Home » Cloud Computing strategy » Qualcomm quad-core Cortex-A7 SoCs with Adreno 305 and 1080p coming for the high-volume global market and China

Qualcomm quad-core Cortex-A7 SoCs with Adreno 305 and 1080p coming for the high-volume global market and China

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With Qualcomm’s this week announcement (see below in the details section) the company is expanding the high-volume Play tier of its S4 class SoCs for aggressive competition with Taiwan (especially MediaTek, see in the details) and mainland China based competitors, as well as NVIDIA (see in the details) and Marvell:  

Note: the greyed boxes contain the number of available or announced products based on that particular SoC as of end of September, 2012.

As with it Qualcomm’s Krait based dual-core offerings came into a kind of performance overlap with the new quad-core Cortex-A7 SoCs (not according to Qualcomm obviously but easily recognizable from the above table) the company intensively emphasized in the last month the upcoming Krait v3 upgrade, officially called Krait 300, for the 2013 market. I will provide that information as well, after the MSM8x26 related information.

Finally Qualcomm published a new video about its strategic partnership with Dell in which Jeff Clarke, vice chairman & president of Global Ops and End User Computing at Dell is stating:

[1:13] Our strategic ARM partner is Qualcomm. Our strategic LTE partner is Qualcomm. Our wireless wins strategic partner is Qualcomm. [1:21]

Next week at Dell World 2012, Dell is bringing together top industry leaders and tech pundits to discuss how a new category of devices will benefit every aspect of computing, particularly the business environment. As a tech visionary, Qualcomm will share its visions on how it can help valued partners like Dell bring to market devices that are always connected while lasting days on a single charge.

As there is a special indication in the notes to that video about the Dell World 2012 (Dec 11-13, 2012), where Steve Mollenkopf, President and Chief Operating Officer of Qualcomm is listed among the 16 most distinguished speakers and Qualcomm is a Gold sponsor of the event, we may expect further details regarding both the MSM8x26 and Krate 300.

In order to have a complete and actual picture of Qualcomm’s SoC business I will also add some other information, particularly for the Adreno 300 series, along and after the MSM8x26 and Krate 300 related parts.

Before the details I will highly recommend to read my previous post Qualcomm decided to compete with the existing Cortex-A5/Krait-based offerings till the end of 2012 [Sept 30, 2012] as well.

The details

Qualcomm Announces S4 Play MSM8x26 and WTR2605 – Quad Core ARM Cortex A7 [AnandTech, Dec 5, 2012]

Yesterday, Qualcomm announced a new SoC for its Snapdragon S4 Play category, the MSM8x26, and alongside it a new transceiver, WTR2605. The announcement was a little light on detail and I waited until confirmation of a few details, but now know more about these two new parts geared at the growing entry-level Chinese handset market.

First off, MSM8x26 is a 28nm SoC consisting of four ARM Cortex A7 CPUs running at (1.2 GHz) alongside an Adreno 305 GPU. This is to my knowledge the first Qualcomm SoC using a Cortex A7 for CPU, previously we’ve seen a lot of Cortex A5 use at Qualcomm in parts like MSM8x25 (dual A5s), MSM8x25Q (quad A5s), and also onboard baseband as an optional AP for managing things like a router. MSM8x26 is the spiritual successor to MSM8x25Q, which was again quad core ARM Cortex A5s at 45nm with Adreno 203 graphics. MSM8x26 should bring a nice jump in performance on both CPU and GPU over that part, in addition to supporting 1080p video encode and decode, and support for 13 MP cameras. MSM8x26 will come in two flavors, 8226 with UMTS and TD-SCDMA, and 8626 with UMTS, CDMA, and TD-SDCMA, consistent with Qualcomm’s part numbering scheme. 

The other part of the story is the new transceiver, WTR2605, whose name suggests a wafer-level package (W for wafer) and includes necessary improvements to accommodate dual SIM active and standby modes (DS-DS operation) popular in the entry level Chinese market MSM8x26 is geared at. I don’t know anything further about the WTR2605 or how it compares in terms of RF ports to WTR1605L, which is Qualcomm’s current flagship transceiver, but suspect it’s an evolution of that design with changes to accommodate the dual SIM modes. We’ll have a piece ready later in the week about WTR1605 and the state of Qualcomm’s modem portfolio.

