From the event we know that Qualcomm is getting ready to launch a 28nm SoC with clock speeds of up to 2.5GHz in single, dual and quad core versions, all with next gen Adreno dual or quad core graphics. However, the company didnt say much more and some publications made the assumption that Qualcomm would have a quad core solution for phones out by early next year. Well, sadly this isnt the case for those of you that are longing to get your hands on a quad core phone, but lets not get ahead of ourselves, instead, lets start from the top.
The current series of Snapdragon SoCs from Qualcomm are known as the S3 class, also known as Scorpion and here were talking about chips like the current MSM8660 and MSM8260 as well as the APQ8060 which lacks baseband support. These SoCs can be found in a wide range of devices from HPs now defunct TouchPad to HTCs Sensation and EVO 3D. Theyre all 45nm dual core parts with Adreno 220 graphics and a core clock speed of between 1.2 and 1.5GHz.
The next generation of Snapdragon chips will be the S4 class, as Qualcomm are keeping things simple when it comes to its naming schemes, although these chips are more commonly known as Krait. The first new Krait SoCs to arrive is the MSM8260A, MSM8660A and the MSM8960, all of which are 28nm dual core parts with a clock speed of 1.5 or 1.7GHz and 1MB of L2 cache. All three models sports support for dual channel 500MHz LPDDR2, faster Adreno 225 graphics said to be good for 125 million triangles per second. The MSM8960 should also come in a version with a faster Adreno 320 GPU capable of some 200 million triangles.
The main difference between the MSM8260A and MSM8660A is that the 8260A supports dual-cell HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA, whereas the 8660A supports HSPA+ and various EV-DO standards mostly used in the US. The MSM8690 sports LET in addition to the connectivity options on the other two models and will be available with either CDMA or UMTS in addition to LTE. All three models should enter mass production next quarter, although devices based on these dual core SoCs arent expected until the second quarter of next year.
As far as phones are concerned, this is as much as we get for all of 2012, but in early 2013 Qualcomm is expecting to launch its first quad core phone SoC, the MSM8974. This isnt the 2.5GHz chip the company has been talking about, but instead a slightly slower 2GHz part with 2MB L2 cache. It will support dual channel 800MHz LPDDR3 memory and comes with a faster Adreno 330 GPU core which is capable of 200 million triangles per second. It will support the latest LTE and CD-HSPA+ MIMO standards and itll be Qualcomms first phone SoC to sport USB 3.0 connectivity. Some of the more crazy features Qualcomm is planning to add is 4K x 2K video at 24fps, 1080p video at 120fps or 1080p 3D video at 60fps.
If youre still waiting for the 2.5GHz part, then please bear with us a little bit longer, as well get there in just a second. Qualcomms first quad core SoC will be the APQ8064 and as you may or may not know, the APQ models dont feature any built in baseband technology. As such, the APQ chips tend to be used in many devices that dont require internet connectivity, or more commonly as of lately, in tablets where theres room for additional chips that will handle the connectivity. The APQ8064 is similar to the MSM8960, as its a 1.5 to 1.7GHz SoC, although with a pair of additional cores and 2MB L2 cache. It features Adreno 320 graphics, but it also offers SATA and PCI Express connectivity, something the MSM chips lack.
Things brings us to the 2.5GHz monster, well, it might in fact be even faster as its not expected to arrive until the second half of 2013. The model in question is the APQ8094 and itll support either 800MHz dual channel LPDDR3 memory, or dual channel 1333MHz PCDDR4 memory, or in other words, standard desktop DDR4 memory. Apparently by then, desktop memory will be so low power that it will be just as good to use in a tablet as low power mobile memory. Here were looking at an Adreno 420 GPU which is said to be capable of 400 million triangles per second. Beyond that we dont have too many details about this upcoming chip, but itll offer SATA connectivity just like its predecessor and apparently itll do 3D video at 60fps in 1080p.
Well be following up this article with a closer look at Qualcomms more affordable options next week, although as always when were diving into roadmaps, things are likely going to change before most of these products arrive and weve already seen that some of the models covered here have had their specs changed from earlier roadmaps. That said, it looks like Qualcomm has some interesting products coming over the next couple of years, but the real question is, is it going to be good enough, as the company is getting more and more competitors and none of them are resting on their laurels.
Image courtesy of Pocket-Lint