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Qualcomm creates new Snapdragon naming scheme

Existing and future chips will be placed in 4 separate categories of increasing performance levels

If you thought that the current naming scheme for Qualcomm’s line of Snapdragon CPUs is hard to follow, you’re not the only one. The California-based company announced Wednesday morning a complete overhaul of the naming structure for its popular line of Snapdragon CPUs.

According to SlashGear, existing and future Snapdragon processors will now be separated into four distinct tiers based on overall performance levels. The first tier, S1, includes basic 65nm chips up to 1GHz speeds. For example, the MSM7627 (Palm Pixi Plus) and QSD8250 (Dell Streak) are part of the S1 category.

The next tier, S2, encompasses 45nm chips up to 1.4GHz speeds. These chips can have moderately powerful GPUs such as the Adreno 205 with Stereoscopic 3D, 720p and Dolby 5.1 support. Examples include the MSM8655 (HTC Thunderbolt) and MSM7630 (HTC Evo Shift 4G).

Another tier up will be the S3 family, which covers dual-core 45nm chips up to 1.5GHz speeds. These chips should be powerful enough to support all the features mentioned in the S2 tier but with 1080p support. Examples include the MSM8660 (HTC Evo 3D) and APQ8060 (HP TouchPad)

Lastly, the S4 tier is reserved for the upcoming generation of 28nm Snapdragon CPUs. As one can imagine, the requirements for this level are quite impressive, including up to quad-core processors at 2.5GHz speeds, quad-core Adreno GPUs, and 3G/LTE connectivity support. The Qualcomm Krait chips will likely lie within this high-end category. Exactly when we can expect these monster chips is unknown, but we should definitely be seeing working prototype devices taking advantage of S4 Snapdragons by the end of the year or early 2012.

Of course, new names won’t exactly win Qualcomm the mobile CPU crown. Stiff competition from Nvidia’s Kal-El, TI’s OMAP 5, AMD’s Fusion Z and even tablet-specific chips from ZiiLabs are all expected to be in full force by next year.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-08- 4 (Update: 2012-05-26)