A new era of silicon

For years companies like Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA have dominated the chip-manufacturing space in tech. But now many tech companies like Apple, Google, Samsung, Amazon, and Microsoft are all looking at producing their own chips for their products as we head into 2021.

Why the sudden shift? These companies have been fine with purchasing silicon chips from other companies for a long while now. The simple answer to this question is that tech is changing. A product doesn’t just have to function well anymore. It needs to impress in its power and efficiency to stand out in an increasingly competitive environment.

While traditional chipmakers produce high-quality chipsets, these silicon chips are designed for mass-market appeal. They know they will be used in a variety of hardware and devices. For example, most flagship Android smartphones from various companies like Samsung, LG, and OnePlus usually have the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series processor.

The advantage of device-makers producing their own silicon in-house is that they can tailor their chips to fit the exact product that they’re producing it for. Apple has done this for years in their iPhones. These customized chips help iPhones be the most efficient phones on the market. This is why an iPhone can have a battery that’s half the capacity of that in an Android competitor and still get comparable battery life, while also being one of the most powerful phones available.

Producing processors is not an easy task which is why there are only a few successful chipmakers that have made a name for themselves. This is the first Apple has made its own silicon for its Mac computers. Samsung has made adjustments to its Exynos chipsets this year to make them more competitive to Qualcomm’s processors. Traditionally, Exynos chips have fallen behind Qualcomm in almost every category which is why Samsung has chosen to test their Exynos equipped devices in markets like Europe rather than the highly competitive US.

Producing silicon in-house will allow tech companies to experiment with new features and ideas. Hopefully, this will allow devices with more appealing specialized utility to differentiate themselves in the crowded world of tech. It will be interesting to see where chip innovation will lead the industry.