The global hardware drought is not ceding territory to anyone irrespective of size, might, and resource. Now, Qualcomm has reported that it too has been hit by the worldwide chip shortage leading to fears of Android mobile shortages.
Qualcomm, which is a titan of the chip-making industry, has issued a stark warning that the company is struggling to meet demand. The reports occur against the backdrop of problems with the Xbox Series X, PS5, and Xbox Series S. All of which rely on AMD’s SoCs to deliver the next-gen gaming experience.
Many chip makers rely on outsourcing aspects of the manufacturing process to third-parties: the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, TSMC, is one such company under the proverbial production cosh, which is providing fertile ground for Samsung to capitalize on manufacturers’ demands for more production capacity, in its offer to lend its production facilities to help meet supply volumes.
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Qualcomm is an important company with big clients. Apple is a major customer and has reported in the last week that it's facing shortages of components for its high-end iPhone 12 models, including the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Samsung, too, has expressed concern; indeed, Qualcomm's forecasts are widely understood to be a reliable barometer of the health of the mobile phone market. This is more bad news for the industry that simply can't scale.
There are a variety of factors at play. COVID-19 catalyzed the emergence of the situation that manufacturers now find themselves in. First, the pandemic caused chip orders to fall; next, the seismic shift to remote working placed a strain on computer supplies. Increasing reliance on automobiles, too, has prompted a further need for chips, as people avoid public transport.
The resulting rebound has viscerally hurt lots of sectors. Huawei has taken a beating: the Huawei Mate 40 Pro and Huawei P40 ravaged by Kirin chip supplies running dry. The Kirin 9000 chips used in Huawei’s Mate 40 series have been struck down by incessant shortages as a knock-on from US sanctions. T3's pick of the best Android phones will guide you alternate options on the market.
The primary issue is rooted in near-global reliance on the same semiconductor manufacturers. No foundries other than TSMC and Samsung can offer the essential 7nm manufacturing capabilities needed for advanced mobile chipsets. As such, the accelerated sell-off of Huawei’s Honor brand – its youth-focused budget brand – is a knee-jerk response, in part, to the same struggles.
The industry isn't acclimatizing easily; reportedly, the Xbox Series X may not restock parched shelves until at least mid-2021. That's an unfathomably long time for fans who are gasping for next-gen action but aren't abreast of the endemic, whirlwind shortages that have swept through the tech sector. Hopefully, things will pick up sooner, but Qualcomm's statements don't bode well for the broader industry, especially Android devices.
Source: South China Morning Post (opens in new tab)