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Monday, 24 February 2014 14:31

Qualcomm rolls out 20nm LTE modem

Written by Fuad Abazovic



MWC 2014: Cat 6 300 Mbps

Qualcomm Executive Vice President Murthy Renduchintala has announced the first 20nm chip from Qualcomm. It is not a processor though - it’s the Gobi 9x35 4th generation LTE modem. It is sampling right now and there should be customers who will announce the designs on it shortly.

The SVP has also confirmed that SoC parts will soon to move to 20nm and when asked whether TSMC has capacity and is ready for mature production of 20nm his answer was positive. He actually said to expect a 20nm SoC real soon, but he didn’t get into any details.

The Cat 6 300 Mbps modem in 20nm obviously needs much less power and it will improve battery life on LTE devices. We can see this product as very interesting option for many high-end phones. Modems are easier and less complex to make compared to SoCs and this is why Qualcomm traditionally moves the LTE modem to a new processor node first. The company then follows up with a SoC that is much more complex to manufacture.

With every shrink of the processor node, power goes down significantly and this is what high-end application processors are all about. At 28nm chipmakers are already pushing the envelope with big A15-class parts and the move to 20nm can’t come soon enough.

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