Qualcomm 8X50A: 1.3 GHz, 45 nm and Qualcomm 8X72: Dual core 1.5 GHz out before the end of 2010

Scott Bicheno from Hexus just spoke to Luis Pineda, SVP of product management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, who unveiled that Qualcomm is going to be adding 2 processors to the Qualcomm Snapdragon family during 2010. First up is the 8X50A, a 45 nanometer version of the current Snapdragon, but running at 1.3 GHz instead of the 1 GHz chip inside devices like the Google Nexus One and HTC HD 2; it will start sampling to manufactures this month. Next is the 8X72, a dual core Snapdragon with each core running at 1.5 GHz and also capable of outputting 1080p video; no information is available with regards to ability.

One thing is certain, the future is looking mighty bright with regards to faster and faster smartphones. It feels like the 90s all over again when PCs were shipping with faster processors, year after year, but every extra megahertz back then actually made a difference. Arguably the PC space of 2010 is much different. I haven’t purchased a new PC since the summer of 2007 because I feel that I’ve got more than enough speed under my fingers. When will we be able to say the same about smartphones? How much power are you going to need to take full advantage of the ridiculously fat pipe an LTE connection provides?

Exciting times indeed.

  • Jonathan Morris

    You make a good point – how far do we go before the extra processing power is almost redundant?

    Raw power is important for many things, but we all know how important software is too. My netbook with an Intel Atom processor was slow with XP, awful with Vista but actually pretty decent With Windows 7.

    We can see how OSX will still run surprisingly well on an old G3 Powerbook, while PCs used to require updating every year just to run the OS, let alone more power-hungry apps.

    Snapdragon processors are great, and will come into their own for gaming and other processor hungry tasks, but for normal use – a well coded OS should run on something a lot more basic.

    My Milestone doesn’t have Snapdragon, but it is anything but slow. My N900 doesn’t have Snapdragon but can decode videos just fine.

    In many ways, the battle of the mobile processor is going to become like the megapixel war on cameras. People will assume that faster=better.

    The only upside is that Qualcomm are very good at reducing power consumption with each successive processor, although to work most efficiently, the savings come from the features that CUT the performance.

    The other downside is that developers get lazy when they’ve got loads of raw power as there’s little need to worry about optimization. Have our needs really changed that much in the last 10 years to need so much more power to access email or read/edit documents, or do something like send a Tweet?!

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      When my phone is as snappy as my PC is today (Windows 7 on a 2.2 GHz dual core Intel, 4 GB of RAM) then I’ll be happy, but today that’s far from actually happening. Another decade I’d say. At that point I’ll just be sitting on my ass, waiting for LTE to become as ubiquitous as 3G.

Back to top ▴