All microprocessor companies struggle with the same basic marketing problem: how do you explain to the average consumer why one part is faster than another without saying cache, GHz or cores. Intel and AMD have been using model numbers to abstract hardware differences for years. Today Qualcomm is announcing its own attempt at the same.

Snapdragon will continue to refer to Qualcomm’s family of high performance apps processors. Although in the past we’ve known them by relatively obscure seven character model numbers (e.g. MSM8660), going forward these SoCs are going to be grouped into one of four categories: S1, S2, S3 and S4.

The rules are pretty simple. Bigger numbers mean better SoCs, smaller numbers mean cheaper/lower power. The full name will be something like Snapdragon S1 Mobile Processor, although it’s unclear whether or not we’ll see a model number attached to the end of that. 

The S stands for System and the breakdown of specs is in the slide below:

The Snapdragon S1 is the mainstream 65nm SoC we’ve been seeing for the past year and a half: single core, Adreno 200 GPU, not a lot of fun but great for free/value phones. The S2 is the 45nm Snapdragon used in modern single-core Android smartphones. The S3 and S4 are the most interesting. The former encompasses Qualcomm’s move to dual-core SoCs, while the latter uses its next-generation Krait microarchitecture.

Although S1 - S3 SoCs are available today, Qualcomm won’t be shipping Snapdragon S4 processors until the end of 2011. Devices built around Snapdragon S4 processors will appear in 2012.

The branding change makes sense for Qualcomm. Prior to the S1 - S4 naming you either had people calling everything a Snapdragon or had to worry about explaining the difference between an APQ8060 and MSM8660. The new branding helps segment things a bit although I do believe Qualcomm will need to follow AMD/Intel’s lead and introduce some sort of a model number to indicate performance differences between parts within a family.

 

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  • Pratheek - Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - link

    this regrouping is done for layman only. Hope they will have series within the four categories so that the end user need not gamble his head... Reply
  • jrs77 - Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - link

    Well, I'll never understand the technology-companies and their tons of little differences. Why isn't there a simple lineup like "low-end", "mid-range" and "high-end"? And by that I mean a maximum of 3 processors in the companies line-up and not dozens of low, mid and high-end parts.
    Everyone does it, and it applies to GPUs, CPUs or whatever. It makes the market totally oversaturated and for the end-consumer it's a jungle they feel lost in.

    Look at the car-industry. Most have very simple lineups basically, like BMW 1/3/5/7, but then they'll end up with the same crap because you can choose between 5 or more motors for each one of them, forget about the extras and/or preconfigured editions.

    Less is more. It makes it way easier for the endconsumer to make a decision. Usually people buy something and then feel bad about their decision, because they are not sure, if their decision was the right one, simply because there where so many choices to be made, that they got lost somewhere inbetween.
    Reply
  • nexox - Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - link

    """Why isn't there a simple lineup like "low-end", "mid-range" and "high-end"? And by that I mean a maximum of 3 processors in the companies line-up and not dozens of low, mid and high-end parts."""

    If silicon manufacturers did that, they'd lose the benefit of binning parts that aren't up to the highest performance spec, and would thus have to throw quite a few more dies away. Chips aren't cars - you don't know what clock speed or how many functioning cores you'll get out of them until you've tested each and every one.

    Plus it'd probably put a lot of marketing people out of a job, and this would be a course of action proposed by a marketing department - there's no way they're going to voluntarily downsize.
    Reply
  • Uritziel - Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - link

    This. Reply
  • peterfares - Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - link

    I like my options. If you don't want choice, buy from Apple.

    Why is it saying this comment is spam?
    Reply
  • Metaluna - Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - link

    Apple has it's own simplified naming scheme:

    "The new iPhone 5...Now 23% more magical!"

    Sorry, couldn't resist :)
    Reply
  • freezervv - Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - link

    > Apple has it's own simplified naming scheme:
    > "The new iPhone 5...Now 23% more magical!"
    > Sorry, couldn't resist :)

    I'm sure you were trying to be funny but everyone knows that the iPhone 5 features 5G wireless technology I'm not sure where you got your info from but don't post wrong things I know I'll be buying one!
    Reply
  • analytical - Monday, September 26, 2011 - link

    What an odd idea. It sounds like you've been listening to too much Apple cheerleading.

    5G wireless has not yet been defined, there are no prototype projects, and it probably won't be implemented before 2020. Your Iphone 5 will be looking a bit long in the tooth by then.
    Reply
  • superccs - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    I really hate having choices too. Derp! Lol, eat your human food, and drive your automobile, to your work station, repeat. Reply
  • PyroHoltz - Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - link

    Is it funny/odd that Qualcomm decided to use an image for the Xbox 360 to indicate console gaming performance and support? Reply

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