The current 1GHz Snapdragon is clearly no slouch, but as they say technological progress never stands still. We previously covered Qualcomm's plans for the next generation Snapdragon chips, the announcement of the 1.2GHz dual core MSM8260/8660, and the upcoming 1.5GHz dual core version designated the QSD8672. Originally thought to be scheduled for early next year, it now looks like Qualcomm is planning to launch the flagship processor to manufacturers in Q4 at the end of this year.
Designed for smartphones, tablets, and low cost laptops, there is a possibility we could see the first QSD8672-powered devices around Christmas, although I think it's a lot more likely we will have to wait until early next year. Marc Frankel, VP of product management for Qualcomm, gave some new insights into the processor revealing it uses the new improved core design of the 1.2GHz MSM8260/8660, with an array of performance and power management improvements. A key feature for conserving precious battery life is the chip's ability to independently scale voltage for each core, meaning that it will be able to significantly reduce power consumption by only using one of the two cores for simple tasks while the other is idle and only utilizing both cores simultaneously when maximum performance is required. Other features include support for full HD 1080p video playback, integrated support for HDMI output, and support for DDR2 and DDR3 memory interfaces.
Bearing in mind the original Snapdragon was first announced in 2008, the time is right for its successor to take the torch. In fact I would point out that in some cases the Snapdragon has been equaled or surpassed by some of its competitors, notably the Apple A4, the latest TI OMAP chips, and Samsung's Hummingbird S5PC110 CPU. These feature PowerVR's SGX 535, 530, and 540 GPUs, respectively, which are all significantly newer and more powerful than the current Snapdragon's AMD Z430 graphics unit. There hasn't been confirmation of what GPU the new Snapdragons will feature, but I'm sure we are all in store for an impressive improvement across the board.[ComputerWorld via Netbooknews]