Qualcomm announces quad-core Snapdragon S4 chipsets for mass market smartphones

Qualcomm today announced two Snapdragon S4 chipsets with quad-core processors that will also be available under its ‘Qualcomm Reference Design’ (QRD) solution to OEMs. The chipsets – MSM 8226 and MSM 8626 – feature an Adreno 305 GPU, 1080p video capture and playback, and support of up to 13-megapixel cameras. The chipsets are fabricated using the 28nm process and Qualcomm claims it provides 40 percent lower power consumption than the previous generation.

Qualcomm’s QRD program is loosely modeled around MediaTek’s reference design program that initially enabled low-cost feature phones and led to the rise of homegrown brands like Spice Mobile, Micromax, Karbonn and Lava among others.

At last week’s Global Editors Meet at its global headquarters in San Diego, Qualcomm revealed it was working with over 100 OEMs in China with QRD and there are already over 100 products based on QRD in the market with many more in the pipeline.

The company has already announced a tablet in India, the Karbonn Agnee, which is based on QRD but Qualcomm’s main focus will be on low-cost smartphones going forward.

Qualcomm’s focus for India is on low-cost smartphones with dual-core and quad-core processors and higher battery performance via its QRD program, Steve Mollenkoph, President and COO, Qualcomm told BGR India at the event.

The latest Snapdragon S4 chipsets will be available for sampling in the second quarter of 2013. Considering OEMs have been able to ship products using QRD as soon as 60 days after sampling, we can expect smartphones based on the new chipsets to be available as soon as the third quarter of next year.

Disclosure: Qualcomm paid for our travel and accommodation to attend the Global Editors Meet at its headquarters in San Diego.

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