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Qualcomm partners with Samsung and UMC to increase Snapdragon S4 supply, report says

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A new report says that Qualcomm has contracted Samsung and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) to help produce its 28nm Snapdragon S4 chips. The company will continue to rely on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), but the increased production should hopefully address shortages of the chip.

Qualcomm logo (1020)
Qualcomm logo (1020)

Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 chip is a hot seller, but unfortunately for the American company, it has had trouble producing enough of the chips to satisfy demand. The dire situation — output wasn't expected to meet demand until 2013 — has driven Qualcomm to contract Samsung and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) to manufacture the 28nm chips for them, according to a report from the Taiwan Economic News. The company has been on relying on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to build the vast majority of its products, but the manufacturer has clearly failed Qualcomm. The report cites "people familiar with the contract," and says that UMC will begin making around 3,000 to 5,000 wafers per month — about 20 to 30 percent of TSMC's current output.

Details of the Samsung deal aren't revealed, but the Korean company is a competitor to Qualcomm in the chipset space — its SoC's are used in both Samsung-made devices as well as those from others (most notably Apple). However odd it may sound, Samsung is well-known for competing within itself. The Galaxy S III, for instance, is powered by a Qualcomm S4 chip in the US since Samsung's Exynos chipsets don't offer LTE. While it's not clear how much product Samsung will produce or when, it sounds like Qualcomm's supply troubles aren't yet over since UMC isn't slated to begin work until Q4 of this year. Demand will only be increasing as the year wears on, with S4-powered Windows RT tablets and Windows Phones in the works. We've yet to heard confirmation of the deal, but we'll be keeping an eye out and we'll update this story when we do.