Google reportedly has plans to drop Samsung as a foundry partner and switch to TSMC for its fully custom Tensor chipset, which is said to launch two years from now. Interestingly enough, the advertising giant is said to move to the 3nm process, which is likely the same technology that companies like Qualcomm and MediaTek will adopt in the near future.
The advanced TSMC 3nm process will also support Integrated Fan-Out technology for increased power efficiency and reduced thickness
Currently, Google relies on Samsung for not just its manufacturing facility but also its SoC designs. The company’s Tensor range of chipsets are slightly modified versions of Samsung’s Exynos range, but these do not bring any significant performance or power-efficiency improvements to the table as past benchmarks have shown, so a fully custom design is the way to go. Currently, Apple is the only phone maker to have released fully custom chipset designs for many years, and Qualcomm will soon be the second, thanks to its Nuvia acquisition.
According to people familiar with Google’s plans, the Tensor G5 will not just be mass produced on TSMC’s 3nm process, but it will also support Integrated Fan-Out technology for improved energy efficiency and reduced thickness. What is strange about the paywalled report is that it does not go into detail on which TSMC 3nm process Google will switch to. As most of you know, Apple has reportedly secured 90 percent of its Taiwanese supply chain partner’s 3nm wafers, but it is for the N3B process, which is the first iteration.
Given that the Tensor G5 is said to launch in 2025, we can assume that Google will rely on TSMC’s N3E technology, which is a slightly improved version of the N3B process with increased yields and lowered production costs. A fully custom design also means that the upcoming Tensor will have its own in-house CPU and GPU, giving Google greater control over the hardware and how it will play with the company’s Android platform. The technology giant is doing itself a favor by switching to TSMC since its foundry is vastly superior to Samsung, with its wafer technology miles ahead of its Korean competitor.
Moving to TSMC’s 3nm process also allows Google to design Tensor chips for different products, not just its Pixel smartphone family, and that includes Chromebooks, tablets, smart speakers, and more. Just like Apple, having a fully custom chipset can help integrate several products at a software level, giving Google a strong base to create an ecosystem similar to Apple’s.