Will Snapdragon S4 Fabrication Delays Affect Phone Release Dates?
If the rumors we’re hearing today about smartphone delays are accurate, we’re going to be looking at a lot of handsets coming out quite a bit later than we’d like. We just looked at Nokia’s Lumia 900 and the theory that it wouldn’t land at AT&T until late April. That was bad enough, but this next rumor has the potential to affect a whole lot more smartphone customers.
Supposedly, semiconductor manufacturer TSMC in Taiwan abruptly halted fabrication of chips made with a 28-nanometer process sometime last month. The details on just why it may have taken such drastic action aren’t available, but the presumption is that quality problems got to the point where re-tooling the process became necessary.
Plenty of companies use TSMC to make 28nm chips for them, but the one we’re concerned with is Qualcomm, with its new S4 Krait series of Snapdragon processors. Supposedly, TSMC has its production ramping back up to full-speed, but the delay it’s already experienced may lead to Qualcomm not getting chip orders until two or three weeks after they were expected.
Snapdragon S4-based phones include several models we got to see at the Mobile World Congress, including the ASUS Padfone and HTC’s One S and One XL (the AT&T LTE One X). As a result of this rumored component delay, there’s the potential for these models to see their release dates pushed-back several weeks, if not more.