First Read

A first take on enterprise IT technology news and events.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 620, 618 SoCs Renamed 652, 650

The mobile chips, introduced in February, offer high-end features that separate them from other products in the company's Snapdragon 600 portfolio.

Qualcomm officials believe the new midrange Snapdragon 620 and 618 mobile chipsets have such strong features that they deserve their own category within the company's product portfolio.

The company introduced the ARM-based systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) in February, arming them with capabilities that until then had only been found in Qualcomm's premium Snapdragon 800 family of processors. Those features included the chip maker's advanced X8 LTE modem technology with Cat 7 support and carrier aggregation, as well as ARM's Cortex-A72 CPUs and Qualcomm's Adreno 510 GPUs.

However, since launching the 620 and 618, Qualcomm has introduced other SoCs to the 600 tier, including the 615, 616 and 617, which don't have the same high-level features. Company officials didn't want the 620 and 618, with its differentiated capabilities, to be lost in the crowd, so they said this week that they are renaming the two processors.

"The Snapdragon 620 and 618 have significant user experience and performance advantages even within the current 600 tier of processors," officials wrote in a post on the company blog. "Because of this, Qualcomm Technologies is making minor adjustments within the product lineup to better reflect the positioning and capabilities of these two processors. Put simply, the renaming is to recognize the significant modem, processing, graphics, and camera advantages these two processors bring to the Snapdragon 600 tier."

The Snapdragon 620 will now be known as the 652, and the 618 will be the 650. Officials said the company has been developing the two SoCs for the past 12 months, and that the performance derived from them outpaces what the other processors can offer. For example, the Snapdragon 652 and 650 offer 4K Ultra HD video capture, playback and gaming experiences that the others don't. They also include a high-resolution camera and 4G LTE experience that exceeds the others.

"At Qualcomm Technologies, we don't take changes lightly, but we also recognize it's important to ensure our processors are well understood by our customers and reflect both the performance and capabilities inherent in their design," they wrote.

Qualcomm is wrapping up what has been a difficult year that has included regulatory investigations in such countries as the United States, China and South Korea, restructuring and cost reductions that included cutting the workforce by 15 percent, and Samsung's decision not to use the chip maker's Snapdragon 810 in its new Galaxy S6 smartphone. However, Qualcomm is expecting to rebound next year with its new Snapdragon 820 SoC, and earlier this week, the board of directors and executives opted not to split the company in two, something activist investor Jana Partners had suggested.