What's next after smartphones

Chip shortage: Smartphones next affected

The global shortage of chips could also hit the smartphone market from April 2021 and thus worsen availability or cause price increases. Qualcomm in particular should be affected - one of the largest suppliers of smartphone processors, but also of additional chips such as analog circuits for radio frequencies (RFICs).

The news agency reports Reuters citing internal sources. A scarce chip supply on the part of Qualcomm would therefore, among other things, affect the bulk buyer Samsung, which is supposed to prioritize the production of high-end smartphones. As a result, entry-level and mid-range models could become more expensive in the coming months.

Too few additional chips

Unlike in previous reports, not only smartphone processors should be in short supply: In particular, power management circuits, which regulate the energy supply between the battery and the smartphone processor, are apparently also affected. These roll off the assembly line with older production technology - the corresponding production lines have been overloaded for months. The effects have been evident since the end of 2020, for example with graphics cards, which are, among other things, poorly available and overpriced.

PMICs, which manufacturers used to pay a maximum of a few US dollars for, are loud Reuters now more than 10 US dollars. Companies accept the high prices in order to cover themselves as best as possible. Qualcomm boss Cristiano Amon recently said global demand is exceeding supply. Improvement is only expected from 2022.

Loss of production

The market researcher TrendForce is meanwhile reporting on the effects of Samsung's production loss in Austin, Texas. The company had to shut down chip production in mid-February - initially due to power outages due to the onset of winter, then due to a lack of water. Production is not expected to start again until the end of March.

The shutdown Samsung fab is expected to reduce global smartphone production by all manufacturers by five percent in the second quarter of 2021. In Austin, for example, Samsung produces control units for OLED displays and analog circuits in large quantities. Qualcomm sells the latter together with 5G modems to smartphone manufacturers.


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