HTC has made some big claims for their upcoming Thunderbolt 4G saying “it’s not your dream phone, it’s the one after that“, but many of our readers were disappointed by the reports that it will feature a single-core CPU and ship with Android 2.2. The hardcore Android fans were hoping for a dual-core Snapdragon processor, but everything we have heard tells us that Qualcomm will not have those ready for several more months.
Today a German blog called HTC Inside posted a leaked slide for the Thunderbolt 4G that claims it features a dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon (MSM8960), 5 megapixel front-facing camera, and expandable storage up to 128 GB. If you think these specs sound too good to be true, that’s because they are.
Qualcomm’s MSM8960 CPU was first announced at MWC 2009, but the dual-core 28nm processor is not expected to begin sampling until mid 2011, which means it will most likely not appear in a phone until 2012. It should be an awesome CPU when it lands with its Adreno 3xx GPU (capable of PS3 graphics), but there is no way that you will see this chipset in a phone launching next week.
Another sign that this leak is only a dream is the fact that Qualcomm has not even announced the clock speeds for the MSM8960 CPU. The first dual-core Snapdragons are going to be clocked at 1.2 GHz, but those model numbers are MSM8260 and MSM8660.
Back in September I wondered aloud if Qualcomm was in trouble with their dual-core CPUs and it appears that is still the case. They were already delayed once and for whatever reason they are still not ready. Why do you think everyone went with the Tegra 2 processor for the next wave of devices? It’s the only dual-core CPU that is currently shipping in volume.
You can be sure that HTC will eventually launch a dual-core phone, but they will only do so when Qualcomm is ready. From what we are hearing, this might not happen till Q2 2011 or later.
Qualcomm invited me to a roundtable discussion during CES next week, so hopefully we will get some real answers on when to expect the first dual-core Snapdragon devices.