Remember earlier this year, when Sony's PlayStation 4 was hard to find? Get ready for more shortages across all sorts of electronics products. Turns out there's a shortfall in one tiny but crucial component used in nearly every electronic device, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Everything from devices, to gaming consoles, smartphones and televisions contain hundreds of multilayer ceramic chip capacitors, or MLCCs, about the size of a grain of rice. Demand is high for these components, which store power and control energy flow, but supply is low. It's why Sony's PlayStation 4 became so hard to find, according to the Journal.
MLCCs cost less than a penny to produce, but only a few companies make them. Murata Manufacturing, Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Taiyo Yuden own 60 percent of the market that makes MLCCs.
Demand in the smartphone and automotive markets last year was stronger than anticipated, according to a November report by market researcher ReportLinker. MLCC companies hesitated to boost production because smartphone sales growth has leveled out.