Qualcomm and their industry respected Snapdragon platform has been shoved inside more Android smartphones than anyone can count. With the announcement of so many NVIDIA Tegra 2 devices at CES, many of us have been asking: where’s Qualcomm’s dual core solution? The Tegra 2 packs 2 ARM Cortex A9 processors clocked at a blistering 1 GHz each next to a graphics processor that we’ve yet to benchmark, but just by playing with it we can tell it’s a cut above the rest. Qualcomm on the other hand announced their dual core chips last year, but they’ve yet to make it inside devices. That’s going to change in 2011, but when exactly is anyone’s guess.
“We have what we think is a very innovative product,” said Cristiano Amon, Senior Vice President of Qualcomm’s Cellular Products Group, later adding that Android tablets from Acer, Compal and Pantech will ship with their dual core Snapdragon chip this year, as well as a few unannounced smartphones. The only product we know of that packs this next generation Snapdragon is the ASUS Eee Pad MeMO. It’s very likely that we’re not going to see this chip inside hardware until the second half of 2011, but is that such a bad thing?
There are several advantages that Qualcomm’s product offers that competitors can’t match. Let’s get the big one out of the way: Qualcomm can sell you an entire smartphone platform, meaning the application processor, the GPU, and all the necessary radios (cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS) needed to make a mobile device. Then there’s the asynchronous design of the dual core Snapdragon that will enable hardware vendors to have both cores operating at different frequencies and even different voltages all in an effort to save battery life.
NVIDIA may have been first to launch a dual core mobile processor, but that isn’t going to guarantee their success in the market.