Aug 03 AT 5:56 PM Taylor Wimberly 19 Comments

Snapdragon 1 GHz phones coming to Android sooner than you think

With Verizon, Sprint, and possibly AT&T set to release Android phones this holiday season, we expect to see some exciting new hardware.  Arguably the most requested feature is speed.  To date, every Android phone has included the same 528 MHz chipset family from Qualcomm and we are ready for an upgrade.

Snapdragon is the name of the Qualcomm’s latest mobile platform and offers significant speed enhancements.  CPU speeds start at 1.0 GHz and go up to 1.5 GHz.

Qualcomm demonstrated Android running on Snapdragon at CES 2009 in January.  Toshiba unveiled the first Snapdragon smartphone running Widows Mobile (TG01) at Mobile World Congress in February.  This past month Orange UK began offering the TG01 to their customers.

When will the first Android phone with Snapdragon go on sale in the US?  I speculated the upcoming Motorola Sholes for Verizon might be that device.  There are no official announcements, but more evidence is beginning to mount.

Andy Rubin, Director of Mobile Platforms at Google, recently told Reuters that future versions of Android (due this year) would take advantage of Snapdragon. Reuters also reports that Donut and Eclair will be released this year and refers to them as Android 1.6 and Android 2.0.  Mr. Rubin cited 3D gaming as an example of applications set to benefit from the powerful new processor.  “They’re really closing the gap and you’re really starting to carry around a small computer in your pocket,” he said. “You can start really thinking about serious gaming like you would on a Nintendo DS or a PSP handheld.”

Why would Mr. Rubin choose to use Snapdragon as an example when referring to future Android handsets?  He has told us we would see 15-20 new devices before years end but has declined to offer any specifics.  Qualcomm is also reporting that 15 manufacturers (including HTC, LG, Samsung, ASUS, Toshiba) are working on over 30 devices based on Snapdragon.  It appears virtually every handset manufacturer of the Open Handset Alliance has their focus on Snapdragon.

With all that being said, I still believe Motorola could offer the first Snapdragon phone to Android fans.  Motorola has been ultra secretive with any details on the handset specs, but we know two phones will go on sale this year.  If Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha really wants to make a statement, it makes perfect sense to me he would partner with his former company Qualcomm and make this happen with a Snapdragon phone.

This would be a huge win for Google as well.  After reading the reports from Reuters, it appears we will see the Android 2.0 name being used later this year.  What better way to promote the Android 2.0 release than to launch the fastest phone on America’s largest carrier Verizon? Come September, we should have the answer.

My fingers are crossed.

Who will bring us the first Snapdragon powered Android phone?

Who will bring us the first Snapdragon powered Android phone?

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • BigHeat

    PLEASE ,T-Mobile ,do NOT return to being the phones-that-suck carrier. You have said “no” to the Hero and the only upcoming phone mentioned is the built-for-teens Moto Morrison (sp?). (At least that i can remember.)


  • PhineasJW

    To understand how important this is for Android and the platform, let’s put it in more concrete terms.

    Android is already superior to the iPhone in almost every way except two:

    1. Speed and responsiveness of the UI.
    2. Games (and breadth of applications).

    Setting aside the sheer number of iPhone applications (many of which are utterly useless), a full blown media processor gives Android the last two checkmarks.

    It IS that important. From a sales perspective, it nullifies nearly every advantage the greatest, most popular smartphone on Earth has.

    In fact, when an Android phone, with it’s free and open OS, and all it’s multitasking, multi-widget goodness, finally comes along sporting a 3.5″+ high resolution screen AND is also capable of utter fluidity from top down, with a pinch zoom that matches the iPhone’s out-of-body experience…it will transform the entire platform.

    The first vendor who delivers this (Snapdragon/Tegra) experience wins. BIG. If it’s Motorola, it might just save their entire cell phone division.

  • Todd A

    Type your comment here…

  • Todd A

    Rock on Motorola !!! Win one for the Razor ….

  • crux

    But with a greater processor what does that do to the battery life?

    • snapdragonFan

      Snapdragon uses less power than most of the current 500Mhz phones. This is driven by much smarter power control on chip, new technology, and superior integration (more stuff on one chip, as opposed to multiple chips. If the handset design team does the right thing… you should see a healthy boost in talk time, and standby time. Remember though, power consumption is dependent on what you are doing. If you are doing 3D games, like playing Doom on android, you will use more power than talking, or internet browsing.

  • D

    Sholes definitely does not have Snapdragon.
    It has a TI OMAP 3430 – Same as the Palm Pre.

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  • JJ

    I’m hoping that HTC upgrades the processor in the Hero before releasing on Sprint, much like they did for the HTC Touch. Put Snapdragon in the Hero and then release it on Sprint and they will have one killer phone!

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  • bob bagina

    how about a bigger display fellas?

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  • Rocky

    With a faster processor you can get better battery life. Its one of the more “recent” discoveries. The 3GS uses this to its advantage.

    When you need to do something if you have the memory to do it and a fast processor to do it quickly then the work to do is reduced and the time it takes is reduced meaning the load on the battery is short and sharp instead of long and drawn out.

    When the phone is doing nothing the processor runs in low poer mode.

    Obviously if you thrash the processor so its always working then a lower speed processor uses less power and lasts longer but the idea is to not thrash it.

    The idea behind it is that from one battery charge a faster processor can do far more compute cycles than a slow one. If they have comparative idle loads on the battery then you can get more battery life out of a faster processor as any actions are quickly dealt with.

    Thats the theory anyway, relies on the difference in power consumption being less than the difference in cpu cycles.

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  • http://Website(optional) neocuoump

    yeh right.. great post, Thank You

  • http://Website(optional) Plus

    Very neighbourly post but there are some point where I last wishes as not agree. But overall its pure good.

  • http://Website Sarg

    I am an HTC guy too. The first smartphone I have owned is the Droid Eris. I have played with the newest generation iphones and I have to say, the only thing my Eris is lacking is the speed. My wifes Moto Droid blows mine out of the water as far a speed goes. But with the upcoming Droid Incredible (running on OS 2.1) I don’ think I am going to have to wait to get the iphone on Verizon to get a phone that does everything I want out of it. Keep it up HTC. I love your phones.