Semiconductor News: Qualcomm, MTK, Intel, Samsung

In Feb 2022, Qualcomm announced its fifth-generation 5G modem design: the Snapdragon X70. Qualcomm has announced new features and milestones for the Snapdragon X70 5G modem ahead of its commercial availability. Qualcomm has now introduced Smart Transmit 3.0, which extends these optimizations and enhancements to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. The newer version enables real-time averaging of transmit power across 2G-5G, mmWave, Wi-Fi (2.4GHz, Wi-Fi 6/6E/7), and Bluetooth (2.4GHz) radios for extended coverage, improved uplink speeds, and more reliable connectivity. The Snapdragon X70 is the first 5G modem to support standalone mmWave connection, enabling carriers to deploy services using mmWave exclusively. (Android Headlines, XDA-Developers, Qualcomm)

MediaTek has unveiled its new Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) Genio platform and the first chip in this lineup, the Genio 1200. The Genio 1200 is equipped with an octa-core CPU, five-core graphics, a dual-core AI processor, and advanced multimedia engine. It is designed for smart home appliances, industrial IoT applications, and other AI-embedded devices. The Genio 1200 supports high-speed interfaces, including PCI-Express, USB 3.1, and GbE MAC, and also supports MediaTek Wi-Fi 6E and sub-6 5G modules.(CN Beta, MediaTek, Taiwan News, TechRadar)

Intel has announced 7 new mobile processors for the 12th Gen Intel Core mobile family. The 12th Gen Intel Core HX processors use desktop-caliber silicon in a mobile package to deliver high levels of performance for professional workflows like CAD, animation and visual effects. The HX processors are unlocked out of the box and available in Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9 models. The 12th Gen Intel Core HX processors enable mobile workstation platforms by providing 65% more performance in multithreaded workloads with more cores, more memory and more I/O while utilizing Intel Thread Director technology to leverage high-power Performance-cores and Efficient-cores so pros can create, program, render and work with maximum efficiency in the office, at home or on the go.(VentureBeat, Intel, Windows Central, PC World)

Intel has unveiled Project Amber (Assisted Model Building with Energy Refinement) as a security foundation for confidential computing, secure and responsible AI, and quantum-resistant cryptography. It will provide organizations with remote verification of trustworthiness in cloud, edge and on-premises environments.In its first version, Project Amber aims to support confidential compute workloads deployed as bare metal containers, virtual machines (VMs) and containers running in virtual machines using Intel TEEs. The initial release will support Intel TEEs, with plans to extend coverage to platforms, devices and other TEEs in the future. Intel is also working with independent software vendors (ISVs) to enable trust services that include Project Amber. (VentureBeat, Intel)

Samsung Electronics is reportedly talking with foundry clients about charging as much as 20% more for making semiconductors in 2022, joining an industry-wide push to hike prices to cover rising costs of materials and logistics. Contract-based chip prices are likely to rise around 15%-20%, depending upon the level of sophistication. Chips produced on legacy nodes would face bigger price hikes, they said. New pricing would be applied from 2H22, and Samsung has finished negotiating with some clients, while it is still in discussions with others. Samsung is increasing its manufacturing capacity and is building a new USD17B chip manufacturing plant in Texas. (Bloomberg, Link News, SamMobile, Android Authority, My Drivers)

Samsung Foundry has announced that it was set to begin producing chips using its 3GAE (3 nm-class, gate-all-around transistors, early) process technology in the second quarter. While the industry’s first 3 nm-class node with GAA transistors is a noteworthy achievement by itself, one thing that is particularly important is that to make GAA transistors efficiently, fabs have to be equipped with new production tools. Fittingly, Applied Materials has recently outlined their next generation of tools that will be used to enable Samsung (and other fabs) to build their first GAA chips. Applied Materials has introduced innovations that help customers continue 2D scaling with EUV and detailed the industry’s broadest portfolio of technologies for manufacturing next-generation 3D Gate-All-Around transistors.(CN Beta, Applied Materials, AnandTech)