McGregor suggested new handset chips will need new processes for lower power and networking chips—some now exceeding four billion transistors--will need it for density. “The chips we chose to go into these processes will drive margins so the ROI is high,” he said.
Broadcom continues to invest in cellular baseband technology to roll out its first LTE chips in 2013 and eventually integrated apps processors. The investments come despite heady competition from companies such as Qualcomm and McGregor’s belief industry growth in 2013 will be “muted.”
The company aims to expand from a per-handset market of $3-$6 for its combo Wi-Fi chips to a $10-$30 market that includes baseband and processing functions. “We have the opportunity to quintuple revenue per platform, so it’s an imperative to put together all the technologies in the smartphone,” including the processor SoC, power management unit and RF, he said.
“We believe the vast majority of all phones will integrate [basebands and apps processors] over time,” he added.
Bob Rango, general manager of Broadcom's mobile and wireless group, showed the company's first LTE baseband, sampling in 2013. The 28 nm chip supports Release 10 features such as voice over LTE and carrier aggregation as well as China's LTE-TDD while being 37 percent smaller than the baseband Apple uses in the iPhone 5.
In 3G, Rango said Samsung plans to roll out a series of handsets using Broadcom's 155 integrated dual-core SoC over the next few quarters, starting with the Galaxy SII+. He downplayed competition with Samsung's internal Exynos SoC and Qualcomm's move to integrate Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features into its SoCs.
The margin per transistor may rise (compensating higher cost) if the power per transistor is lower. But even this scaling will be limited as well, by noise. 20 nm is already very small (anybody recall the electron mean free path?)
I attended and McGregor also said "20nm costing more will surprise market"
that is partly because Intel Marketing is talking different message
But I spoke to someone in Intel Procurement Group about why they are taping out LTE and RF mobile chips at TSMC 28nm. Intel guy said Intel's advanced internal nodes manufacturing (22 and 14nm) was not cost effective with foundry.
low cost mobile chips are going go stay at 28nm for industry and even Intel (using outside manufacturing)
100% correct. Intel's manufacturing for foundry and internal products only is viable due to cost for it's $100-1000 CPU and select high margin FPGA and ASICs.
Someday the analysis will understand Intel does not have a manufacturing advantage for cost sensitive mobile or foundry to Apple.
Take a look at wafer price projections (past and future)
Nvidia deeply unhappy with TSMC, claims 20nm essentially worthless
ASML stated just litho will be 1.7x for 20nm compared to 28nm
Implication for Intel's first 22nm Valley view (Atom SOC) will have somewhere in the neighborhood 30-40% higher cost than equal parts from Qualcomm (snapdragon) or nVidia (Tegra 4) fabricated parts in foundry 28LP or 28HPM
but bigger problem is TAM is moving to integrated apps and base band on single SOC.
Valley view not having on die integrated LTE base band makes it uninteresting to market
I look at it like this.
You can chip 28nm SOC with integrated application/base band processor now
or you can ship same transistor density chips in Intel's 22nm SOC in 2014 but only application processor
It should be clear why Intel is loosing in mobile and CEO is out.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.