A new report from the Korea Times suggests that LG, the second largest electronics manufacturer in South Korea is planning to make its own microprocessors for its phones which will most likely find its home in the LG Optimus G2. Production of these chips is expected to commence in the latter half of this year following the completion of the research and development phase of its Odin chip.
LG’s entry into the chip business shouldn’t be seen as too much of a surprise considering their largest competitor in their home country, Samsung, is already manufacturing their own chips under the Exynos moniker, while the record profits of Qualcomm and Nvidia last year suggest that the market for high performance chips in mobile devices is both large and profitable.
An LG official has stated, “LG Electronics is going to mass-produce the Odin processor by using finer 28 nanometer level processing, apply high-k metal grade technology.” The Odin processor will feature the big.LITTLE architecture that is also present on the Exynos 5 Octa, which combines the performance of ARM’s A15 architecture with the refinement and lower power consumption of the A7. These specifications suggest that Odin will be a premium chipset that will be able to hold its own against Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, Nvidia’s Tegra and Samsung’s Exynos in terms of both performance and energy efficiency. The use of high performance A15 cores means it will be perfect for high-end devices such as the Optimus G2, which is slated to be unveiled at the IFA trade fair in September, one year since the announcement of the original Optimus G.
Unlike Samsung, LG lacks the facilities to manufacture their own chips and will be going down the fabless production path used by other companies such as Qualcomm and Nvidia. They are rumored to be using TSMC, the world’s largest and arguably best foundry, to manufacture their chips, which should help ensure a premium, high quality product.
There are also other benefits of LG designing its own chips, because it both streamlines their own production, since they will no longer have to work with multiple companies for components, while reducing their dependence on other companies. As Apple has learnt, if your major supplier (Samsung) becomes your biggest competition, you find yourself in an awkward position of trying to beat your competition, while constantly feeding them money.