TSMC is going to have trouble making 28 nm chips until 2013 rolls around

If you’re not using an iPhone, and you don’t own an international Samsung device, then chances are you have an Android powered smartphone with a Qualcomm chip inside. Now Qualcomm doesn’t actually make their chips, they merely design them. The blueprints are then handed to a company called TSMC, who in turn is responsible for making the physical product that gets shipped to the likes of HTC and Nokia. TSMC is fairly adept at what they do, but they’re running into some issues when it comes to their newest 28 nanometer process. To put it bluntly, they simply can’t make enough chips. According to Focus Taiwan, TSMC will “fail to meet market demand” for 28 nm chips in Q3 2012. Things will be slightly better in Q4, but we’re going to have to wait until 2013 to see these shortages stop.

Why is this news important? Because Qualcomm’s flagship product, the S4 Snapdragon, is made using TSMC’s 28 nanometer fabrication facilities. Failure to supply enough of those chips means companies can’t make as many devices as they were hoping to make. We’ve already seen this impact HTC, who in Taiwan is shipping the new One S with the older Snapdragon S3 inside instead of the S4 that they promised back in February.

What about Apple and Samsung? Apple, like Qualcomm, doesn’t make chips. They merely design them and then get Samsung to do the dirty work. That’s right, Samsung makes their own chips, which shouldn’t surprise any of you since they’re also known for making screens, memory, and storage products. So the Galaxy S III and the next iPhone aren’t going to face any supply constraints, which is great.

Is Qualcomm screwed? Not really. Everyone depends on TSMC, including NVIDIA, so every chip firm is feeling the pain right now. The holiday quarter might be a little lighter this year, but that’s OK.

[Via: The Verge]

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