Qualcomm chip shortage could hurt LG’s smartphone sales. Galaxy S III may not use an Exynos processor in the US

Qualcomm is reportedly having problems meeting demand for its new 28nm Snapdragon S4 SoC, which is used by handset makers like Samsung, LG, HTC, and Pantech.

According to The Korea Times, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs admitted the problems, saying: “Although the manufacturing yields are progressing per expectation, there’s a shortage of 28-nanometer capacity. And at this stage, we cannot secure enough supply to meet the increasing demand we’re experiencing. We’re working closely with our partners to bring additional capacity online.”

The Korean publication notes that the SoC shortage may have negative effects on LG’s earnings this quarter, as the company plans to introduce new Android LTE smartphones soon, including the rumored D1L (which can only use a Qualcomm chip, since Nvidia won’t have LTE-friendly chips before 2013).

It’s unlikely that Samsung will face similar problems. Since the Korean giant is a top-tier Qualcomm customer, the California-based company “should supply its chipsets [to Samsung] even under a heavy chip shortage.” Moreover, Samsung has its own SoCs – the Exynos family.

Interestingly, Korea Times quotes a Samsung executive – who did not want to be identified – as saying: “Samsung plans to release its Galaxy S III smartphone according to different specifications and different markets. For European consumers, it will use 3G and the company’s own quad-core mobile APs, while its own solution that combines LTE, 3G and quad-core mobile APs will be used for the Korean version. But only in the United States, will Samsung use Qualcomm chips.”

So it looks like Samsung will do what HTC did (the Taiwanese company released its One X flagship featuring a quad-core Nvidia chip in Europe and Asia, and a dual-core Qualcomm S4 chip in North America). But I guess we’ll find out more about the chips inside the S III on May 3, when the new handset will be officially announced.

Author: Florin

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