Samsung Galaxy S21 could fall victim to global chip shortage
The global chip glut has begun to affect Qualcomm's ability to supply to Samsung, according to a report from Reuters.
The shortage has not only affected chips meant for mid-and low-end Samsung phones, but also the Snapdragon 888 which powers the Galaxy S21 series. It's not clear if this has impacted the manufacturing of the S21 phones, which would be unfortunate to say the least, as the handsets are reportedly performing better than their predecessors.
Qualcomm is said to be prioritizing its flagship chip at the expense of lower-end SoCs.
Although Qualcomm is still confident that it will be able to meet its sales target for the second quarter, a contract manufacturer for several major smartphone companies told Reuters it would cut smartphone shipments because it was experiencing a 'shortage of a range of components' from the chipmaker.
Xiaomi's vice president Lu Weibing had previously cautioned that the chip shortage was extreme.
Qualcomm's incoming Chief Executive Cristiano Amon had recently said that demand was higher than supply. This might partially be because of restrictions placed on Huawei by the US, which have caused consumers to turn to other Android companies which typically use Qualcomm's chips. Huawei's phones are mostly powered by its own Kirin silicon.
Amon said last month that U.S. sanctions against the Chinese company may help free up capacity at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, but added that freed up supply 'won’t translate into an immediate up-tick in output for other providers.'
The semiconductor industry is tightly integrated and even seemingly minor shortages could lead to increased lead times. The shortage is also leading to panic buying and driving up costs. For example. a microcontroller-unit chip from STMicroelectronics, which used to cost $2, now sells for $14.