Qualcomm is working with the somewhat aged Scorpion CPU architecture with its mobile Snapdragon circuits, but a fresh roadmap reveals the new Krait architecture coming this Winter in 28nm suit with dual cores at up to 1.7 GHz. The package also includes the Adreno 225 GPU with DirectX 9.

Qualcomm is one of few mobile processor companies that despite its ARM license builds its own architectures. This has made the company one of the most powerful on the mobile scene where it has a monopoly on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform and a big presence on the Android market.

Snapdragon is the family name for Qualcomm’s mobile system processors and we have known for some time that new models are coming. First now we have seen an official launch date and more detailed technical information.

In Q4 2011 a trio of dual-core Snapdragon circuits with the new Krait architecture will arrive to go up against Cortex-A9 but also the coming Cortex-A15 archictecture from ARM. Leading them we have Qualcomm MSM8960 operating at 1.5 to 1.7 GHz with dual cores. The circuits also sports dual memory channels with 500 MHz LPDDR2 memory.

The GPU is an updated version called Adreno 225. The cirucits supports both 2D and 3D grafik, and will be capable of 125 million triangles per second (~ 88M tri/sec for Adreno 220). The most noteable is the support for DirectX 9 and Shader Model 3, which works quite well with the coming launch of Windows 8 next year. MSM8930 also supports the mobile Internet standard LTE FDD/TDD cat3 with speeds up to 100/50 Mbps.

qualcommIn Q3 2012 Qualcomm will update its mid-range assortment and once again it is the Krait architecture in focus for the MSM8930 and MSM8230 circuits with different modems. They will both bring dual cores, but the speeds will be limited to 1.0-1.2 GHz. The GPU will be Adreno 305 that despite the higher name is somewhat weaker than Adreno 225 and with 80 million triangles per second, which adds support for DirectX 9 like the more powerful sibling.

Q1 of 2013 will bring Qualcomm’s first quad-core system processors. They are still on the 28nm node, but the frequencies are turned up to 2.0-2.5 GHz and the dual memory channels can feed LPDDR3 memory up to 800 MHz. There is support for 1080p 60 fps playback and Adreno 320 GPu will raise performance to 225 million triangles per second. Qualcomm MSM8974 also supports LTE Cat4, which enable mobile Internet speeds up to 150 Mbps.


When the first products with Qualcomm’s new circuits launches is unclear. Most likely the dates mentioned in the roadmap are meant for product manufacturers when they will be able to access the circuits. Hopefully we will see the first Krait products on the market before the end of the year.

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