Qualcomm Now Brands Premium Snapdragon Processor as a 'Platform'
By Shirley Siluk / Top Tech News. Updated March 17, 2017.
Attaching the "Snapdragon" label solely to Qualcomm's system-on-a-chip (SoC) doesn't do the technology justice, the company said yesterday. So Qualcomm is rebranding the Snapdragon name as a "platform" that encompasses not just the processor but all of the company's other technologies that work with the SoC.
Why make such a change? The move will enable the company to better "articulate the value that we provide to a device manufacturer," Qualcomm vice president of product marketing Don McGuire said in a blog post. Describing Snapdragon as a platform will put more focus on the experiences the company's technology delivers for users rather than on the technology itself.
As part of that shift, Qualcomm is also attaching the Snapdragon name to premium offerings only. Lower-end processors, such as the Snapdragon 200 series, will now be marketed under another new brand name: Qualcomm Mobile.
'An Anthology of Technology'
The rebranding moves are part of a larger package of changes and updates Qualcomm plans to roll out over the coming months, McGuire said. Together, those efforts are aimed at repositioning Qualcomm's product brands to "best articulate the value of our technology and products for our customers and their end users," he noted.
Applying the name "Snapdragon" to the processor alone, "is an inadequate representation of what the technology actually is, and the solutions that tens of thousands of Qualcomm Technologies innovators have worked on," McGuire said.
The Snapdragon SoC works with and helps support a wide range of Qualcomm technologies that include its radio-frequency front-end products, Qualcomm Quick Charge, and fingerprint-based Sense ID biometrics. All of them, are engineered specifically to work with Qualcomm's processors to provide a variety of user capabilities, McGuire said.
"In truth, Snapdragon is more than a single component, a piece of silicon, or what many would misinterpret as the CPU; it's an anthology of technology, comprising hardware, software, and services that are not fully captured in a word like 'processor,'" he said.
Looking to VR, AR, Other New Technologies
Signs of Qualcomm's new branding approach were already visible earlier this year, when the company unveiled its latest Snapdragon 835 SoC, a flagship chip that's set to begin appearing in new devices in the first half of this year.
When it announced the Snapdragon 835 at the CES 2017 in Las Vegas in January, Qualcomm described it as "the first mobile platform to be commercially manufactured using the 10nm FinFET process node."
The FinFET ("fin field effect transistor") technology is designed to minimize the performance-versus-power tradeoff that chip manufacturers have traditionally had to contend with. Developed by Samsung, the FinFET process results in 10-nanometer SoCs with increased area efficiency, improved performance and reduced power consumption, Qualcomm said at CES.
The Snapdragon 835 is designed to support new technologies like virtual and augmented reality, according to Qualcomm. McGuire noted yesterday that the platform rebranding effort will support the company's plans to grow its influence in those and other arenas.
"As we expand our presence outside of mobile, we want our nomenclature to reflect all the places we're making a difference, from mobile PCs and servers, to automotive, IP cameras, drones, VR/AR headsets, and beyond," he said.