - 19:32

Samsung Electronics System LSI chief Woo Nam-sung
Samsung Electronics is ready to soon market its “one-chip” solution in a bid to snatch the lead in the next generation of wearable and flexible devices.

“In September, we started to mass produce the one-chip, which is a combination of the AP and modem chips. We believe the chips will be fitted into actual devices in the near future,” said Woo Nam-sung, head of Samsung Electronics System LSI unit at Samsung’s investor relations session last week.

The name of the one-chip will be “ModAP,” a term combining the words modem and AP to indicate that both the application processor and modem capabilities are offered on a single chip.

Once the ModAP chips become commercialized ― Samsung has yet to say when ― it will have significant repercussions throughout the industry and at Samsung, experts say.

“In the short term, the chip would help cut costs, but in the longer term, it’s going to help Samsung prepare for the next generation device battle that will inevitably involve wearable devices and truly flexibly displays,” said Noh Geun-chang, a senior analyst for HMC Securities.

Samsung’s biggest mistake in the device war was allowing Apple to take the lead in smartphones. The Korean tech giant is determined not to be outdone this time.

In line with such goals, Samsung has recently introduced its first curved phone, the Galaxy Round.

Becoming more independent is another objective, but completely weaning itself off of Qualcomm is unlikely to be the goal.

“Samsung has already decided it makes more sense financially to use Qualcomm’s snapdragon for its Galaxy lineup, rather than use its own Exynos 5 Octa processor,” Noh said.

Qualcomm already produces “one-chips” of its own.

For the time being, Samsung is expected to target mainly low and mid-end smartphones with its newly developed ModAp chip.

Competition with rivals such as Media Tek from China is likely, as it also produces similarly combined chips.

Meanwhile, Woo also said Samsung would seek to use its self-designed 64-bit mobile processors for the iPhone and its own Galaxy lineup.

Samsung also plans to pursue in earnest the 14nm FinFet procedure by 2015 based on the judgment that 20nm technology ― a follow-up on the 28nm ― would not suffice to maintain the top in the AP and foundry business.

In foundry, Woo said Samsung will be offering a so-called “Foundry 2.0” program, under which 10nm chips will be offered together with IT and testing.

“Our ideas may be too bold, some of our clients have asked us to think again, but we felt we should be setting higher standards,” the CEO said.

On Wednesday, Samsung held its first investment relations event in eight years to lay out its future business plans.

By Kim Ji-hyun (