Comms chips

Qualcomm's Snapdragon Spreads Its Wings

SAN DIEGO --Uplinq -- Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) is planning to include its Snapdragon chipset in 250 devices in the coming months, in addition to the 125 Snapdragon smartphones and tablets already on the market, CEO Paul Jacobs told Uplinq attendees this week.

And it's well on its way to achieving that goal despite a highly competitive market thanks to wins with Android, HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications . (See HP Open to 'Special' webOS Partners and Qualcomm, Nvidia Face Off in the Core.)

All Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices are running on Snapdragon and the next generation of the OS, announced on Wednesday, will use the dual- and eventually quad-core Central Processing Unit (CPU) as well. It's not an exclusive relationship, but Jacobs pointed to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop's keynote on Thursday here in San Diego as evidence that it will remain strong.

Sony Ericsson represents another big win for Snapdragon. The handset maker has already launched four Snapdragon-based phones this year, the most notable being its gaming-focused Xperia Play. Qualcomm competitor Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA) is the traditional leader in gaming, so it is significant that Sony Ericsson chose Snapdragon over its graphics-focused rival. (See Adobe Flashes to All Qualcomm Devices, Nvidia Targets Qualcomm With Icera Buy and Sony Ericsson Intros PlayStation Phone.)

As for the additional 250 upcoming Snapdragon devices, Jacobs said to expect some interesting and aggressive form factors, including tablets with keyboards, transformable devices, foldable tablets and component models -- what he called a huge opportunity now that Microsoft has said that its next version of Windows will support ARM-based system-on-chips (SoCs), which the software giant announced in January this year. (See CES 2011: OS Watch Goes Gadgets.)

Qualcomm's Snapdragon CPU is only running on a single-core processor today, but Jacobs stressed that it's not the number that matters, but the performance. Snapdragon saves 50 to 70 percent of power use with the same performance level of its competitors, most of which are on dual-core chips, he claimed. "The performance you get is much more than just counting the number of cores in a chip," Jacobs jibed. "It's how they work together."

Even so, Qualcomm is participating in the arms race. It will have its first dual-core chip in a smartphone, the High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) Evo 3D, this month, as well as in the HP TouchPad tablet. As to when it will have the quad-core chipsets that some of its competitors are touting, Jacobs only said "soon." (See MWC 2011: Qualcomm Whips up Snapdragon.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:03:37 PM
re: Qualcomm's Snapdragon Spreads Its Wings

Looks like Computex got some more specific timing for the quad-core Snapdragon CPU than we did: early 2012.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:03:27 PM
re: Qualcomm's Snapdragon Spreads Its Wings

But it isn't Qualcomm that is the victor here, but Ti and their OMAP line.  Not only is there an ARM core, but a DSP as well not to mention a GPU and an ISP.  In some of the higher-end phones that used OMAP, the baseband was on a separate OMAP processor.  So the main processor had nothing to do with baseband at all and was mainly used for user processes.  The main processor could have easily of handled the baseband functions, but better performance is seen by offloading it.  Most phones used a processor to handle all of the functions.  More and more phones are offloading the baseband as it makes it cheaper given the rate of faster networks speeds that seem to come out quarterly at times.  While others have emulated the OMAP line, they never add the DSP in.


Qualcomm likes to show how much better than their system is compared to the competition.  On benchmark shows the the OMAP3 at 600Mhz and 550Mhz.  Maybe they should use the OMAP4 or even the OMAP5 and compare dual core to dual core.  I bet their results will be quite different.

leydenli 12/5/2012 | 5:03:19 PM
re: Qualcomm's Snapdragon Spreads Its Wings

Although Qualcomm builds its own CPU micro-architecture, Snapdragon mobile processors are more than CPUs - they are system on chip solutions developed specifically for mobile.  At Qualcomm, we invest in and build our own custom transistors from the ground up - we build our own CPU cores, our own GPU cores, our own memory bus architecture, our own display processors, our own multimedia processors, our own modems, etc.  But that’s not the end because having best in class CPUs, GPUs, modems and other essential hardware building blocks is only where we start.  Intelligently integrating all of those capabilities into a high performance, power efficient system on chip and adding to that software drivers, APIs, development tools and engineering support is what gets us to a great system level solution that delivers a superior mobile experience. 


In the case of the Xperia PLAY, Qualcomm worked closely with Sony Ericsson not just on the hardware aspect of the solution but also helped establish connections with some of the best mobile game developers and game titles around.  Also, through a robust suite of development tools such as our Adreno profiler and SDK, we help game developers ensure that the games offered on the Xperia PLAY are optimized to take full advantage of all the features that Snapdragon mobile processors have to offer. 


If you’d like to hear more about why Sony Ericsson chose Snapdragon Mobile Processors to power the Xperia Play, check out this recently posted Qualcomm video, featuring Aaron Duke and Kim Ahlstrom from Sony Ericsson, talking about the Xperia PLAY with Snadragon’s Adreno GPU.




Btw, my name is Michelle and I work for Qualcomm. All comments posted in this article are mine.


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