Report: Unsatisfactory Yield Rates for 10nm FinFET Process Pushing Back Smartphone Schedules
The next big thing to dominate 2017 will be the introduction of the 10nm FinFET process technology by leading SoC manufacturers. This process technology will power the next generation of smartphones, giving us better performance and efficiency.
However, the wait for smartphones with 10nm technology SoC’s might just extend a bit longer than initially expected. Reports originating from Taiwan indicate that yield rates for foundries’ 10nm FinFET technology have been too low to boost the process to economies of scale.
The schedule for shipments of MediaTek’s Helio X30, which is the first 10nm smartphone SoC from TSMC to be commercially available, has already been delayed. Smartphones using the chip are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2017. In addition, the yield rates for Samsung’s 10nm process technology has also been low, affecting production for its own Exynos 8895 as well as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC. This unsatisfactory yield rate has already pushed back Samsung’s schedule for the Galaxy S8.
If foundries are able to improve their yield rates in the second quarter, smartphones on this 10nm process will account for just up to 10% of overall shipments for that quarter. The proportion is unlikely to climb substantially until the third quarter.
The report further goes on to state that despite the poor yield rates, the foundry sector remains a seller’s market. Even in light of delayed schedules, OEMs without their own manufacturing process and those that rely on external contracts are forced to remain silent on the issue.
In light of the above, we can expect delays in the retail availability and even release of smartphones that are yet to be released. It is likely that OEMs could opt for previous-gen SoCs just to remain on their schedule and continue on with their annual marketing needs and forecasts. The most affected OEMs by this move will be the smaller ones hoping to release devices with competitive specs, but finding themselves in an unfavorable bargaining position.
What are your thoughts on the low yield rates affecting the release of next generation smartphones? Should more OEMs release devices on previous generation SoCs? Let us know in the comments below!