Today Qualcomm announced the expansion of their upcoming Snapdragon S4 platform to cover all tiers of smartphones and tablets. New chipsets to join the S4 family include MSM8660A, MSM8260A, MSM8630, MSM8230, MSM8627, MSM8227, APQ8060A and APQ8030. This is in addition to the previously announced MSM8960, MSM8930 and APQ8064. The press release was light on details, but we just obtained some slides which explain the different tiers.
Snapdragon S4 lineup
The first Snapdragon S4 to come to market will be the previously announced MSM8960. This dual-core application processor includes an integrated LTE multimode modem and should debut at speeds between 1.5-1.7 GHz.
New additions include the APQ8060A and APQ8030, which join the APQ8064 as the only Snapdragon S4 models to exclude the modem. All of these chipsets are fusion compatible with other Qualcomm modems, so OEMs can mix and match the application processor with the modem that best fits their needs. The current roadmap shows speeds up to 1.7 GHz, but Qualcomm previously said their new Krait core could reach speeds of 2.5 GHz (most likely in 2013).
Finally we have the MSM8x60A, MSM8x30, and MSM8x27. These S4′s will be targeted at the mass market and include a 3G multimode modem (instead of the full 4G support). These will all be dual-core chips with speeds ranging from 1-1.7 GHz.
Leading Power Efficiency
Qualcomm also took the opportunity to talk about the leading power efficiency of their custom CPU architecture. Snapdragon S4 will be 2x lower power than a “mobile competitor” and 7x lower power than a traditional PC. I’m curious who the “mobile competitor” is, but it looks like Qualcomm has NVIDIA on the brain with the green color used.
Next Qualcomm talked about the performance benefits of their upcoming Snapdragon S4 processors. The first MSM8960 should offer a nice boost over the Snapdragon S3, but the quad-core APQ8064 will really crank up the volume. Devices with the quad-core S4 will be 8x faster than Snapdragon S1 devices like the HTC EVO 3D or Nexus One.
Leader in Mobile Graphics?
Finally, Qualcomm provided a quick update of their Adreno GPU. The dual-core MSM8960 will include the Adreno 225 which offers a 50% performance boost over the Adreno 220 found in the Snapdragon S3. Things will get really exciting at the end of 2012 when the next-generation Adreno 320 will debut in the APQ8060.
Snapdragon S4 Availability
All of these promises sound exciting, so when will Snapdragon S4 devices be in stores? Qualcomm is still sticking with first half of 2012, but our inside sources tell us it could happen by Q1. We already played with a Snapdragon S4 mobile development platform, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs showed off a S4 tablet (seen above), and rumors suggest the first devices could be announced at CES and debut by February.
Combined with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon GameCommand app, the first S4 devices should offer quite the gaming experience. If Qualcomm’s performance and power numbers hold true, the Snapdragon S4 should dominate the competition and help Qualcomm maintain their leadership in Android devices.