Following CEO Pat Gelsinger’s announcement in March that Intel would open up both its current and planned manufacturing capacity to other chipmakers through the launch of Intel Foundry Services (IFS), we now know who its first high profile customers will be: Snapdragon SoC maker Qualcomm and Amazon.
In the Qualcomm partnership, chips will be produced using Intel’s 20A process, marking the debut of team blue’s “Ångström” process nodes, and the first to use its “RibbonFET” version of Gate-All-Around (GAA) transistors, the company’s first new transistor design since Tri-Gate back in 2011. 20A is due in 2024, so it will be a while before we see the fruits of the deal.
Exactly what Qualcomm plans to produce through Intel is unknown, though Gelsinger said the deal involved a “major mobile platform.” While known mostly for its mobile SoCs, the move could be part of Qualcomm’s plan to produce Nuvia-designed laptop chips set for reveal next year. If true, it would leave Intel in the position of creating chips for a market rival.
Qualcomm wasn’t the only significant customer announced by Intel. There was also Amazon Web Services, which will use Intel’s packaging solutions rather than producing chips directly for Amazon.
“There have been many, many hours of deep and technical engagement with these first two customers, and many others,” Gelsinger said. “IFS is off to the races.”
IFS is part of Intel’s IDM 2.0 initiative that Intel hopes will help it compete against TSMC, Samsung, GlobalFoundries, UMC, and others by 2025. Gelsinger previously revealed that Intel is talking to over 100 companies for foundry work.