Qualcomm expands Snapdragon SoC lineup

Qualcomm is expanding its Snapdragon mobile SoC lineup with two new processors: the MSM8225Q and MSM8625Q.

Qualcomm’s dual-core S4 SoC already powers some of the most popular smartphones on the market, including the Galaxy S III, AT&T’s HTC One X, as well as the upcoming Droid Razr HD and LG Optimus G.

According to a Qualcomm spokesperson, both new processors are members of the Snapdragon S4 Play chip tier – and optimized specifically for a broad range of smartphone users seeking a faster mobile experience.

”Snapdragon S4 Play processors will now offer both dual-core and quad-core CPUs and performance for entry-level smartphones, with the more advanced version featuring higher bus bandwidth, larger screen resolution support, HD video and enhanced user experiences,” the spokesperson explained. 

”Both processors will be ready for sampling by end of 2012 and are expected to be shipping in commercial devices in the first quarter of 2013.”

The two new SoCs incorporate quad-core CPUs and can best be described as the upgraded software compatible variants of the popular Snapdragon S4 Play MSM8225 and MSM8625 processors – both of which feature dual-core CPUs and dual SIM support. 

The quad-core variants are slated to support LPDDR2 memory, increasing the bus bandwidth for improved features such as 720p display and 720p video encode and decode. 

Meanwhile, the Snapdragon S4 Play MSM8625Q is equipped with Qualcomm’s integrated multimode UMTS/CDMA modem, with the MSM8225Q boasting an integrated UMTS modem. Both processors enable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and FM connectivity using the Qualcomm Atheros AR6005 and WCN2243 chips.

“The new Snapdragon S4 Play and Plus processors are designed specifically for high-volume smartphones, and they provide device manufacturers the ability to migrate their existing Snapdragon S1-based designs to S4 dual- and quad-core CPU-based designs,” said the spokesperson. 

 “This capability is particularly useful for device manufacturers looking to efficiently expand their smartphone product lines with more advanced 3G/LTE smartphone products.”

It should be noted that Qualcomm’s most recent expansion of its popular Snapdragon lineup comes just days after Texas Instruments (TI) confirmed it is shifting away from the mobile sector to “broader” markets like the automotive space.

Indeed, TI has been under pressure in the mobile market where it is losing significant ground to Qualcomm, Apple and Samsung – all of whom have been developing their own chips instead of buying them from TI. 

As expected, TI – whose OMAP chips power Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet and  the Samsung Galaxy Nexus – says it will continue to support its customers.

Nevertheless, the industry heavyweight will not be investing in its mobile road map at the same rate as before, leaving the lucrative ARM RISC-based space dominated by players like Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia and Apple.