Ahead of the annual Tech Summit, where the company is expected to unveil the next generation of its flagship smartphone chipset, Qualcomm has announced a brand refresh.
Going forward, Snapdragon smartphone chipsets will use a simplified unambiguous naming system with generation numbers. It should be cleaner, but it still highlights the company’s four levels of performance, with the 8 Series flagship phones as well as the 7 Series, 6 Series and 4 Series below.
This sounds similar to the names already used for the company’s computer chips, which are used for both Windows laptops and Chromebooks. These components are split into Snapdragon 8cx and 7cx tiers with generation markers to separate them – Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 launch is expected soon.
Qualcomm will also now emphasize the Snapdragon brand itself more, as opposed to the Qualcomm branding – relying more on brand identity, which is arguably a vital force for Snapdragon as competitor MediaTek gains traction in the chipset market.
The new system represents a cleaner approach than the three-digit system that Qualcomm has used since 2012, which has combined these serial numbers with progressively increasing second and third digits to reflect the position of each chip at levels – the Snapdragon 888 is more powerful than the previous year. 865 and both levels are above 780.
In part, this change was caused simply because it is running out of numbers. Now with 888, 780 and 695 chips in the mix, it’s clear that Qualcomm no longer has the ability to grow in its current system.
These numbers were often supplemented not only with the suffixes “4G” and “5G”, but also with the letter “G” for chips optimized for gaming, and a “+” for overclocked models.
As messy as it was, it was important not only to distinguish between the generations of models announced each year, but also to separate the multitude of chips that Qualcomm is announcing on an ongoing basis. Just last month, the company released four new chips: Snapdragon 778G +, 695, 680 4G and 480+.
What’s not yet clear is how Qualcomm will now differentiate between products of the same tier. “We have plans to unbundle products,” Qualcomm’s senior director of product labeling, Debra Maric, said during a media briefing, although the company has not yet shared the form of those plans.
One possibility is simply not to ship so many chipsets that they need a convoluted web of numbers and letters to make out, and it looks like this will be part of Qualcomm’s approach.
“You will see the roadmap strategy tightened in terms of the number of launches,” explained Maric, when asked how Qualcomm will differentiate between chips of the same tier and one generation.
What will the next Snapdragon flagship be called?
While the company hasn’t confirmed the exact name of its upcoming flagship, previously rumored to be the Snapdragon 898, it’s easy to make an educated guess between today’s announcements and leaks.
Renowned technology leader Ice Universe predicted just last week that the upcoming chipset will be called the Snapdragon 8 gen1, which perfectly matches the naming format that Qualcomm has announced so far.
Either way, we’ll find out soon. The Tech Summit has been confirmed to run from November 30 to December 2, which will almost certainly happen when we see the announcement of the next Snapdragon 8 Series chip and we attend.
This follows the arrival of the Dimensity 9000 last week, a competing top-tier phone chipset from MediaTek, which for the first time has enough power to likely give the new Snapdragon a real shot at its money.