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Qualcomm reveals future plans, we give you the details

Earlier this week Qualcomm hosted its Innovation Qualcomm event in Istanbul where the company unveiled details of some of its upcoming products, including a 2.5GHz next generation Snapdragon SoC. However, a lot of details were left out, but VR-Zone is here to help fill in the blanks as to what to expect from Qualcomm over the next couple of years.

From the event we know that Qualcomm is getting ready to launch a 28nm SoC with clock speeds of up to 2.5GHz in single, dual and quad core versions, all with next gen Adreno dual or quad core graphics. However, the company didn't say much more and some publications made the assumption that Qualcomm would have a quad core solution for phones out by early next year. Well, sadly this isn't the case for those of you that are longing to get your hands on a quad core phone, but let's not get ahead of ourselves, instead, let's start from the top.

The current series of Snapdragon SoC's from Qualcomm are known as the S3 class, also known as Scorpion and here we're talking about chips like the current MSM8660 and MSM8260 as well as the APQ8060 which lacks baseband support. These SoC's can be found in a wide range of devices from HP's now defunct TouchPad to HTC's Sensation and EVO 3D. They're all 45nm dual core parts with Adreno 220 graphics and a core clock speed of between 1.2 and 1.5GHz.

The next generation of Snapdragon chips will be the S4 class, as Qualcomm are keeping things simple when it comes to its naming schemes, although these chips are more commonly known as Krait. The first new Krait SoC's to arrive is the MSM8260A, MSM8660A and the MSM8960, all of which are 28nm dual core parts with a clock speed of 1.5 or 1.7GHz and 1MB of L2 cache. All three models sports support for dual channel 500MHz LPDDR2, faster Adreno 225 graphics said to be good for 125 million triangles per second. The MSM8960 should also come in a version with a faster Adreno 320 GPU capable of some 200 million triangles.

The main difference between the MSM8260A and MSM8660A is that the 8260A supports dual-cell HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA, whereas the 8660A supports HSPA+ and various EV-DO standards mostly used in the US. The MSM8690 sports LET in addition to the connectivity options on the other two models and will be available with either CDMA or UMTS in addition to LTE. All three models should enter mass production next quarter, although devices based on these dual core SoC's aren't expected until the second quarter of next year.

As far as phones are concerned, this is as much as we get for all of 2012, but in early 2013 Qualcomm is expecting to launch its first quad core phone SoC, the MSM8974. This isn't the 2.5GHz chip the company has been talking about, but instead a slightly slower 2GHz part with 2MB L2 cache. It will support dual channel 800MHz LPDDR3 memory and comes with a faster Adreno 330 GPU core which is capable of 200 million triangles per second. It will support the latest LTE and CD-HSPA+ MIMO standards and it'll be Qualcomm's first phone SoC to sport USB 3.0 connectivity. Some of the more crazy features Qualcomm is planning to add is 4K x 2K video at 24fps, 1080p video at 120fps or 1080p 3D video at 60fps.

If you're still waiting for the 2.5GHz part, then please bear with us a little bit longer, as we'll get there in just a second. Qualcomm's first quad core SoC will be the APQ8064 and as you may or may not know, the APQ models don't feature any built in baseband technology. As such, the APQ chips tend to be used in many devices that don't require internet connectivity, or more commonly as of lately, in tablets where there's room for additional chips that will handle the connectivity. The APQ8064 is similar to the MSM8960, as it's a 1.5 to 1.7GHz SoC, although with a pair of additional cores and 2MB L2 cache. It features Adreno 320 graphics, but it also offers SATA and PCI Express connectivity, something the MSM chips lack.

Things brings us to the 2.5GHz monster, well, it might in fact be even faster as it's not expected to arrive until the second half of 2013. The model in question is the APQ8094 and it'll support either 800MHz dual channel LPDDR3 memory, or dual channel 1333MHz PCDDR4 memory, or in other words, standard desktop DDR4 memory. Apparently by then, desktop memory will be so low power that it will be just as good to use in a tablet as low power mobile memory. Here we're looking at an Adreno 420 GPU which is said to be capable of 400 million triangles per second. Beyond that we don't' have too many details about this upcoming chip, but it'll offer SATA connectivity just like its predecessor and apparently it'll do 3D video at 60fps in 1080p.

We'll be following up this article with a closer look at Qualcomm's more affordable options next week, although as always when we're diving into roadmaps, things are likely going to change before most of these products arrive and we've already seen that some of the models covered here have had their specs changed from earlier roadmaps. That said, it looks like Qualcomm has some interesting products coming over the next couple of years, but the real question is, is it going to be good enough, as the company is getting more and more competitors and none of them are resting on their laurels.

Image courtesy of Pocket-Lint

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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