Snapdragon S4 chips will have shortages until early 2013, says TSMC
Due to the incredible popularity of the Snapdragon S4 chip, combined with the relative immaturity of the 28nm production process, supply will be tight well into next year, according to Qualcomm. This comes after a quarter in which the company inked deals with HTC and Samsung for the North American rollout of its One X and Galaxy S III devices respectively.
According to a representative from TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.), the main foundry at which Qualcomm builds its chips, supply will be tight into the fourth quarter of this year, levelling off at the beginning of 2013. By then, however, competitors such as Nvidia, Texas Instruments and perhaps even Samsung will have their own LTE solutions, which will spread out market demand. At the moment Qualcomm is the only company with an on-die LTE solution, highly sought-after in North America.
“The goal is to get enough supply for everyone,” Qualcomm’s CEO Paul Jacobs said in an interview with Reuters. That means exploring other manufacturing outlets to increase production, but nothing has been inked just yet.
Another interest snippet of information out of TSMC is that they’re early in the stages of building out an 18nm production line, but it’s far too early for commercial output just yet. Intel and Samsung are also apparently looking into such wafer sizes, which gels with reports that the latter company is expanding its chip building facilities.