Oh yeah baby, Qualcomm's finally shipping its first dual-core Snapdragons. To whom, is the big question. Its third-generation Mobile Station Modem MSM8260 and MSM8660 Snapdragon chipsets for high-end smartphones -- originally announced in February 2009 -- are now sampling and capable of running at up to 1.2GHz. The MSM8260 supports HSPA+, while the MSM8660 brings support for multi-mode HSPA+ and 1xEV-DO Rev. B. Both integrate GPS, a GPU with 2D / 3D acceleration engines for Open GL ES 2.0 and Open VG 1.1, 1080p video encoding and decoding, a dedicated low-power audio engine, and support for 24-bit WXGA 1,280 x 800 pixel displays. Anybody at Computex care to step forward with a reference design?

Update: We just spoke with company representatives here at the show, and try as we may, we couldn't convince anyone at the company to show off a dual-core reference design. We were flat-out told that the only people at Computex getting a glimpse at the new silicon were prospective customers, though we did manage to pry out a few interesting details about the chip itself and the future of the line. For one, these new chips have two application cores and a single modem core, whereas existing chips have a single application core alongside a single modem core. We were also told in no uncertain terms that an even quicker version of the Snapdragon would be launched before the year's end, and as you'd likely surmise, it'll be aimed at "larger screen" devices -- you know, like slates and tablet PCs.

[Image courtesy of Carina Larsson]
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Third-generation Snapdragon Solutions Feature Two Application Processor Cores Running up to 1.2 GHz to Enable Advanced Smartphones

TAIPEI, Taiwan – June 01, 2010 – Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), a leading developer and innovator of wireless technologies, products and services, today announced the Company has sampled its first dual-CPU Snapdragon™ chipsets. The Mobile Station Modem™ (MSM™) MSM8260™ and MSM8660™ solutions integrate two of the Company's enhanced cores running at up to 1.2GHz. Targeted at enabling high-end smartphones, the MSM8x60 solutions are third-generation chipsets from the Company's expanded Snapdragon platform, which has been powering smartphones, tablets and smartbook devices in markets around the world.

"Qualcomm's first-generation Snapdragon chipsets set a new standard for advanced smartphones and smartbook devices, and our second-generation solutions are already shipping in volume," said Steve Mollenkopf, executive vice president of Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. "We are very excited by the innovation our customers are already showing as they begin designing products based on our dual-core MSM8260 and MSM8660 chipsets."

The MSM8260 for HSPA+ and MSM8660 for multi-mode HSPA+/CDMA2000® 1xEV-DO Rev. B feature two enhanced CPU cores running at up to 1.2GHz for high levels of Web application and multimedia performance, including a powerful GPU with 3D/2D acceleration engines for Open GLES 2.0 and Open VG 1.1 accelration, 1080p video encode/decode, dedicated low power audio engine, integrated low power GPS, and support for 24-bit WXGA 1280 x 800 resolution displays.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon family of chipset solutions includes:
• First-generation products: QSD8x50™ with 1GHz enhanced core
• Second-generation products: MSM8x55™ and QSD8x50A™ with 1GHz enhanced core, including multimedia optimizations and 1.3GHz enhanced core, respectively
• Third-generation products: MSM8260, MSM8660 and QSD8672 with dual-CPU architecture featuring enhanced cores running at up to 1.2GHz and 1.5GHz, respectively