Qualcomm is struggling to meet the surge in demand for its Snapdragon chipsets, with multiple supply issues affecting its manufacturing strategy. Ripple effects can prioritize the premium tier with more affordable devices and longer waiting times for orders.
Sources from suppliers of Samsung – the most popular brand of Android phones and a partner in the production of Snapdragon chips – tell Reuters that the Korean OEM is facing shortages across the entire Snapdragon lineup, right up to the flagship Snapdragon 888. It is not said if this has led to a slowdown in smartphone production. Meanwhile, the head of ODM for smartphones with several major brand contracts says his company will have to cut its forecasts for shipments this year due to a general component shortage on the part of Qualcomm.
Several factors are believed to be contributing to the squeeze, some of which include: devastating winter storms in Texas that resulted in power outages at Samsung’s factory, which makes RF transceivers for Qualcomm; a slowdown in the production of power management chips in China and Taiwan; panic buying due to scarcity wider IC market this led to an exponential rise in prices with no guarantee of timely availability of stocks. Qualcomm is believed to be channeling most of its valuable components towards building more Snapdragon 888 product than lower-end chips.
What hasn’t helped is Huawei’s burden: the Chinese phone maker is banned from imports from the US, effectively preventing the company from using goods, services, and intellectual property such as Android OS, Qualcomm parts, and Arm chip blueprints. Thus, those who were previously a fan of the company’s affordable yet powerful phones had to either deal with major changes to their products or, more likely, change the brand.
If you want to buy a phone this year, you can take that as a signal to place your order sooner rather than later.