May 29 AT 9:51 PM Taylor Wimberly 27 Comments

Qualcomm’s next gen Snapdragon on track to sample next month, 28nm chip promises 75% lower power

NVIDIA will ship the world’s first mobile quad-core processor (Kal-El), but Qualcomm is on track to be the first to market with a mobile 28nm processor. Delivering up to twice the density of previous manufacturing nodes, 28nm technology allows chips to do far more with less power.

Qualcomm just announced that their next generation of Snapdragon processors will sample in June and should be available by the end of the year. These latest processors feature Qualcomm’s new Krait CPU architecture, which replaces the aging Scorpion core found in the first couple generations of Snapdragons.

Krait promises to offer speeds of up to 2.5 GHz per core and deliver 150 percent higher overall performance, as well as 65 percent lower power than currently available ARM-based CPU cores. It will be available in three different models: a single-core MSM8930, dual-core MSM8960, and quad-core APQ8064.

First up is the MSM8960, which samples next month and could show up in an HTC device by Christmas. The MSM8960 features dual asynchronous CPU cores which can be independently controlled for maximum efficiency, dual-channel LP DDR memory, and an integrated multi-mode 3G/LTE modem. This next gen Snapdragon will also feature the latest Adreno 225 GPU, which delivers eight times the performance of the original Adreno.

Further down the road, the single-core MSM8930 and quad-core APQ8064 will start sampling in early 2012. We might not see these in devices for another year, but gaming fans should keep an eye on the APQ8064 since it features the new Adreno 320 quad-core GPU (that’s 15x the performance of the Adreno 200 found in the HTC EVO and Nexus One).

How does this affect me?

What’s really interesting to me is how this new 28nm Snapdragon could influence Google’s next Nexus phone powered by Ice Cream Sandwich.

Most of us assumed that the upcoming Nexus 3 (or is it the Nexus Prime?) will feature NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor since it would be the fastest thing available, but the Snapdragon MSM8960 might have a fighting chance if Qualcomm can deliver it by Christmas.

I have nothing to back this up, but it could be the source of the recent rumors which suggest Google is looking at either LG (Tegra 3) or HTC (MSM8960) to build their next flagship device.

If you were Google, which processor would you choose? The quad-core Tegra 3 which could be faster or the 28nm Snapdragon which could offer much better battery life?

Update: After speaking with a representative from Qualcomm we learned that the first Krait CPU will be available to OEMs in Q4, but don’t expect any actual devices in stores until 1H 2012.

Source: PRNewswire

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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  • http://Website deckrider

    I pick better battery life!

    • John K

      Both sounds great. I think they should have two nexus phones one with the quad core for the gamers and one with the 28nm dual core for those worried about battery life. They can surely be able to support 2 phones at once. People want choices so give us choices to choose from 2 phones would be great.

  • http://Website Kal-El

    If they pick the Snapdragon I hope its the quadcore.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Quad-core Snapdragon won’t sample till early 2012, so it might not be in devices till next summer.

    • http://Website daniel walsh

      i’d go with the nvidia quad core processor. The dual core is amazing but google needs to set the bar. Also, the processor will be ready by then not the snapdragon. He’s says maybe in christmas but i say q1-q2

  • http://Website jmanin

    Definitely the Snapdragon. Better battery life needs to be the priority. These speeds mean nothing if we only get 4 hours out of a device!

  • mavricxx

    I think they’re gonna have a hard time beating NVDIA’s Tegra 3, people care about the graphics and power. Plus when a sales man tells my mom- this one has 4 cores and this one 2…guess what- even though she has no idea what that means, she’s gonna choose 4 because more is better in most peoples eyes. People naturally want more for their money.

  • mavricxx

    This is turning into an ATI vs NVIDIA mobile version, lol.

  • http://Website Jonhson

    +1 Snapdragon

  • http://Website L0neranger

    Battery life depends on more then just the cpu, usually the screen has the biggest draw. It would be interesting to know how much power current CPU’s draw to make a better comparison.

  • http://Website Vercin

    If Nexus is LG: NV.
    If Nexus is HTC: Qualcomm.

    It will also depend on release date.

    If Nexus is indeed released by christmas, then I’d bet at the first combo.
    If isn’t released but announced by christmas, then I’d bet at the latter.

    I just don’t see LGxQualcomm happening.

    Right now I’m kind of rooting for HTCxQualcomm though.

  • http://Website Brian

    Not sure, but I would think that the fact that the Qualcomm supports all 3g modes as well as “integrated LTE multi mode” might be a factor. What does nvdia offer as far as radio support?

