There is a possibility that Samsung smartphone prices just might drop in the near future. This is highly speculative right now but the path seems to be being laid for it. Talks between Samsung and various Japanese semi-conductor and microchip companies have concluded and it has been announced that there is going to be a partnership to develop the cutting edge graphics and processing chips for future smartphones. The main aim of this partnership seems to be to challenge the dominance of Qualcomm, currently the world’s most popular manufacturer of smartphone chipsets and other internal hardware.
The firms that will be included in the partnership are Fujitsu, NEC and Panasonic Mobile Communications division of Panasonic Corporation. Talks are currently in progress and if all goes smoothly, the joint venture should be formed next year which will develop chips that deal with mobile processors and SoC hardware.
Currently, Qualcomm holds about 80% of the market of such internal hardware and semiconductors. These are called baseband chips and form the base functioning of the smartphones. They deal with the communication functions of the phone including voice and data, without which most phones would be useless. The joint venture is to have its headquarters in Japan itself and will probably use existing facilities to implement the collaboration. These companies are all leaders in specific fields with Panasonic being popular with household electrical appliances while NTT focuses on Near Field communication. A joint venture between them all should give the smartphone enthusiast something to look forward to next year.
In the joint venture, it is expected that DoCoMo will become a majority stakes holder that will be worth a total of 30bn Japanese Yen, which is nearly $400mn. In addition to using the chipsets in Samsung’s smartphones, it is possible that they will be sold to other mobile and smartphone manufacturers as well.
This joint venture aims to dent the market share of Qualcomm, but the stronghold of Qualcomm, the main manufacturer of processors for smartphones remains untouched except by Texas Instruments and Nvidia. Unless the joint venture can manifest itself into an individual manufacturing unit later on, the industry dependence on Qualcomm will not fall significantly. Moreover, the phones on release right now feature the latest processors which will be hard to compete against for the joint venture.