Written by Jonny Williamson
A lack of adequate manufacturing capacity for the Snapdragon processor chips has been claimed by Qualcomm, the company which designs the processor, as the cause of the shortage. Qualcomm farm the manufacturing of the actual processor chips themselves out to third party companies, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
However, TSMC have found that increasing chip production to meet steeply rising demand has been challenging and hasn’t happened as quickly as expected. Qualcomm is supporting TSMC at the moment, but is also searching for alternate contract manufacturers to provide a more consistent supply. Rival companies to TSMC, such as UMC and Global Foundries, have been reported to have increased their own manufacturing processes in preparation for potentially attaining the lucrative contract.
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President and Chief Operating Officer at Qualcomm, Steve Mollenkopf, said of the situation:
“Demand for S4 chipsets exceeds supply. We’ve got some really good systems in the road map, and we’re making the investments needed to improve the supply.”
Mollenkopf continued by suggesting manufacturers look at alternatives from inside Qualcomm’s existing range of products:
“We’ve been helping customers to see how they can swap in our Fusion 2 chipset... (but) we do expect some non-Qualcomm chipsets used to solve this issue as well.”
The most recent Snapdragon chip, the S4, can be found in devices such as Apple’s iPhone, Microsoft’s imminent Windows 8 OS, HTC latest range of Android smartphones and Lenovo tablets. In total more than 370 products making use of Snapdragon chips are currently on the market, with more than 400 being currently developed, of which almost half are based on the S4.