Qualcomm Technologies Expands Line of Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Processors with Quad-Core CPUs for High-Volume Smartphones [Qualcomm press release, Dec 4, 2012]

— MSM8226, MSM8626 and Reference Design Counterparts Add Depth to Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Roster and Incorporate New WTR2605 Multimode Radio

Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., is adding two chipsets to the Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 family of mobile processors, the MSM™8226 and MSM8626 chipsets, along with Qualcomm Reference Design versions of both. These Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processors with quad-core CPUs will bring premium multimedia and connectivity features to high-volume 3G handsets. Featuring the powerful Adreno™ 305 GPU, 1080p capture and playback, and up to a 13 megapixel camera, the MSM8226 and MSM8626 processors are optimized to deliver visually stunning graphics and exceptionally long battery life to high-volume smartphones. Both processors will be ready for customer sampling by the second quarter of 2013 for UMTS, CDMA and TD-SCDMA.

Building on Qualcomm Technologies’ previous quad-core offering, both the MSM8226 and MSM8626 processors are fabricated using the 28nm technology node and will continue to support multi-SIM capabilities with Dual SIM, Dual Standby; and Dual SIM, Dual Active. In addition to quad-core CPU processing power, these chipsets incorporate the new WTR2605 multi-mode radio transceiver, optimized to address China specific requirements such as support for TD-SCDMA, CDMA 1xAdv and HSPA+. The WTR2605 transceiver comes with an integrated, high-performance GPS core with GLONASS and Beidou support. Optimized for low power consumption, the WTR2605 transceiver offers 40 percent power savings and 60 percent smaller footprint compared to previous generations.

“The expansion of our Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 family extends our leadership in performance and low power for the high-volume smartphones,” said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president and co-president of mobile and computing products, Qualcomm Technologies. “This expanded roadmap provides our customers with a differentiated feature set upon which to build compelling smartphones for budget-conscious consumers.”

Qualcomm Technologies will also be releasing Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) versions of both MSM8226 and MSM8626 processors. The QRD program provides device manufacturers with comprehensive handset development resources and access to an ecosystem of hardware and software vendors, whose components and applications have been tested and validated for QRD-based devices. QRD customers are offered everything they need to rapidly deliver differentiated smartphones to the mass market. There have been more than 100 public QRD-based product launches to date in collaboration with more than 40 OEMs, and there are currently more than 100 designs in progress. The QRD versions of these particular Qualcomm Snapdragon processors—the QRD8226 and QRD8626—will also be available for sampling by the second quarter of 2013.

Windows RT on Snapdragon Processors [QUALCOMMVlog YouTube channel, Nov 16, 2012]

Watch as Steve Horton, Director of Product Management, explains how Qualcomm and Microsoft collaborated to bring together power, connectivity, graphics, security, and multimedia to ensure that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoC best optimizes tablets running WindowsRT. To learn more about Snapdragon go to:http://www.qualcomm.com/snapdragon or visit Qualcomm at http://www.qualcomm.com You can also connect with us at: http://www.facebook.com/qualcomm, http://www.youtube.com/qualcomm and Twitter@Qualcomm.

Nvidia Tegra 3 under strong pressure from S4 Pro, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, Dec 7, 2012]

Snapdragon S4 Pro series processors developed by Qualcomm have brought increasing competitive pressure on Nvidia’s Tegra 3 because of its superior overall performance-cost ratio, according to Taiwan-based handset supply chain makers.

Although Nvidia successfully landed orders for Google’s Nexus 7 and Microsoft’s Surface RT in 2012, with Microsoft reportedly planning to adopt Qualcomm’s platform for its next-generation Surface RT, while Tegra-based smartphones have only had average sales performance, Nvidia may find it difficult to continue achieving strong growth in 2013 like in 2012.

In 2012, Nvidia received Tegra orders for smartphones including the HTC One X, LG Electronics Optimus 4X H, ZTE Era, K-Touch Treasure V8 and Fujitsu’s devices.

Qualcomm is expected to start fierce competition against MediaTek and China-based handset chipmakers in China’s mid-range to entry-level smartphone market in the first quarter of 2013, challenging Nvidia’s plans of releasing a solution for CNY1,000 smartphones (US$160), while ualcomm’s aggressiveness over striving orders from tablet players with its reference design, which is set to release in the first half of 2013, also places strong pressure on Nvidia, the sources noted.

From this you could see that Qualcomm and MediaTek is in a kind of mouse and cat game: MediaTek to bring forward launch date of MT6589 quad-core solutions [DIGITIMES, Dec 3, 2012]

MediaTek reportedly has decided to move forward the launch date of its quad-core smartphone solution, the MT6589, to December instead of January 2013 in order to meet market demand during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday season, according to industry sources.

In addition to China-based smartphone makers, Motorola Mobility, Sony Mobile Communications and LG Electronics are also likely to be among the first wave of vendors taking deliveries of quad-core solutions from MediaTek, the sources indicated.

