Qualcomm takes huge risk by announcing their latest CPUs and modems early and not in the Mobile World Congress

Under normal circumstances, developers wait for the Mobile World Congress exhibition to start in order to present their new devices and technologies. This year however, Qualcomm decided to announce ahead of time some of its new projects to better understand its modem technology and rebranding.

Qualcomm presented the new Snapdragon versions 415, 420, 618, and 620 thanks to the increasing threat set out by other companies such as Allwinner, MediaTek and Rockchip.

These versions are separated into categories, like so: Snapdragon 400 for the entry-level tier, Snapdragon 600 for mass marketing and Snapdragon 800 for premium flagship devices. The Snapdragon 400 will start things off with eight cores and a better LTE modem.

Snapdragon 600 will be in the spotlight of the announcement with its 618 version which combines a pair of Cortex-A72’s with a quad-core Cortex-A53 in big.LITTLE and the Snapdragon 620 will have a full Cortx-A72 quad-core and Cortex-A53.

Qualcomm had to endure some pretty aggressive criticism for the changing of their former custom architecture, specifically for the 32-bit “Krait” CPU introduced three years ago. Launching ARM’s latest CPU model into the midrange Snapdragon is not the only good news for the costumers, the fact that they might pay less than $600 for a phone without a contract, means that Qualcomm trusts that its next-generation technology is powerful enough to set apart the Snapdragon 800 from the 600 chip family.

When it comes to the GPU and IP blocks associated with it, new versions such as 618 and 620 will have a double image signal processing (ISP) camera support, 4K video playback and capture, several low-power sensors and H.265 decode blocks. Also, the company’s audio processor will have a support playback of 192KHz/24-bit for those who want to listen to 128-kbit/s MP3 on cheap earbuds.

Modernizing Qualcomm’s rebrand

Alongside its new SoCs, Qualcomm plans to present a technology initiative and branding effort which is very modern in a struggle to distinguish itself from other levels of LTE services. To some extent, this is not a new thing but with some of the LTE-A modem devices the effort has broke down, looking at the 4G service which was a bit more than 3G+ offered.

Moving right along, Qualcomm will mark the modems they’ll make now as parts of Snapdragon. Modems will have the letter X followed up by a number in order to differentiate them from SoCs , higher number will mean faster download and upload speeds with some added features. The 20nm modems or the Gobi 9×35 family, will now be known as X7 LTE, with 50Mbit upload and 300Mbit download speeds. The 400 family will have a slower modem, X5, while the Snapdragon 600 and 800 will use X8, X10, and X12.

The infographic was never built to break down the features reserved for each modem models, but only to create a general shape of the brand’s efforts. X10 modem will be presented alongside the Snapdragon 808 and 810 and the X12 LTE will make its debut with the Gobi 9×40/9×45 chip. This fact is implying that Qualcomm did not made it mind about branding future products.

The infographic was never built to break down the features reserved for each modem models, but only to create a general shape of the brand’s efforts. X10 modem will be presented alongside the Snapdragon 808 and 810 and the X12 LTE will make its debut with the Gobi 9×40/9×45 chip. This fact is implying that Qualcomm did not made it mind about branding future products.

These new projects are Qualcomm’s message to its competitors. Some of the designs such as the next-generation chips from ARM or the launch of Cortex-A57 parts on 20nm, but 14nm chips from Samsung might not make it in the market until 2016. This is the company’s plan to defend its territory.