With the Galaxy S4 set to debut soon and expected to generate record sales, Samsung, which produces both mobile hardware and components, is said to be reserving more and more in-house memory parts for itself. This has given rise to a number of notable supply-constraint issues within the industry, namely those related to eMCP/IC-MCP memory. Mid-end smartphone and tablet manufacturers, in particular those who rely heavily on MCP-integrated chipsets, are currently perceived to be at the most risk of experiencing lowered production levels. Large scaled semiconductor companies like Mediatek, whose chips are known for incorporating eMCP solutions, are also likely to witness significantly decreased production and shipment numbers, according to a recent market report from DRAMeXchange.
As deserving as its actions are of criticism, Samsung’s eMCP/IC-MCP restraints are not entirely unjustifiable: As stated by Technews, the Korean company plans to ship 90 million smartphones by the end of the second quarter, and of these, approximately 40 million are expected to be the Galaxy S4. In the first quarter alone, Samsung is said to have already shipped an estimated total of 65 million smartphones. If we were to take into account the sheer volume of new mobile products that Samsung plans to unleash—along with those that it has already shipped- it makes sense that the company would at one point have difficulty ensuring steady chip supplies for everyone. DRAMeXchange has predicted that in April, the eMCP/CI-MCP shortage situation may be such that only first tiered manufacturers like Huawei, ZTE, Coolpad, and Lenovo will be able to get their hands on Samsung’s memory products. Second and third tiered manufacturers, on the other hand, may not be so lucky.
The MCP products currently known to be on short supply include the 16+8 and the 8+8 varieties. For these items, Samsung is said to only be able to fulfill about 30-40% of the orders. Other signs that are likely to make third-party smartphone manufacturers cringe include the potential shortage of AMOLED displays and rumors claiming that SK Hynix is also planning to tighten its eMCP supplies.