Qualcomm Launches Krait-Based Dual-Core, Quad-Core Snapdragon Processors

Qualcomm on Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona unveiled single, dual, and quad-core versions of its next-generation Snapdragon processors based on the 28-nm-scale Krait architecture.

Qualcomm said each Krait core is capable of reaching speeds of up to 2.5-Ghz per Krait core, offering a 150 percent improvement in performance and a 65 percent reduction in power consumption compared to Qualcomm's current ARM-based Snapdragon chips. The chipsets all leverage Adreno GPUs and support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, along with GPUS, near field communication, 3D and video capabilities.

"Just as the original Snapdragon revolutionized smartphones with the first 1GHz processor, these new generations of Snapdragon will revolutionize the next wave of mobile entertainment and computing,’ Steve Mollenkopf, executive vice president and group president for Qualcomm, said in a statement. ’We believe we have an incredible lineup of chips and software, representing a single platform that OEMs can utilize to create new devices ranging from mass market smartphones with integrated LTE, to tablets, to next generation computing and entertainment devices.’

The dual-core MSM8960 offers an integrated multi-mode 3G/LTE modem enabling multi-tasking on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The MSM8960'ss two asynchronous CPU cores which offer users the ability to independently leverage each core and support dual-channel LP DDR memory. Qualcomm will begin offering samples of the dual core MSM8960 processor in June and launch the quad-core APQ8064 processor in June2012.

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Qualcomm says the dual-core MSM8960 is the first dual-core chip with integrated multi-mode 3G/LTE technology and the single-core MSM8930 is the first single-chip solution with integrated LTE modems, allowing LTE coverage to spread to a mass market.

Qualcomm said the quad-core APQ8064 is designed to bring high-end performance to PC and entertainment devices, while keeping power levels low. As with the dual-core MSM8960 processor, the quad-core APQ8064 will include four asynchronous CPU cores that users can control independently.

The APQ8064 supports both PC and LP DDR memory, and includes serial and PCIe interfaces, as well as multiple USB ports, according to Qualcomm. The APQ8064 has built-in Qualcomm 3G and LTE MDM modems and modules, allowing manufacturers using Snapdragon processors flexibility in designing their configurations and bringing new solutions based on Snapdragon processors to market.

Next: Snapdragon's Adreno GPU Core

Each of the three new Qualcomm Snapdragon processors offers a different Adreno GPU core. The single-core 8930 leverages the Adreno 305, which offers six times the performance of the Snapdragon processors in the current Windows Phone lineup. Meanwhile, the dual core 8960 features the Adreno 225 GPU, with eight times the performance of the current Snapdragon chip, and the Snapdragon 8064 320 offers 15 times the current chip.

The high-end Adreno 320 aims to bring powerful discrete-level graphics, available in a variety of gaming systems, to mobile embedded devices. The Adreno GPUs family support 3D and S3D games, S3D photos and video capture and playback, and HDMI output connecting to a 1080P flat panel display.

Samples of the dual-core Snapdragon will be available in the second quarter of 2011. Qualcomm expects the single-core and quad-core Snapdragon processors to come to market in early 2012.