Consumers hoping to get their hands on a new Android phone powered by a Qualcomm S4 SoC (system on a chip) this spring may have to wait a few extra weeks. Reports are coming in that TSMC, the manufacturer of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 chip, abruptly stopped production of all their 28nm chips three weeks ago to make changes to the production process. Production is expected to be back in full swing in “short order” with supply levels reaching normal levels by the end of March.
The three week production halt of Qualcomm’s S4 chip (which began before Mobile World Congress) could translate into supply shortages or even launch delays for a few Android phones this spring. The HTC One series relies on the S4 chip for the HTC One S and One XL (One X for AT&T). While the phones are expected to debut in Europe during the first week of April, T-Mobile USA, AT&T and other service providers in Europe have not announced exact release dates for the HTC One.
The Qualcomm S4 SoC has been in full production since early 2012, so it’s hard to say how this production issue will actually affect the different OEMs who are using the chip in their phones. Handset delays of supply shortages will be directly affected by Qualcomm’s inventory level before the production stoppage. We hope TSMC gets the production line back up and running in the next few days. Any more delays could cause a serious chip supply shortage for Qualcomm that could carry into the summer.