Chip Shortage: Samsung begged Qualcomm for more smartphone chips

Like many other manufacturers, Samsung is struggling with the Chip Shortage. As one of the largest manufacturers, there is a correspondingly great need, but apparently, even the smartphone boss of the group flashed off during his visits to Snapdragon supplier Qualcomm.

As the Korean portal The Elec reports, TM Roh, who has been responsible for the most important division of Samsung Electronics for some time – namely the smartphone division – apparently visited the US chip company Qualcomm several times this year at its headquarters in San Diego. He should be negotiating there so that Qualcomm can deliver more Snapdragon SoCs to Samsung.

Samsung facing Chip shortage just like other manufacturers

But Roh’s mission apparently failed. In March and also in July, the head of Samsung Mobile even flew to the United States to hold talks there “with a large chip manufacturer”. Qualcomm is not explicitly identified as the interlocutor that Roh visited in the US, but there is no other chip company based there that supplies Samsung with chips for mobile devices on a large scale.


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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
The Galaxy S21 SE (unofficial picture) is said to be equipped with a Snapdragon SoC again. / © Evan Blass / Twitter

In any case, despite the multiple visits by the senior manager from Korea, the US partner was allegedly unwilling to give preference to the electronics giant for its chip deliveries or to increase the number of units as hoped. Samsung, therefore, has to carefully weigh up which smartphone models are equipped with the available chips, after all, there is a lot of strategy behind the business.

Most recently it became apparent that Samsung could even cancel the launch of the “Fan Edition” model of the Galaxy S21 series, which had been planned for months, after several postponements. The Galaxy S21 FE has developed a long time ago, but mass production has not yet been tackled on a large scale. At the moment, the launch is even on the brink, because Samsung prefers to equip the prestigious smartphones of the new Galaxy Z series with Qualcomm’s high-end SoCs, which should actually also be used in the FE model.

The curious thing about Samsung’s problems is that the Korean giant is actually the maker of the Snapdragon 888 itself. Because Qualcomm does not have its own production facility, the company traditionally has its chips built by contract manufacturers. And it is precisely this task that Samsung’s semiconductor division takes on for Qualcomm in the case of the Snapdragon 888. However, Samsung Semiconductor works separately from Samsung Mobile, so that the group actually produces the chips itself, but ultimately has to buy them from Qualcomm itself.

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