Qualcomm’s Snapdragon production woe continues

Chip giant Qualcomm has confirmed that it remains unable to meet demand for its sought-after Snapdragon processors in news that could prove problematic for smartphone manufacturers.

Of all the issues that could be faced, demand outstripping supply is certainly one of the most welcome, but the San Diego firm will be frustrated with the prolonged shortfall in production of its S4 28nm chips. Android devices have taken a particular shine to the technology, as the chips feature in market-leading phones including the HTC One X and Sony Xperia SX.

News of the shortage first circulated in April, when Qualcomm’s chief operating officer Steve Mollenkopf confirmed the company had underestimated demand for the Snapdragon S4. Mollenkopf was keen to highlight that gaps could be plugged by other products from the Qualcomm range, but the likes of Nvidia were no doubt eyeing up an opportunity to capitalise and will enjoy the continuing problems for its rival.

Assessing the knock-on effects of the issue, principal analyst at Davies Murphy Group Europe, Chris Green told the BBC, "It's slowing down production rates for a lot of the current Android models and is leading to a number of companies having to delay or scale down production of next generation models.”

"The problem is that if companies can't source enough of the chips they can't ramp up production lines to the speeds necessary to make them cost-productive. One company that I know has been affected is Asus and its Padfone."

Qualcomm’s third quarter earnings prove the company is becoming a victim of its own success with the chip saga, as a $1.2 billion (£760 million) net income was announced yesterday - a 15 per cent increase on the previous year.