SAMSUNG HAS REVEALED that it will soon begin production of its 10nm FinFET node, and that the chip will be in full production by the end of 2016.
The 10nm process targets a wide range of markets and will deliver "significant power, area and performance advantages" when it hits devices, according to Samsung foundry SVP Hong Hao.
This is expected to be at around the same time as its rival TSMC. More detailed specs regarding the chips are unknown at this stage.
"This is one of the biggest positive steps for the industry in the last few years. It shows that Samsung sets these very aggressive goals, and may not hit them exactly but will be very close," said Handel Jones, CEO at analyst firm International Business Strategies.
He added that it will be "hugely disruptive" if Samsung can achieve 10nm.
It has been rumoured that Apple looked to Samsung's 14nm FinFET process to supply the majority of chips for the next-generation iPhone.
However, it was reported last month that Apple made a last-minute decision to switch to a new chip supplier in TSMC.
The decision to switch was partly to blame on GlobalFoundries, which is reportedly seeing a yield rate of 30 percent for the A9 chip, well below Apple's mass-production "basic requirement" of 50 percent.
Sources said that the decision in favour of TSMC was partly down to the high demand seen for the Galaxy S6.
Apple is reportedly concerned that, with Samsung supplying the 14nm chips inside its own Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, the company will not be able to match the chip supply that it needs.
Apple's next iPhone is widely expected to debut this September.
Meanwhile, Samsung confirmed reports earlier this month that it will open a $14.4bn fabrication facility in South Korea in what will be its biggest investment in a single plant. Production is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2017.
It is not known at this stage whether the fab will make logic or memory chips, but Samsung said it will be built in the city of Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, and is expected to bolster profits in the firm's well-established and successful semiconductor business as well as grow beyond the declining sales of its smartphones.
Sources told Reuters last year when the plant was still a rumour that Samsung expects its chip production capacity to increase by a "low double digit percentage" when the facility opens. µ
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