Qualcomm, manufacturer of a line of mobile processors known as Snapdragon that makes up the guts of almost every Android phone that ships and is also in 100% of Windows Phone 7 devices, has taken the lid off their future plans. Today’s Snapdragon chips are built using 65 nm and 45 nm transistors. That’s set to shrink to 28 nm in 2011, meaning that not only will the chips be smaller, but they’ll also use less power. Along with the smaller transistor size, there’s a new architecture that promises to be 5x faster than what’s out on the market today. The first 2x performance bump is due to the fact that the new chips will have two cores, the second 2x to 3x bump comes from said new architecture that’s going to compete with ARM’s Cortex A9 design that NVIDIA uses in their Tegra 2 and what Apple will probably use in their next generation iPad/iPhone.
Next up is graphics, with a promise of up to a 4x increase compared to the first generation of Snapdragon processors. Qualcomm likes to compare the first Snapdragon, which uses the Adreno 130 GPU, to something as powerful as a Sony Playstation Portable. The next generation Adreno, the 2XX model, is about as fast as a Sony Playstation 2. That’s the chip that’s making its way into many of today’s high end Android smartphones like the T-Mobile G2. The Adreno 3XX, the GPU that will be in the next generation of Snapdragon processors, delivers the same graphics fidelity as a Sony Playstation 3. That’s … bonkers.
Best thing of all, this new Qualcomm Snapdragon family supports LTE, so expect to see a lot of devices on the market in 2012 that will support Verizon’s next generation network. The MSM8960, the first chip to be a part of this new generation, begins sampling in 2011. It’s going to be a long wait, but once it hits the market, prepare for a whole new level of smartphones.