    • http://Website Wojtek

      Nothing, they don’t offer any kind of radio connectivity. That is why right now we get only wifi capable tablets based on tegra, cause msm8660 due to integrated 3G needs certifications, and that takes time.

  • http://Website Lucian Armasu

    The -75% power consumption claim is misleading. Yes, I know they probably managed that, but it’s *per core*, not the overall chip. I think they are also comparing it with an old single Scorpion core (the 65nm one?). A quad core Krait should still use more or less the same overall power as a single core Snapdragon or dual core Snapdragon.

    And yes, I hope it’s still Tegra 3 in Nexus 3, though I hope Nvidia has considered the power consumption carefully. Nvidia clearly wants to be known as the company with the most powerful ARM chips, but I hope they are still competitive in terms of power consumption.

  • http://Website Jorge

    Better battery life > more cores any day of the week, the current processing power is more than enough for the os and gaming relies on the gpu.

  • http://Website metafor

    It’s worth nothing that from the slides released, Krait will be an A15 class device (similar in performance at least) as opposed to the quad-A9 inside Tegra 3. How that fares will depend entirely on how well application scale to 4 threads but A15 is quite a few leaps above A9 in per-core performance.

  • http://Website Dj

    Where is PowerVR Series 6?????????????????????????

  • http://Website triangle

    Tegra 3 for tablets, where graphics performance is more important.

    Qualcomm for phones, where battery life is a priority.

  • http://Website Richard Yarrell

    That QUADCORE SNAPDRAGON APQ860 will appear in the next generation EVO device which looks to be landing on sprint sometime in late June or early July depending on when this years Evo 3d launches. When this years device launches you can pretty much count 1year from that date. I believe that GOOGLE will select HTC to make there next Nexus 3 device because of the releationship that sprint and google has and the fasct that google knows that HTC and Qualcomm has a unbreakable relationship. Google will focus on bettery life with the next iteration of the Nexus 3 espically with Icecream coming at the end of the year. Google will look for HTC to develop this device the Nexus 3 with the DUALCORE MSM 8960 1.5 Ghz processor who knows what else it will have but it will have to be a device that people will STRONGLY CONSIDER INCLUDING MYSELF. Right now for me it is all about the DUALCORE BEAST on SPRINT the EVO 3D but around december january I

    • http://Website Richard Yarrell

      I will look to see how that NEXUS 3 turns out if google selects HTC to make the device, if they select LG then I will wait on the QUADCORE EVO in June or July 2012…Either way on sprint we will be living lovely with so many devices to select from that if your not rolling with Google/HTC/Sprint then it will be pretty clear that your not rolling at all….

    • http://Website Another APPLE LOSER


  • http://Website Wojtek

    Would go with Snapdragon due to few advantages.
    1) Thanks to higher clocked CPU it’ll offer better performance on single thread operations, and probably similar performance for multi thread operations if not higher.
    2) Current Adreno 220 is slightly faster than T2 GPU so would expect 225 to keep this advantege.
    3) 28nm means better battery life(although I know that SoC is not the most power hungry part of the device).

    The only advantages that Tegra 3 has over any other competing SoC’s are:
    1) Tegra Zone – without hacking there is now way to play those ‘dedicated’ games.
    2) 1440p h264 HP support is something that not anyone can match for now, but nothing truly needed in handheld device.

    So in the end it could turn out that new snapdragon running Krait CPU could be as fast if not faster than quad-core Tegra 3. Then it is quad-core snapdragon vs tegra4.

  • http://Website GeoffTate

    i got it SOOOOO BADDDD.

    I GOT IT BAD 4 U

    I GOT IT BAD 4 U

  • mattcoz

    Both will be ridiculously fast for a phone, so go with the one with better battery life.

  • http://Website daniel walsh

    that dual core snapdragon will be in manufacturer hands in q4 but NOT IN DEVICES. tegra 3 will be in devices in December and it’s already being tested on phones. go t3. 5x performance than t2. Amazing

  • http://Website zerowonderboy

    Qualcomm all the way. Looks like they know where they are going with focusing on battery life. Honestly 4 cores is unneeded in a smartphone. Thats what the NGP is for :)

  • http://Website Joze

    If power consumption wasn’t A or THE major focus of Kal-el, Then I vote for Qualcomm.

    More power per core, less power consumption per core, software compatibility between different architectures, on top of integrated Multi-LTE mode and ALL 3G modes supported?

    That would be perfect, a TRUE unlocked Nexus phone with power and battery to boot.