Qualcomm Snapdragon

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Qualcomm Snapdragon
Qualcomm Snapdragon logo.png
Produced From 2008 to present
Designed by Qualcomm
Instruction set ARM
Microarchitecture Cortex-A7 / Cortex-A8 / Scorpion / Krait
Cores 1/2/4/6/8
Application Mobile SoC

Snapdragon is a family of mobile systems on a chip (SoC) by Qualcomm. Qualcomm considers Snapdragon a "platform" for use in smartphones, tablets, and smartbook devices. Snapdragon is Qualcomm's own design, and contains an embedded CPU, GPU, DSP, audio/video decoders, wireless hardware and modem for cellular communication on-die.

Unlike similar SoCs, Snapdragon SoCs have the cellular communication modem on-die. That is, they do not require an external cellular modem on the PCB. Since Snapdragon S4, the majority of S4 SoCs also features on-die Wi-Fi, GPS/GLONASS and Bluetooth basebands.[1] This integration reduces the complexity and cost of the final design for the OEM. It also has the advantage of benefiting from advances in the manufacturing process, for example 28 nm in most S4 SoCs, thus providing modems and other dedicated circuitry with lower power characteristics than external chips manufactured with older processes.[citation needed]


The original Snapdragon CPU, dubbed Scorpion,[2][better source needed] is Qualcomm's own design. It has many features similar to those of the ARM Cortex-A8 core and it is based on the ARMv7 instruction set, but theoretically has much higher performance for multimedia-related SIMD operations.[3] The successor to Scorpion, found in S4 Snapdragon SoCs, is named Krait and has many similarities with the ARM Cortex-A15 CPU and is also based on the ARMv7 instruction set.[4][not in citation given]

The majority of Snapdragon processors contain the circuitry to decode high-definition video (HD) resolution at 720p or 1080p depending on the Snapdragon chip.[5][better source needed] Adreno, the company's proprietary GPU series, integrated into Snapdragon chips (and certain other Qualcomm chips) is Qualcomm's own design, using assets the company acquired from AMD.[6][better source needed] The Adreno 225 GPU in Snapdragon S4 SoCs adds support for DirectX 9/Shader Model 3.0, which makes it compatible with Microsoft's Windows 8.[1][better source needed]

All Snapdragons feature one or more DSPs called Hexagon, short QDSP5 or QDSP6 in the modem and multimedia parts. In the Snapdragon 200–800 series, one of the multimedia Hexagons is programmable by the users through the Hexagon SDK.[7][better source needed] The multimedia Hexagons are mostly used for audio encoding/decoding, the newer Snapdragons have a hardware block called Venus for video encoding/decoding.

Before and after smartphones were launched with the Snapdragon 810, rumors that the 810 ran hotter than both previous-generation and competing current-generation SoCs were covered by technology blogs[8][better source needed][9] and spread on social media websites such as reddit. Qualcomm has disputed the rumors[10] with their VP of Marketing Tim Donough stating in an interview, "The rumours are rubbish, there was not an overheating problem with the Snapdragon 810 in commercial devices" and noting the 810 is "cooler than ever" in a blog post.[11] Other tests have found the Snapdragon 810 throttles its clock speed more aggressively to avoid overheating[12] which does not contradict Qualcomm's statements but still indicates the 810 may not be able to sustain heavy loads for as long as its predecessor, the 801.

At MWC 2015 in Barcelona, Qualcomm announced the new Snapdragon 820, to be available for sampling in late 2015, with its brand new Kryo CPU. It is expected to show up in smartphones by 2016.[13]


  • In 4th Quarter of 2008, the first chips in the Snapdragon family, the QSD8650 and the QSD8250, were made available.
  • On 1 June 2010, Qualcomm announced sampling of the MSM8x60 series of Snapdragon SoCs.[14]
  • On 17 November 2010, Qualcomm announces the roadmap for Next-Gen Snapdragon SoC development, including the MSM8960, citing future improvements in CPU and GPU performance and lower power consumption.[15]
  • On 5 January 2011, a version of Microsoft Windows 7 compiled for ARM was shown running on the Snapdragon SoC at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.[16] This would lead to Qualcomm chips supporting the short-lived Windows RT operating system and its successor, Windows 10 Mobile.
  • On 3 August 2011, Qualcomm announced a plan to use simple names (S1, S2, S3 and S4) for Snapdragon processors so that the public can better understand the products. The higher the number, the newer generation of SoC it is.[17]
  • On 7 January 2013, Qualcomm announced new names and tiers for the 2013 line of Snapdragon SoC's, Snapdragon 200, 400, 600 and 800.[18] The model tiers can easiest be described as equivalent to the Play (200), Plus (400), Pro (600) and Prime (800) tiers of the S4 generation of SoCs.[19][20]
  • On 3 July 2014, Qualcomm announced that they acquired Wilocity to gain access to their 60 GHz multi-gigabit wireless technology. Qualcomm also announced the Snapdragon 810 and that it would utilize the technology.
  • Snapdragon sponsored a League of Legends team under the name of Team SoloMid during the season 3 of LCS.


Similar platforms[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Snapdragon S4 Processors: System on Chip Solutions for a New Mobile Age" (PDF). Qualcomm. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Snapdragon S4 Processors: System on a Chip Solution for a New Mobile Age; White Paper (PDF). Qualcomm. 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Analysis: Qualcomm's 1 GHz ARM "Snapdragon"". EE Times. UBM Electronics. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Qualcomm's Next-Gen Krait 400 & Krait 300 Announced in Snapdragon 800 & 600 SoCs". AnandTech. AnandTech. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Snapdragon product specs". Qualcomm. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Qualcomm Acquires Handheld Graphics and Multimedia Assets from AMD". Qualcomm. 20 January 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Mobile Multimedia Optimization (Hexagon SDK)". Qualcomm. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  8. ^ Mick, Jason (5 December 2014). "Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 is Reportedly Delayed by Serious Overheating Woes". DailyTech. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Triggs, Rob (8 January 2015). "More rumors surface regarding Snapdragon 810 overheating issues". AndroidAuthority. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  10. ^ McGregor, Jay (6 May 2015). "Qualcomm Finally Speaks Out About Samsung And Snapdragon". Forbes. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  11. ^ Kerin, Adam (12 February 2015). "Snapdragon 810 processor: cooler than ever". Snapdragon Blog. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Cunningham, Andrew (23 April 2015). "In-depth with the Snapdragon 810’s heat problems". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 820 with Kryo CPU". 
  14. ^ "Qualcomm Ships First Dual-CPU Snapdragon Chipset". Qualcomm. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Lal Shimpi, Anand (17 November 2010). "Qualcomm Reveals Next-Gen Snapdragon MSM8960: 28nm, dual-core, 5x Performance Improvement". AnandTech. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "Windows runs on Arm's mobile phone chips". BBC. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  17. ^ Shimpi, Anand Lal (3 August 2011). "Qualcomm's Updated Brand: Introducing Snapdragon S1, S2, S3 & S4 Processors". AnandTech. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  18. ^ McDonough, Tim (7 January 2013). "New Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor Brand Tiers Announced". Qualcomm. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "At the heart of the devices you love" (PDF). 7 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  20. ^ Talluri, Raj (7 January 2013). "Snapdragon 800 Series and 600 Processors Unveiled". Qualcomm. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 

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