Samsung is reportedly developing its own in-house WiMAX and LTE (Long Term Evolution) chipsets in an attempt to reduce the royalties it pays to third-party manufacturers. The move will come as a blow to Qualcomm, currently the number one wireless chipmaker, who have seen rivals Texas Instruments and Freescale withdraw from that aspect of the industry. While its wealth of intellectual property (IP) surrounding the 3G CDMA standard has seen Qualcomm profit greatly in recent years (Samsung themselves use Qualcomm chips in some devices), the company holds less WiMAX or LTE IP and as such is in a more tenuous position.
Samsung’s WiMAX chipset is apparently already sampling to engineers both within and outside its company, while LTE devices – although on the roadmap – are further away. The company has previously stated its intention to be among the first with LTE handsets on the market, but by its own admission WiMAX is as much as five years ahead in maturity.
Nonetheless, Young Cho Chi, senior vice president of strategic planning for Samsung’s telecom division, believes LTE will eventually be more broadly used than WiMAX, hence their support of both technologies. Samsung already produces application processors and of course is a significant player in memory chip production, both key aspects to today’s media-rich mobile devices.