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March 16, 2017

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon is no longer just a processor — now it’s a ‘platform’

by John_A

Why it matters to you

Qualcomm’s tech is what makes many of our phones work — and the company will continue to build all sorts of innards our devices need.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon team is evolving. The Snapdragon is best known for being a line of processors, including the Snapdragon 820 and 835, for mobile devices. Now, after almost a decade of releasing Snapdragon processors, the company has announced that Snapdragon is no longer a line of processors — it’s now a platform.

So, instead of referring to Snapdragon as the “Snapdragon Processor,” it will instead now be known as the “Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile Platform.” Some of the processors in the lineup will be booted from the Snapdragon family altogether, including the Snapdragon 200 series, which will now be a part of the “Qualcomm Mobile Platform.”

More: Apple vs. Qualcomm: Everything you need to know

So what does this all mean? It’s a slightly strange rebranding, but the point is that Qualcomm wants to develop a full platform. It’s important to note that its hardware isn’t going to change — the Snapdragon 835 will still be a mobile processor in the Snapdragon family. Qualcomm wants to emphasis, however, that the Snapdragon 835 SoC is more than just a processor — it’s a full collection of bits and pieces, including the processor itself, a GPU, a modem, and a few pieces of software that help make all those pieces work together.

It does kind of make sense — the word processor is generally associated with a CPU, and the Snapdragon SoC simply is not just a CPU. In fact, what really sets Snapdragon SoC’s apart from other chip-makers is the system-on-a-chip component, which are fully custom. It’s clear that Qualcomm simply wants to shift some of the attention to all the non-CPU bits it also builds.

As AnAndTech notes however, a big risk here is that the word “platform” is pretty overused in the tech industry these days, and as such it doesn’t really end up holding all that much meaning.

As mentioned, the Snapdragon 200 family will be leaving the Snapdragon series altogether and joining Qualcomm’s “Mobile Platform.” The 200 series hasn’t been rebranded just yet — which does make things a little confusing. Considering the fact that the 200 series was the lowest series in the Qualcomm family, however, helps convey that the company wants Snapdragon to be a high-end name.

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