Smartphones powered by MediaTek’s quad-core chips are expected to hit the market in the first quarter of 2013 at the earliest, added the sources.

MediaTek November revenues dip to 5-month low [DIGITIMES, Dec 10, 2012]

MediaTek saw its consolidated revenues slide 17.5% sequentially to a five-month low of NT$8.65 billion (US$297 million) in November, according to company data. The monthly figures were up 13.4% from a year earlier.

Accumulated revenues for the first 11 months of 2012 amounted to NT$91.68 billion, increasing 15.5% from a year ago.

MediaTek will give a presentation for its quad-core MT6589 smartphone solution as well as a low-priced version MT6589M to clients on December 11 and to the media on December 13, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.

Krait 300: The AnandTech Podcast: Episode 12 [Dec 3, 2012] from Brian Klug
(see also the Qualcomm’s Quad-Core Snapdragon S4 (APQ8064/Adreno 320) Performance Preview [AnandTech, July 24, 2012] where Krait v3 is already mentioned as well as Adreno 320 improvements with all detailed slides about the new GPU)

[51:44] … all current Kraits are Krait v2 (Krait v1 was a sort of internal thing we never saw) … soon will get Krait v3 and [MSM]8960T … T stands for Turbo … strait IPC [Instructions Per Cycle] increase of about 15% … additionally increased clocks from 1.5 GHz to 1.7 GHz … expect 20 to 30% higher overall performance … more power efficiency … more out-of-order capability … better branch prediction … there is Krait 400 at some point but don’t know about that … expect devices with MSM8960T shipping early next yearAdreno 320 GPU is coming with 8960T … [57:58]

CPU Leadership Now and into Next Generation:
Highest Performance at the Lowest Power

Most widely presented on Qualcomm Analyst Day, Nov 15, 2012 (slide #90) but taken from IAR_Americas_Summit_2012_Industry_Leadership_Anand_Chandrasekher (1)
Note from ExtremeTech:

The x86 SoC above is obviously Intel’s Medfield, while the 40nm competitor in green is almost certainly Tegra 3. The yellow line is Samsung’s dual-core Exynos Cortex-A15 CPU. The first magenta line presumably refers to the dual-core Snapdragon S4 designs …

… Cortex-A15 is primarily a server/netbook chip, but that doesn’t mean Samsung can’t build smartphones around it.

Snapdragon CPU Performance [QUALCOMMVlog YouTube channel, Aug 21, 2012]

Travis Lanier, director of CPU product management, discusses in detail what goes inside Snapdragon processors and sets them apart from the competition. This video sheds light on the thought that Qualcomm puts into its designs—from thermal management, power efficiency and extending device term battery life to asymmetrical loading, multiple cores and more—resulting in a highly optimized chip. For more information on Snapdragon go to:http://www.qualcomm.com/snapdragon For more information on Qualcomm go to: http://www.qualcomm.com For more Qualcomm videos go to: http://www.youtube.com/qualcomm

How Snapdragon processors stack up against the competition [QUALCOMMVlog YouTube channel, Sept 20, 2012]

With so many devices launched every day, what claims to be new may not always be up to speed with current technology. In this video, you’ll see how a Qualcomm Snapdragon processors compare to the competition’s latest processor. For more information on Snapdragon please go to: http://www.qualcomm.com/snapdragon To learn more about Qualcomm visit http://www.qualcomm.com or connect with us at: http://www.facebook.com/qualcomm, http://www.youtube.com/qualcomm and Twitter@Qualcomm.

Current Krait v2/200 SoCs see in the table below (with actual devices as end of Sept):
taken from my earlier core post: Qualcomm decided to compete with the existing Cortex-A5/Krait-based offerings till the end of 2012 [Sept 30, 2012]. Note that the newer SoCs with quadcore  S4 Pros (not even in this table) are not shown. About them see:
HTC Droid DNA Rocks First 1080p Display [Qualcomm Insider Blog, Nov 13, 2012]
Google Nexus 4 [Qualcomm product page]
LG AND GOOGLE ANNOUNCE NEXUS 4 [LG press release, Oct 30, 2012]

Sleek, New Smartphone Combines LG’s Best-in-Class Hardware with the Best of Google

SEOUL, Oct. 30, 2012 -– Designed collaboratively by LG and Google, Nexus 4, the newest smartphone in the Nexus line-up from Google, was announced today for availa bility starting next month in select markets. With a sophisticated hardware design from LG, your favorite Google Apps, and the latest version of Android™, Nexus 4 puts the best of Google in the palm of your hand.

