Whereas all eyes are on Qualcomm for the upcoming launch of units containing their high-end Snapdragon 835 SoC, this morning the corporate has a barely totally different form of announcement to make. After almost a decade because the launch of the Snapdragon model, Qualcomm is present process a model redesign of kinds forward of their next-generation product launches. Beginning at the moment, Snapdragon is now not a processor; as a substitute Snapdragon is a platform.
Extra formally, Qualcomm will now not be referring to Snapdragon because the “Snapdragon Processor”, however somewhat the “Qualcomm Snapdragon Cellular Platform”. In the meantime on the backside finish of the product stack, the Snapdragon 200 collection are getting ejected from the Snapdragon household solely; they are going to now merely be a part of the “Qualcomm Cellular Platform” household.
This rejiggering of brand name names is, in all seriousness, precisely as bizarre because it sounds. However Qualcomm has some moderately thought-out logic behind it.
Within the US and overseas, Qualcomm has been selling the Snapdragon model in varied types for a number of years now, and so they’ve really had a good bit of success at it. Snapdragon will not be a family identify, nevertheless it’s prone to be higher identified than Qualcomm. So there’s a sure diploma of emphasis on ensuring Qualcomm doesn’t get overtaken by their very own model identify.
However the greater shift right here – and the true meat of the story – is from a processor to a platform. To be clear, the isn’t altering; a Snapdragon SoC remains to be a Snapdragon SoC, and the Snapdragon model continues to confer with the and its supporting bits.
Nonetheless Qualcomm needs to emphasise Snapdragon SoC is greater than its CPU. It’s a assortment of assorted ins and outs: a CPU, a GPU, a DSP, a mobile modem, RF transceivers, to not point out the assorted items of software program and drivers that Qualcomm develops for his or her SoCs. Consequently, Qualcomm feels that “platform” is a greater all-encompassing phrase of what they do than “processor”.
And so they’re not unsuitable, not less than to an extent. Whereas we now have varied sorts of processors (CPUs, GPUs, and many others), “processor” is at the beginning regarded as a CPU. It is a low-level legal responsibility for an organization that’s undoubtedly in competitors with Intel, and but their flagship product is a full-on System-on-Chip somewhat than discrete elements like a CPU with built-in GPU.
Moreover whereas Qualcomm develops their very own semi-custom CPU (Kryo), what actually units them aside from even different SoC distributors are the totally non-CPU bits just like the modem and GPU. On the finish of the day, Qualcomm needs to get extra consideration and give attention to the blocks they’ve developed and imagine give them the best edge over the competitors. And if they will higher differentiate what they do from Intel, all the higher.
The danger for Qualcomm, in addition to any potential derailment of the Snapdragon model, is that “platform” is badly overused throughout the tech trade nowadays. Home windows is a platform, Twitter is a platform, Steam is a platform. Whereas “processor” was a generic time period for a selected a part of a pc, “platform” is a generic time period for almost any form of computing setting. So whereas platform might be a greater match for an SoC, it’s undoubtedly additionally extra generic.
Lastly, let’s speak concerning the 200 collection of SoCs, which are actually now not Snapdragon, leaving them because the “Qualcomm Cellular Platform”. Whereas Qualcomm is taking this motion similtaneously the above platform rename, the rationale is a bit totally different. Qualcomm is seeking to solidify the Snapdragon model as a model for high-end processors, and as a funds SoC line powered by ARM’s Cortex-A7 CPU cores and 802.11n networking, the 200 collection undoubtedly doesn’t fall underneath that umbrella. The truth that Qualcomm will not be branding the 200 collection as one thing else does, on the floor, really feel a bit odd, however on the identical time it wouldn’t make a lot sense to place cash and power behind selling a low-end model.
In any case, by eradicating the 200 collection from the Snapdragon model, Qualcomm can be throwing out the bottom performing member of the household. Which, if all goes based on plan, will make it simpler for Qualcomm to higher talk that Snapdragon is a high-end model.