July 4, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Here’s the good news for Qualcomm: the most popular Android smartphones released in North America use its Snapdragon S4 chipset. Here’s the bad news for Qualcomm: the most popular Android smartphones released in North America use its Snapdragon S4 chipset.
Qualcomm has struggled to keep up with demand for the Snapdragon S4, which has led to some companies opting to use other chips for their phones released outside of the U.S. Demand isn’t going to fall anytime soon, so Qualcomm’s only choice is to ramp up production to meet supply. To do that, the company is turning to Samsung, a rival in the chip manufacturing game.
It’s kind of funny that Qualcomm would have to turn to Samsung, which develops the competing Exynos chipset, but this is also a testament to the Snapdragon’s popularity. Qualcomm’s chips are produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC), which can’t get 28 nanometer chips out the door fast enough. Deals have been struck with both UMC and Samsung to produce Snapdragon S4 chips to help meet the supply shortfall. Details for the deal with Samsung have not been released, but UMC is expected to supply “between 3,000 and 5,000 wafers per month, between 20 [and] 33 percent of the monthly volume supplied by TSMC.”
The deal should reduce the chance of more smartphones being delayed or altered because of a failure to produce enough components. HTC, Samsung, and other Android manufacturers already depend on Qualcomm for their phones released in North America. Supply will be more competitive with Qualcomm leading the Windows 8 RT rollout as well, so it will be critical to increase production to make sure you all have new toys to play with later this year.