Qualcomm announced this week two new budget Snapdragon S4 mobile processors: the MSM8225Q with an embedded single-mode UMTS 3G modem and the MSM8625Q with an embedded dual-mode CDMA and UMTS modem.
Both are members of the Snapdragon S4 Play processor tier, optimized for a broad range of smartphone users. Qualcomm recently announced their higher tier, Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset with a quad-core Krait processor and Adreno 320 GPU, designed for tablets.
There are four tiers of Qualcomm processors: Prime, Pro, Plus and Play.
- The S4 Prime is the smart TV platform that includes the MPQ8064, a 1.5GHz quad-core CPU with Adreno 320 graphics.
- The S4 Pro processors targeting tablets, including Windows RT tablets and convertibles.
- The S4 Plus is the high-end smartphone chip, found in the Nokia Lumia 920, HTC One X, and Samsung Galaxy S III.
- The S4 Play tier for more entry level mobile devices.
The new Snapdragon S4 Play processors enable entry-level smartphones to have HD video and faster speeds using dual-core and quad-core CPUs, says Qualcomm. Both processors will be ready for customer sampling by end of 2012 and are expected to be shipping in commercial devices in the first quarter of 2013. They use Atheros AR6005 and WCN2243 chips to enable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and FM connectivity.
Qualcomm designates their stand alone modem chips (for dongles) as MDM, while their ARM-based CPUs (some with built-in LTE support) are designated as MSM. Qualcomm’s MSM 8960 processor, for example, is the main processor for for LTE-enabled phones and tablets, like the latest Nokia and Motorola smartphones.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8930 supports all China operators with UMTS, CDMA and TD-SCDMA. This single platform will support both LTE-TDD and TD-SCDMA, targeting mid-tier smartphones for use in China. Announced in February 2011, this processor features dual-core CPUs and as the world’s first single-chip solution with an integrated LTE modem. The Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8930 with LTE-TDD and TD-SCDMA support will be ready for customer sampling by the end of 2012 and is expected to be shipping in commercial devices by the first quarter of 2013.
Qualcomm’s MDM9625 modem supports LTE-A, UMTS and CDMA2000 devices while the MDM9225 supports just LTE-A and UMTS. Those chipsets will begin sampling in Q4 2012 and support 150+ Mbps of LTE Advanced.
Prior to the launch of Snapdragon S4, a LTE phone’s modem and application processor were usually separate chipsets. Typically, the more chips that are involved in building a device, the more power it used.
What’s unique about the Snapdragon S4 processor, particularly the MSM8960, is that the LTE modem baseband and application processor are combined into a single chip.
Qualcomm will add support for Clearwire’s upcoming LTE TDD network to its line of multi-mode LTE chipsets with the inclusion Band 41, Clearwire’s 2.6 GHz frequency band. It builds on Qualcomm’s existing multi-mode, multi-band support for LTE FDD, LTE TDD and major broadband wireless standards
“By working with Qualcomm, Clearwire will ensure that LTE TDD and LTE FDD will work seamlessly together. This will bring significant benefits to OEMs, network operators and consumers alike,” said Erik Prusch, president and CEO, Clearwire. It is scheduled for commercial availability later this year.
The single-core MSM8930 was the world’s first single-chip solution with an integrated LTE modem designed to take LTE to mass market smartphones. It will include the new Adreno 305 GPU which delivers more than six times the performance of the original Adreno.
The dual-core MSM8960 was the world’s first dual-core solution with an integrated multi-mode 3G/LTE modem and was designed to meet the requirements of multi-tasking smartphones and tablets and will feature the Adreno 225 GPU which delivers eight times the performance of the original Adreno.
The quad-core APQ8064 will be designed to meet the performance requirements of the next generation of computing and entertainment devices for the home.