Snapdragon S4 supply shortages forcing the industry to look for alternative silicon from Intel and ST-Ericsson

Snapdragon S4 supply shortages forcing the industry to look for alternative silicon from Intel and ST-Ericsson
Now it doesn't get much better for smartphone makers than the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 integrated mobile chipset - it has two "Krait" cores that are a step up from the usual Cortex-A9 flavor, a good GPU, and above all, an on-dye LTE radio, soldered into a chip the size of your nail, that can hook it up to most networks on planet Earth. Add the usual Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth connectivity, and you get a complete solution that takes away thinking about the processor and wireless in your phone.

The 28nm process, on which the Snapdragon S4 is built, however, is still in its nascence, as far as mobile chips are concerned, so the TSMC foundry is installing equipment as fast as it can to satisfy demand, but it still won't be able to completely meet it until early next year.

That's why smartphone vendors like Samsung, Sony, HTC and LG are frantically looking for alternative suppliers. Reports are that NVIDIA, ST-Ericsson and even Intel are swamped with request for alternatives, urgent orders are being placed as stopgap measure, and manufacturers are even testing their silicon for complete adoption.

Both Intel as well as NVIDIA are leveraging their respective Infineon and Icera baseband makers buyouts to come up with integrated chipsets of their own by year-end, which ST-Ericsson already offers. 

It's Qualcomm's loss for now, but we are curious if we will see popular devices with more exotic mobile chipsets from Intel and ST-Ericsson inside than the usual Snapdragon/Tegra/Exynos triumvirate. Sony is already using ST-Ericsson for its mid-range Xperias, and Samsung for the Galaxy Beam, so the process has already started, but we can't help but wonder where is Texas Instruments in all that.

source: Digitimes



1. rg987

Posts: 130; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

TI is the best, they will come out soon and will get a roaring response too

2. OpTiMuS_BlAcK

Posts: 418; Member since: May 04, 2012

Now why won't AMD join the mobile wars too?

3. Cyan3boN

Posts: 446; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

@optimus black AMD could've been part of the mobile soc wars if they didn't sell their mobile graphics division(now adreno for Qualcomm) to Qualcomm, they still make the best integrated graphics for pcs, so they do have an option to bring back the competition.

4. cGmC11

Posts: 152; Member since: Apr 02, 2012

Samsung Galaxy SIII for US on the horizon!

5. AndroidSucks

Posts: 7; Member since: May 15, 2012

lol droidtroll

7. blinkdagger

Posts: 81; Member since: May 04, 2012

verizon doesn't get exynos quad-core, instead this. sigh..

6. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

I understand why SS needs Crapdragon due to the LTE radio, but why do they need an alternative when Intel and ST-Ericsson cannot provide any SoC with LTE? Exynos SoCs are much better.

8. theindianguy

Posts: 90; Member since: Sep 30, 2011

Enough with the crapdragon bulls**t because we all know that the s4 performed on par with the exynos.

9. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

How can and how come S4 is on par with Exynos 4212 when Galaxy S3 blows OneX At&t in calculating (look at CPU point of Antutu and Quadrant), graphics (look at GLBenchmark Offscreen) and Browser (look at BrowserMark and SunSpider)? However I agree that S4 is enough for every task we need, only alittle bit wondering that how it can perform Pop up play as smooth as Exynos 4 Quad.

11. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

the S4 is an OK chip. its plenty powerful for the average user. but when you compare it to the other chips, its still fighting for last place. it doesnt come anywhere near the Exynos 4412 in the international S3, dont kid yourself. Some tests have it by 40+ FPS. Crapdragon© trademark brought to you by RemixFA. Patent pending.

12. u-suck-more

Posts: 529; Member since: Aug 26, 2011

the S4 has beaten the Exynos 4412 on quite a number of benchmarks

13. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

really? according to Anandtech's indepth benchmark tests, thats quite untrue. The ONLY tests where the S4 even comes close to the SGS3 is in V-Sync arbitrarily limited tests that were "amazingly" made by Qualcomm and all their chips are tuned to get high scores on it.. go figure. Even Anandtech points that little bit out... and yet in one of them the SGS3 still beats it. s-iii-performance-preview

14. u-suck-more

Posts: 529; Member since: Aug 26, 2011

i dont rmb where i saw it, but it was on a SGS3 Preview/review. not on this site though.. and no, in the Vallamo test(higher is better), the SGS3 got 2072 and the HTC One X (AT&T), which uses the S4, got 2330. and just because you don't like Snapdragon chipsets, you don't need to call it Crapdragon. so unoriginal. i believe you basically took it from ''Crapsung'' and changed the ''sung'' to ''dragon''. sometimes i can't tell the difference between you and an Apple fan boy to be honest

18. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

the difference is that remix comes with exynos.. jejeje

20. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

actually crapdragon© is quite original. I personally coined that term back when the Single core crapdragon S2 was out. crapsung is an unintelligent and inut fanatic rip off of the word that popped up as Samsung gained in popularity. I do take a little pride in the fact that my little blurb of terminology has permiated the lexicon of the site. I've even heard some of my geekier customers use the term in the store. Apparently a lot more people read the comments than post by far. HI EVERYONE! lol

15. u-suck-more

Posts: 529; Member since: Aug 26, 2011

and plus, it isn't ''fighting for last'' place, it beats the NVIDIA Tegra 2, TIOMAP4, and S3 by miles, better than the Exynos in the S2 in all but 3 benchmarks. in fact, the S4 is better than Tegra 3 on quite a number of tests. you might not like it, but it is one of the most powerful dual core chips out there now. and besides, what does the Exynos 4412 matter to you? the US variant of the GS3 is using an S4 chipset

16. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

xD it also beats the OMAP3 and the 1st generation Snapdragon but the next generation of chipset started with the Tegra III barely. i see the Tegra III as an in-between. in this generation of chipsets, yeah, last place pretty much.