“LG  is  proud  and  excited  to  play  this  role  in  helping  build  the  latest  Nexus smartphone,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “Users will be delighted by the perfectly balanced combi nation of form and function with the latest generation of Android.”

“This is the first time we collaborated with LG to build a Nexus device,” said Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile and Digital Content at Google. “They brought an extraordinary amount of talent to the project, and the result is a feature-packed device that feels great in your hand, and blazingly fast under the hood.”

Capture and share your world

Nexus 4 comes with a high-performance 8MP camera and takes stunning Photo Sphere images, letting you capture every detail of the world around you. Up, down and all around you, it’s like no camera you’ve ever seen; with Nexus 4, you can snap pictures in every direction that come together into incredible, immersive Photo Spheres that put you right inside the scene. Plus, photos upload themselves with Instant Upload so you’ll never lose a shot.

All of this comes to life with stunning clarity and crisp, natural color on the vibrant 1280-by-768 4.7-inch True HD IPS Plus display supported by Zerogap Touch technology. Gently curved glass edges allow your finger to slide smoothly on and off the 320ppi screen, while cutting edge display technology means you feel like you’re touching every pixel, protected by scratch resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass 2.

Built for speed

Nexus 4 comes with a cutting-edge Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 Pro processor, so you’ve got speed and power to spare. Zip around the web, experience rich 3D graphics and gameplay, and effortlessly switch between multiple apps without ever missing a beat. With 2GB of RAM and the fastest version of Android ever, Nexus 4 is the snappi est Nexus smartphone yet.

Information at your fingertips

Nexus 4 comes with the latest Google apps, putting the best of Google in the palm of your hand. The latest version of Google Now is built-in, which keeps you even more organized -– get reminders about upcoming flights, restaurant reservations, hotel confir mations and even nearby photo opportunities -– when and where you need them.

Get to the places you care about quickly and easily with Google Maps™ for Android. With turn-by-turn GPS navigation, live traffic info, and integrated driving, walking and public transit directions, getting from A to B has never been easier. 3D Maps and rich satellite imagery give you a more realistic sense of what’s around you while features like Street View and Indoor Maps make sure you always know what’s in front of you.

Nexus 4 is sold unlocked and is GSM/HSPA+ compatible so it will operate on more than 200 network providers worldwide. Just pop in a supported SIM card and be up and running in no time. It will be available to purchase in both an 8GB version and a 16GB version on Google Play™ starting November 13 in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia. Offline availability in Europe, Central/South Americas, Asia, CIS and the Middle East will begin from the end of November.

Key specifications

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 Pro processor with 1.5GHz Quad-Core Krait CPUs
  • Operating System: Android 4.2, Jelly Bean
  • Network: 3G (WCDMA), HSPA+
  • Display: 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS Plus (1280 x 768 pixels)
  • Memory: 8GB / 16GB
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Camera: 8.0MP rear / 1.3MP HD front
  • Battery: 2,100mAh Li-Polymer (embedded) / Talk time: 15.3 hours / Standby: 390 hours
  • Size: 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm
  • Weight: 139g
  • Other: Wireless charging, NFC

“As with any sales process, LG supplies product quantities against partners’/customers’ (ie retailers, operators etc) forecasts,” Andy Coughlin, head of mobile at LG UK, told CNet, adding that, “demand via the Play Store has been very high in this instance.”

Adreno 320 GPU Leads in Power-Efficient Performance:
Latest GPU Architecture – Higher Parformance, Lower Power

Most widely presented on Qualcomm Analyst Day, Nov 15, 2012 (slide #93) but taken from IAR_Americas_Summit_2012_Industry_Leadership_Anand_Chandrasekher (1)

Graphics Benchmarking [QUALCOMMVlog YouTube channel, Sept 26, 2012]

Watch how the graphics performance of Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon S4 (APQ8064) with integrated Adreno 320 GPU compares with a competitor quad-core platform. Kishonti Informatic’s GLBenchmark 2.5, the newest and highest-end 3D graphics benchmark available today, plays noticeably more smoothly with Snapdragon and Adreno. To learn more about Snapdragon go to: http://www.qualcomm.com/snapdragon To learn more about Qualcomm visit http://www.qualcomm.com or connect with us at: http://www.facebook.com/qualcomm, http://www.youtube.com/qualcomm and Twitter@Qualcomm.

