Smartphone Popularity Leads to Shortage of Snapdragon Chipsets

The increase in adoption of smartphone and the powerful features of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset line is creating shortages that Qualcomm may not be able to address until the end of the year. The company’s recently released 28 nm architecture behind the dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset–found on the U.S. variant of the HTC One X–provides enough power when compared to the quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 architecture. Qualcomm’s announced shortage will likely affect Android smartphones, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 ARM systems that rely on ARM architecture.

As a result of the shortages of chips, Qualcomm says that its chips may be limited to high-end handsets for the time being and the situation may create a void for mid-range smartphones. The company says that it may ask manufacturers to use rival CPUs in mid-range handsets. Qualcomm COO Steve Mollenkopf says that his company had underestimated demand for the powerful S4 chipset.

BBC UK reported that for alternatives, Qualcomm says that it will try to get handset manufacturers to adopt its Fusion 2 chipset or even chips from competitors. In addition, Qualcomm is also looking to outsource some of its Snapdragon S4 production to other suppliers, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), a firm that was rumored in the past to manufacture Apple’s ARM-based CPU designs.

“We’ve been helping customers to see how they can swap in our Fusion 2 chipset… [but] we do expect to see some alternative non-Qualcomm chipsets used to solve that issue as well.”

Despite shortages of Snapdragon CPUs, analysts do not predict that this will have any long-term impact on smartphone supplies as manufacturers will try to look for other viable alternatives to fill the void left by Qualcomm.

Qualcomm’s chipsets are especially preferred in the U.S. by wireless carriers in the States because when coupled with Qualcomm’s radios, these chips perform well on next-generation mobile broadband network technologies, such as HSPA+ and LTE.

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