updated 04:28 pm EDT, Thu July 19, 2012
Chipset's popularity slows down Android phone production
Demand for the Snapdragon chipsets that power popular Android devices like Samsung's Galaxy S III and the HTC One X will apparently continue to outstrip manufacturer Qualcomm's ability to produce them. The chip designer confirmed to the BBC that it was unable to fully sate manufacturer demand, but said it was ramping up supply with a number of foundries to try to close the gap.
Qualcomm's 28nm Snapdragon chips rely on ARM processor designs but combine those processors with Qualcomm's own wireless data technologies. The company outsources production of the components to a number of other companies, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Qualcomm now says it has four sources manufacturing the chipset.
The shortage of Snapdragon chips is said to be having an impact on phone manufacturers, who are forced to either slow down or scale back production of their next generation models until Qualcomm can catch up with demand. Asus, maker of Google's Nexus 7 tablet, is said to have been particularly affected by the shortage.
The shortage of Snapdragon processors may eventually have the effect of strengthening the hand of Qualcomm's rival-partner Samsung. Samsung is currently partnered with Qualcomm to manufacture some of its Snapdragon chips. However, Samsung also recently purchased the mobile technology arm of CSR, as well as a Swedish Wi-Fi chipset company. The acquisitions are thought to be aimed at strengthening Samsung's standing in the all-in-one chip segment, which would no doubt threaten Qualcomm's own standing.