19. Snap123

Posts: 33; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

You need to stop with your stupid arguments with the FPS advantage the Exynos 4412 has over other chips. For one this was an offscreen benchmark meaning yes it shows that it was capable of pulling off 130fps in the GLBenchmark 2.1 compared to 94.9fps of the Snapdragon S4. The percentage of people who actually use their smartphone offscreen is very limited. The advantages of those FPS is only good in gaming. Video playback is just about capped at 30fps. The Snapdragon S4 can do anything the Exynos 4412. Stop trying to fool people into thinking that your Exynos is so great compared to other chips. Im not saying the S4 is a great chip im just saying it can handle its own against the quad core chips.

21. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

aka "STOP BRINGING UP ALL THESE BENCHMARK THINGS THAT MAKE THE CHIP IN MY FAVORITE PHONE LOOK BAD!" you guys are funny one is calling me a fanboy because he saw a test somewhere he can't recall or Google search that showed the S4 beating the 4412.. and that means its more plausible than this entire gammut of tests an extremely well respected site like Anadtech did. the other wants to ignore every test that shows the true power of the chips without limits because it makes "his chip" look bad. I don't have a "chip". I am loyal to no manufacturer. I go where the best is. period. PS you don't judge last years chips vs this years chips. they are different generations.

24. Snap123

Posts: 33; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Well its really going to suck for you when the Galaxy S3 comes to the US with the Snapdragon S4 yes even on your Tmobile carrier.

25. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

so your best response is spite? lol. yea.. and just like when. we got the bullcrap s3 crapdragon© filled fake sgs2, ill refuse to buy it. I think I'm in part of the new 1900mhz map so that means I can get a 4g unlocked exynos version used a month later and lose nothing in the deal.

28. Snap123

Posts: 33; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Lol im not responding in spite just saying what most sites are saying. You didnt even have a response back to me in comment your, comment 21 when i stated the fact that the benchmark you were talking about was offscreen benchmark. I bet you dont even use your smartphone offscreen so quit bragging about offscreen benchmarks. It doesnt mean anything to people who use the phones screen 100% percent of the time.

29. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

no one uses an offscreen mode to play... the screen would be off!! lol. do you know why its offscreen? so it doesnt have things like V-sync limiters and other artificial stuff thats stuck into QUALCOMMs benchmark suites that are meant to make Crapdragons look as good as possible. Without those artificial limiters, the chips are free to push as hard as they can. They are still pushing all the same polygons as they do on screen, you just cant see it. It shows you the FULL power of the chip without limits. Its not "bragging". Its facts. Why do those tests matter? For today.. not a whole lot, both chips are plenty powerful for most everything right now. But do you buy a phone for just today, or do you still want it to fly through tasks in a year or 2? The higher the score, the longer the chip will be able to keep up with the pack as newer and newer chips come out. I bought my SGS1 2 years ago. Its powerVR chip runs faster than an Crapdragon S3 in most benchmarks. With a few tweaks, the phone runs ICS buttery smooth like a galaxy nexus. Whats the point of me saying all that? I researched and bought the best chip combo available 2 years ago. And even today it can still play with the big boys for many tasks. Any chip less than a Hummingbird can not say that. It is now the bare minimum of processing. And its proven to be better than a T2 and S3 in many things. Do you want to say that about your chip in 2 years? If so, then quit trying to find ways to make "your chip" look better than it is, give a really hard look at all the stats and benchmarks, and decide which chip is really the best. The unequivocal answer to that question in this moment in time is the Exynos 4412. And it has it by a pretty wide margin.

30. u-suck-more

Posts: 529; Member since: Aug 26, 2011

and you shouldn't judge DUAL cores with QUAD cores!

10. Vrils

Posts: 42; Member since: Sep 17, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S Advance uses ST Ericsson U8500 (1GHz dual core SoC)

17. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

see? what did i tell you? they're all pulling Bionics. :P

22. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

don't know about chips or performance but all I know is that the S4 is the only one currently on the market that gets along and LTE radio to me there are number 1..

23. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

that's because they refuse to liscence their tech to Samsung and other manufacturers. I don't really think that's right. if moto and others have to share their 3g tech by forced frand liscencing, why does qualcom get away with hoarding their 4g band tech? but I know I'm asking that question to the wrong person. you don't actually care, your just trying to spur a

26. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

i do care but i dont understand,, and I come in peace

27. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

now your a cheesy 80s horror sci fi flick? lol

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