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Rebranding ‘clarifies’ Qualcomm’s mobile chipsets

Aug 3, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Qualcomm announced new branding and a roadmap for its “Snapdragon” family of mobile chipsets. With clock speeds ranging from 1GHz to 2.5GHz, the devices will be grouped into System 1, System 2, System 3, and System 4 tiers, and 28nm quad-core versions will start sampling early next year, according to the company.

Confused about Qualcomm's many Snapdragon processors? Us too.

The Snapdragon line made its debut in November 2007 with the QSD8250/8650, but had grown to a total of 14 different SoCs (systems on chip) even prior to today's announcement. Now, with consumers becoming increasingly interested in what kind of chip is powering their smartphones, Qualcomm has announced a rebranding exercise to clarify matters.

Qualcomm is grouping its Snapdragons into four tiers

Thankfully, the company isn't renaming any pups in its Snapdragon litter. But it is grouping them into four tiers, which among other things newly include four chips (the MSM7627, MSM7227, MSM7625, and MSM7225) that weren't previously Snapdragon-branded.

System 1 includes four chips that weren't previously Snapdragon-branded

According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon System 1 devices are "for mass market smartphones." Fabbed using a 65nm processor, they run at up to 1GHz, offer Adreno 220 graphics, and deliver up to 3G HSPA data rates.

The chips placed in the System 1 tier are the following:

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon System 2 devices are "for high performance smartphones and tablets." They're clocked at up to 1.4GHz, 45nm-fabbed, equipped with Adreno 205 graphics, and capable of 3G HSPA+ connectivity. According to Qualcomm, System 2 chips support 1024 x 768 pixel displays, deliver 720p video and 5:1 surround sound, and can do stereoscopic 3D.

The chips placed in the System 2 tier are the following:

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon System 3 devices are "for multitasking and high-performance gaming." They're clocked at up to 1.5GHz, 45nm-fabbed, equipped with Adreno 220 graphics, and again capable of 3G HSPA+ connectivity. According to Qualcomm, System 3 chips support 1440 x 900 pixel displays, deliver 1080p video and 5:1 surround sound, and once more offer stereoscopic 3D.

The chips placed in the System 3 tier are the following:

System 3 chips are already found in popular phones

Finally, the System 4 devices are the 28nm-fabbed Snapdragons Qualcomm first announced in February. They're 28nm-fabbed, clocked at up to 2.5GHz, offer as many as four cores, have "next-generation" Adreno graphics, and deliver 3G or LTE connectivity.

The chips placed in the System 4 tier are the following:

These four tiers do bring a measure of clarity to the Snapdragon line, though you can still color us confused on at least one point: The MSM8270 was first announced in 2009, at which point Qualcomm said it would use a 1.2GHz "Scorpion" core and 45nm fabrication. Earlier this year, however, the company indicated that the MSM8270 would actually employ 28nm fabrication and the next-gen "Krait" core (also used by the three other System 4 devices).


Qualcomm noted in its presentation for investors (from which the slides earlier in this story were extracted) that 28nm Snapdragons are sampling now. The company had said in February that the MSM8960 would begin sampling in the second quarter, while the MSM8930 and APQ8064 would begin sampling in early 2012.

Meanwhile, the System 1, System 2, and System 3 Snapdragons are all shipping now, as far as we're aware.

Jonathan Angel can be reached at [email protected] and followed at

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