Qualcomm reveals quadcore Snapdragon S4 Play processors, ramps up entry smartphone speeds

Don't think Qualcomm is limiting its quad-core processors to superstar phones. The Snapdragon S4 Play line is growing to include the MSM8225Q and MSM8625Q, parallels to the existing two Play chips that bring four cores to entry-level devices. Besides the speed improvements that you'd expect from all that extra parallelism, the Q variants support the extra bandwidth of low-power DDR2 (LPDDR2) memory and can handle both 720p displays and movie-making. Neither is quite an all-encompassing solution, although the two will cover the bases for much of the starter demographic: while local wireless such as Bluetooth, FM radio and WiFi have to remain separate from the main processor, the two newcomers manage to pack either single-mode UMTS 3G (in the 8225Q) or dual-mode CDMA and UMTS (in the 8625Q) for their cellular fix. Along with the already promised, China-focused S4 Plus MSM8930, test samples of the faster S4 Play editions will be ready before the end of the year, with shipping phones on the way in early 2013 -- just in time to go head-to-head with a similar push by MediaTek to make quad-core the norm for a much larger slice of the population.

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Qualcomm Announces New Snapdragon S4 Play MSM8x25Q Processors with Quad-Core CPUs and Reference Design Counterpart for High-Volume Smartphones

- Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8x30 Platform to Support LTE -TDD/TD-SCDMA and All Three China Operators -

BEIJING, Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced the addition of two new Snapdragon™ S4 mobile processors: the MSM8225Q and MSM8625Q. Both are members of the Snapdragon S4 Play processor tier, optimized specifically for a broad range of smartphone users seeking faster applications and better user experiences. Snapdragon S4 Play processors will now offer OEMs both dual-core and quad-core CPUs and performance for entry-level smartphones, with the more advanced version featuring higher bus bandwidth, larger screen resolution support, HD video and enhanced user experiences. Both processors will be ready for customer sampling by end of 2012 and are expected to be shipping in commercial devices in the first quarter of 2013.

The MSM8225Q and MSM8625Q processors incorporate quad-core CPUs and are the upgraded software compatible variants of the highly successful Snapdragon S4 Play MSM8225 and MSM8625 processors, which both feature dual-core CPUs and dual SIM support. The quad-core variants will support LPDDR2 memory, increasing the bus bandwidth for improved features such as 720p display and 720p video encode and decode. Snapdragon S4 Play MSM8625Q features Qualcomm's integrated multimode UMTS/CDMA modem, and the MSM8225Q has an integrated UMTS modem. Both processors enable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and FM connectivity using the Qualcomm Atheros AR6005 and WCN2243 chips.

In addition, Qualcomm also announced a single platform, the Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8930, that supports all China operators with UMTS, CDMA and TD-SCDMA. Furthermore, this single platform will support LTE-TDD and TD-SCDMA, targeting mid-tier smartphones for use in China. Announced in February 2011, this processor features dual-core CPUs and as the world's first single-chip solution with an integrated LTE modem, it is designed to take LTE to high-volume smartphones. Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8930 with LTE-TDD and TD-SCDMA support will be ready for customer sampling by the end of 2012 and is expected to be shipping in commercial devices by the first quarter of 2013.

Qualcomm will also be releasing Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) versions of all three processors. The QRD program includes comprehensive handset development platforms and an ecosystem program providing access to third-party providers of tested and verified hardware and software components so customers can rapidly deliver differentiated smartphones to budget conscious consumers. The Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM connectivity technologies have been pre-validated and tested with the QRD platform to provide reduced time-to-market. There have been more than 50 public QRD-based product launches to date in collaboration with more than 40 OEMs, and there are 100 designs in progress, including QRD-based smartphones enabled by these new Snapdragon S4 Play and Plus processors, which are also expected to be available by the first quarter of 2013.

"Our broad portfolio of Snapdragon S4 mobile processors delivers the optimal balance of features and performance for the high-volume smartphone segment," said Cristiano Amon, senior vice president and co-president of mobile and computing products. "By offering both dual-core and quad-core CPU versions of the Snapdragon S4 Play processor, we are providing our OEM and operating partners a competitive and differentiated platform."

The new Snapdragon S4 Play and Plus processors are designed specifically for high-volume smartphones, and they provide device manufacturers the ability to migrate their existing Snapdragon S1-based designs to S4 dual- and quad-core CPU-based designs. This capability is particularly useful for device manufacturers looking to efficiently expand their smartphone product lines with more advanced 3G/LTE smartphone products.