Qualcomm showed off its redesigned Snapdragon processor, which is geared toward smartphones and tablets and will reportedly offer five times the performance at 75 percent less power.
Qualcomm introduced a fast, new version of its Snapdragon processor
at a New York analyst meeting Nov. 17, according to several media
reports. The new chipset, Qualcomm's first to be based on a
28-nanometer manufacturing process, is intended for smartphones and
tablets and will feature a new CPU core. This version of the Snapdragon
processors is schedule to start shipping in 2011.
''The MSM [Mobile Station Modem] 8960 will be a dual-core chip using
an upgraded CPU core based on a new micro-architecture that delivers
approximately five times the performance of the original Snapdragon
chip at 75 percent less power,'' according to EETimes.
The tech site adds that the newest Snapdragon chip will also feature
an integrated multi-mode modem with support for Long-Term Evolution
(LTE), the 4G technology favored by Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
Upgraded graphics capabilities will reportedly offer four times the
performance of the original chip, plus integrated connectivity for
WLAN, GPS, Bluetooth and FM radio.
Qualcomm processors are currently in a number of high-end
smartphones, such as the Motorola Droid and HTC Evo 4G, and the company
said that its chips are in the majority share of Android-running
handsets. Behind the market-share-losing Symbian, Google's fast-rising
Android is now the second-largest mobile operating system in the world.
In June, Qualcomm began shipping its first dual-CPU Snapdragon chipsets
MSM8260 and MSM8660, which run at up to 1.2GHz. The former was designed
to work with HSPA+ networks-like T-Mobile currently has and AT&T
plans to roll out-and the latter for HSPA+/CDMA200 1xEV-DO Rev. B.
The new MSM8960chip is based on ARM architecture, EETimes reported,
adding that Qualcomm licenses the architecture but adds its own touch.
Qualcomm didn't offer more details regarding ARM, nor on the foundry
that will create them.
In March, Qualcomm announced that, building on the success it's had
in the PC market, it would begin adding LTE to the connectivity options
supported by its Gobi modems and working to expand into new mobile
markets, such as e-readers and netbooks. Now, with the number of
tablets coming to market numbering more than 30 brands and beginning to
skim market share from netbooks and even mobile PCs, the iPad
follow-ups are a natural market for Qualcomm to set its sights on.
On Nov. 3, Qualcomm announced the earnings for its fiscal fourth
quarter of 2010, which included record earnings per share and record
MSM chipset volume.
"In the coming year, we expect continued strong growth in CDMA-based
device shipments, including smartphones and other data-centric devices,
driven by the global adoption of 3G and accelerating consumer demand
for wireless data," Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm,
said in a statement. "With our industry-leading chipset roadmap, broad
licensing program and increasing number of global partners, we are well
positioned to take advantage of these industry trends."
In a Nov. 18 research note, Gleacher & Co. Analyst Mark
McKechnie, after attending the analyst meeting, said his firm "came
away with no real change in opinion but suspect the Street was relieved
by [Qualcomm's] commentary that channel inventory stands at the low-end
of a normal range.
McKechnie reiterated his investment opinion of "buy" on the Qualcomm stock.