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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How Will the Global Chip Shortage Affect Me?

Computer and Tech Tips Blog

The Covid-19 pandemic has created chaos in the production of many products we use in our day-to-day life including semiconductors. How does this affect you? Well, semiconductors are one of the important components in the electronics you use at home and work. Smartphones, computers, cars, and tablets are just a few of the items that rely on computer semiconductors and chips. Production slowed down some tech items, reducing supply. During the pandemic, demand suddenly increased on tech-related gadgets which created a shortage. When shortages occur, there's always the possibility that prices may skyrocket. Wondering what tech devices are affected? Check out this list of items that could be affected by the chip shortage and what you can do to save some money.

There is very little produced in this smart and highly connected digital age that doesn’t need some embedded computer parts. Some people have wondered if the chip shortage is real. It is, but every company is affected differently. Many companies order computer chips far in advance to keep up with supply and demand. Other companies order only when the need occurs which causes problems because chip manufacturers have to keep the promises to their long-standing customers while casual customers have to wait their turn in line. You're probably thinking why don't they just open a new factory to keep up with supply and demand. Easier said than done. Opening new production lines take months to build and costs billions of dollars. Here is a list of products that could be affected.

1. Household electronics. You probably didn't realize everyday items like microwaves, vacuum cleaners, TVs, smart home devices, and even appliances in your home or office have semiconductors or chips inside of them. Unfortunately, the life of most home appliances is 5 years or less. If you're in the market for home or office appliances, now might be a good time to make a purchase.

2. Desktop and Laptop Computers. Your Windows and Macintosh computers are made up of chips and semiconductors. Before you rush out and purchase a new computer, make sure you can't upgrade your current system. Upgrades such as solid-state hard drives (SSD), or more RAM can increase the speed of your slower, older computer. With that in mind, these items will be affected by the chip shortage, so act now.

3. Smartphones & Tablets. Your smartphone and tablet are essentially mini-computers and these devices are affected too. You could see a price increase for Android devices which are normally less expensive than Apple devices.

4. Gaming consoles. Fortunately, the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X saw releases last fall, and there are no new game systems on the horizon. If the chip shortage continues, you could see this affect the availability of these products as the holiday season approaches. If you're looking to purchase one of the latest gaming consoles as a holiday gift, you might want to get ahead of the holiday rush.

This is probably a good time to practice some preventive maintenance on your electronic devices to help them last a little longer. Some tips to use are as follows:

Purchase good surge protection. A power surge can fry a TV, computer, or any other electronic device that is plugged in for power. Make sure those items are plugged into a surge protector or consider a whole home surge protector that you can purchase from your energy provider.

Take care of your devices. This seems obvious, but it makes a big difference. This means get a case for that phone or tablet. Remove those dead batteries from your devices to keep them from leaking and ruining your devices. Also, take care of the cords used to power your devices. Only purchase manufacture approved cords. Third-party cords can ruin your devices. Appliance care should be followed as well, especially if you have smart appliances.

Clean your devices. Dust out your computers and devices on a regular basis to prevent them from overheating. Also, clean out the files on your devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers to keep them running well.

The bottom line for this current chip shortage is if you need something, buy it now while you can get it at an affordable price. Currently, there's no solution, and chip and semiconductor supplies may run out. The good news is many brick-and-mortar and online stores usually keep stock to last a while for electronic items but that doesn't mean that prices won't rise for these items. Also, it helps to make sure you're taking care of your devices to help them last for a long time.

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