This news kind of went unnoticed and we have decided to revisit this. A few months back Fudzilla was talking with a few industry sources about 10nm and it was the general impression that Apple and Qualcomm would get to 10nm quite soon.
When David Wong from Wells Fargo asked Steve Mollenkopf when we could expect a tape out of 10 nanometers and samples, Steve answered that it had already happened.
We expect to see the successor of Snapdragon 820 being introduced this year and shipping in phones in late Q1 early Q2 2017. This has been the course of things for a while at Qualcomm. The timing also mateches a normal phone refresh lifecycle as most companies - including Samsung - will launch their next generation phones at the Mobile World Congress that takes place in Barcelona on February 27 2017.
This might be the 10nm that Mollenkopf mentioned and confirmed that it has been sampled to customers. We can call it Snapdragon 830 but there are no real guarantees that this will be the final branding. Steve also said that Qualcomm will continue its multi-sourcing strategy for 10nm and beyond.
Multi-sourcing is always a good strategy, as having more than one supplier is definitely better and safer. After 10nm, Samsung, TSMC, GlobalFoundries and Intel will use 7nm and then 5nm.
From what we've heard, we will be stuck at 10nm for a while probably through 2017 while we might see some of the first 7nm products in 2018. After 7nm comes 5nm and then it becomes very interesting as the semiconductor manufacturing industry can't work out how to get smaller than that. It's the end of Moore's Law.
So the next generation phones that we expect in early 2017, powered by the next generation 10nm Snapdragon will definitely get faster on a CPU, DSP and GPU side, probably getting more processing power and performance at the same time. This has been the case since the introduction of the smartphone, and won't change anytime soon.
Qualcomm will also have a server ARM based product in 10nm, as we exclusively reported too.