Qualcomm‘s Snapdragon lineup of mobile SoCs is the go-to choice for many Android manufacturers. From big names like Samsung to upcoming brands like Realme, every Android manufacturer has put Qualcomm Snapdragon chips inside their phones. Even though Snapdragon CPUs aren’t the most popular in terms of sales, they’re still the fan favorite and the closest competitor to Apple‘s Bionic SoCs found in iPhones.
Currently, the flagship offering from Qualcomm is their Snapdragon 888 SoC which is to be followed up by a supposed Snapdragon 898 to be announced in the coming week. However, some smartphone insiders have been tipped that Qualcomm has decided against going with that name and instead the new Snapdragon flagship would be reportedly called “Snapdragon 8 Gen1“. Today, we have official confirmation that further backs up this claim.
Ahead of Tech Summit 2021 where Qualcomm is expected to announce the next-generation Snapdragon flagship, the company has come forward and detailed its plans for rebranding the Snapdragon lineup of CPUs in a blog post. From now on, Qualcomm Snapdragon won’t be a thing, instead Snapdragon has been spun into its own brand and, in turn, Qualcomm and Snapdragon brands have become separated. Still, in places where necessary we’ll see the Qualcomm Snapdragon branding appear as one, but for everywhere else, Snapdragon is now its own thing with its own, separate brand identity.
This change comes in the light of establishing a new, cleaner naming convention where Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips stand out on their own rather than being tied with the Qualcomm name. Moreover, this would give further clarity to other Qualcomm products/features such as Snapdragon Sound, which will now be under the Snapdragon umbrella associated with smartphone technologies.
Snapdragon Naming Structure
The real change, however, comes in the form of an updated nomenclature for Snapdragon processors. Since 2012, Qualcomm has followed a relatively straightforward naming scheme with 3 digits to identify the chip. The first digit represented the generation, and the second and third represented the chip’s place in the overall hierarchy of its class. Right now the Snapdragon 888 is the top-of-the-line chip and is the successor to last year’s Snapdragon 865 which itself is a tier above the Snapdragon 780.
On top of this, there are further suffixes that distinguish the chip from the rest. These include “4G” and “5G” to portray the chip’s modem, a “G” suffix that stood for gaming and a “+” (plus) suffix which represented overclocked versions of existing chips. So, take the fact that Snapdragon has followed the three-digit naming scheme since 2012 and now we have all these suffixes to care about and you’ll see how this has all started to become a bit too convoluted.
The supposed Snapdragon 898, if it were to carry the name, would’ve caused a lot of confusion as the name doesn’t naturally roll off the tongue in a unique manner and customers could easily confuse it with the pre-existing Snapdragon 888. Plus, after this year, Qualcomm would have no place left to go in terms of names for the 800-series since they’ve literally run of numbers to do so. Hence, a change was inevitable.
The New Snapdragon Single-Digit Naming Structure
Going forward, apart from separating Snapdragon from the Qualcomm brand, Snapdragon chips would also be adopting a new, much easier to follow naming structure. This naming structure will comprise of a single-digit followed by a generation number. That means that the first digit from the previous three-digit naming scheme will be retained and in front of it will be a proper generation number that will indicate the newness of the chip. For example, Snapdragon 8x, Snapdragon 7x, Snapdragon 6x, and Snapdragon 4x. The “x” in each of those will be replaced with the generation number.
This is no joke. Qualcomm seems to really name Snapdragon 898 "Snapdragon 8 gen1"
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) November 15, 2021
This naming structure is similar to how Qualcomm has named its laptop SoCs that’re found in Chromebooks, such as the “Snapdragon 7c Gen 2“. You can expect similar names for Snapdragon mobile chips going forward. In fact, a leak from last week has even suggested that the new Snapdragon flagship SoC will be called “Snapdragon 8 Gen 1” which falls in line perfectly with the updated naming convention and also makes the whole thing a lot easier to keep track of.
Even More Changes
Lastly, Qualcomm is also updating “badges” which are basically like AMD and Intel stickers you get with their desktop processor or on a laptop, except these badges are only present in marketing material and other artwork. From now on, different colored badges will represent different levels of Snapdragon products. Gold will be used exclusively for the most premium products and other colors, including Midnight, Gunmetal, Nickel, and Snapdragon Red, will visually represent lower-tiered products. Right now, everything except the Snapdragon 800-series chips is represented with a black badge and the former is represented with a gold one.
Also, the “5G” branding/suffix from all Snapdragon chips will be removed since, as the company says, all modern Snapdragon chips now come with 5G support and it has become a given at this point. The company highlights in their blog post: “5G has become ubiquitous across our Snapdragon Portfolio eliminating the need to call it out specifically on assets. Moving forward, with Snapdragon connected platforms, 5G will be a given“.
Stay tuned for Tech Summit 2021 which will be held on November 30th, 2021. Qualcomm, or should I say Snapdragon, is set to reveal the newest additions to the Snapdragon family on that day and, of course, we will be eagerly waiting for the official name of the next-gen flagship, which will most likely be called Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. With this new branding, it will be interesting to see how Qualcomm handles the naming of mid-cycle refreshes and different variants of the same chip.