GPU Demonstration: Fortress [QUALCOMMVlog YouTube channel, Sept 19, 2012]

Snapdragon S4 Pro™ quad-core processor and its integrated, custom-built Adreno 320 GPU. This demo showcases how the quad core processor and GPU work seamlessly to deliver efficient, powerful graphics processing and high-end graphics features like real-time shadows and per fragment lighting, real-time reflection and refraction, lens flare, cloth simulation, water simulation, and God rays. To learn more about Qualcomm visit http://www.qualcomm.com or connect with us at: http://www.facebook.com/qualcomm, http://www.youtube.com/qualcomm and Twitter@Qualcomm.

Adreno Graphics for Snapdragon [Qualcomm Industry Analyst Relations, Sept 7, 2012]

Adreno GPUs are custom-built by Qualcomm and exclusively integrated within Snapdragon processors. They provide the level of computational processing power needed for the high-end 3D gaming, complex UIs, super-responsive web browsing and rich navigation experiences that today’s savvy mobile users demand.

The newest generation of Adreno GPUs, the Adreno 300 series, integrated in Snapdragon S4 Prime (MPQ8064) and S4 Pro (APQ8064, MSM8960T) processors, lead the market in power-efficient graphical processing capacity, capabilities and quality. The first GPU in the series, Adreno 320, delivers over three times the computational performance of the previous Adreno GPU, Adreno 225. Adreno 320 also provides the API support needed to enable not only high-end, connected 3D gaming experiences, but also to assist the CPU with computationally intensive use cases like imaging and video enhancement.

  • Snapdragon and Adreno have strong global adoption, as evidenced by the fact that Qualcomm shipped more GPUs in 2011 than any other mobile silicon provider.
  • Adreno GPUs enable today’s advanced graphical use cases with industry leading performance and power efficiency.
  • Adreno GPUs are uniquely designed to dynamically adjust to shader loads, minimizing processing power and boosting application performance by eliminating wasted cycles.
  • Qualcomm’s newest GPU, Adreno 320, introduces support for the latest graphics APIs like OpenGL ES 3.0, as well as the latest compute APIs like OpenCL 1.2 that enable GPGPU acceleration of advanced computational camera and video effects.
  • Qualcomm’s Adreno graphics solution includes support of leading game engines and valuable tools that save developers time and money.

Snapdragon GPU Technology [QUALCOMMVlog YouTube channel, Aug 6, 2012]

What is Qualcomm’s integrated Adreno GPU technology for Snapdragon all about? What types of use cases is it enabling in today’s market and how? This video answers these questions and more. For those new to Adreno and for those who want to know what the latest and greatest features of the new Adreno 300 series GPUs are, this video provides helpful answers. To learn more about Qualcomm visit http://www.qualcomm.com or connect with us at: http://www.facebook.com/qualcomm, http://www.youtube.com/qualcomm and Twitter @Qualcomm.

Adreno Profiler & SDK [QUALCOMMVlog YouTube channel, Oct 1, 2012]

Qualcomm’s Adreno Graphics solution includes much more than their high performance Adreno GPUs. In this clip you’ll get a glimpse of the Adreno Profiler tool and also hear about the Adreno SDK, both of which are valuable graphics development and optimization tools that save developers time and development costs. These tools and additional information are available on developer.qualcomm.com. To learn more about Qualcomm visit http://www.qualcomm.com or connect with us at: http://www.facebook.com/qualcomm, http://www.youtube.com/qualcomm and Twitter@Qualcomm.


  1. […] its best 2014 capabilities you can understand from my post on ‘Experiencing the Cloud’ titled Qualcomm quad-core Cortex-A7 SoCs with Adreno 305 and 1080p coming for the high-volume global market… [Dec 9, […]

  2. […] products … [my other ‘USD 99 Allwinner’ blog, Dec 10, 2012]. It should also be noted that Qualcomm quad-core Cortex-A7 SoCs with Adreno 305 and 1080p coming for the high-volume global market… [this same ‘Experiencing the Cloud’ blog, Dec 9, 2012] with customer sampling by 2Q 2013. […]

  3. […] from Qualcomm. The previous announcements were described in the following posts on this blog:- Qualcomm quad-core Cortex-A7 SoCs with Adreno 305 and 1080p coming for the high-volume global market… [Dec 9, 2012]- Qualcomm decided to compete with the existing Cortex-A5/Krait-based offerings till […]

  4. david says:

    adreno 305 is as good as 225..source: http://techivian.com/?p=18

  5. […] from December 24, 2012 on in mainland China). That prompted a direction only reaction that Qualcomm quad-core Cortex-A7 SoCs with Adreno 305 and 1080p coming for the high-volume global market… [Dec 9, 2012]), with sampling just planned for Q2’13 and only now publishing a completely […]

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