I just came across a internal Qualcomm presentation (dated March 2011 from an Android event in Korean) detailing the company’s current SoC roadmap and comparing its Scorpion CPU architecture against its Cortex-A9 competitors. keep in mind that this document is obviously biased towards Qualcomm’s own products so take all the claims presented with a grain of salt but there are quite a few interesting pieces of information in there.
First lest start with the roadmap pictured above. As you can see the first chips based on the new Krait micro-architecture (MSM8930, MSM8960, APQ8064 and the unknown MSM8270) are only expected to appear/sample (?) at the end of this year. The initial press release sated that the first MSM8960 samples were expected in Q2 2011 but I4m guessing that things may a been delayed a bit (or the “availability” mentioned in today’s document is actually OEM availability). The MSM8X55 which was first launched in the HTC Desire HD is now been touted as having 1.4Ghz CPU (up from the 1Ghz clock currently used by most OEMs) and also now apparently supports Stereoscopic 3D play/rec (this is the first time I see this features mentioned on thee 8X55 so it may be only possible on the 1.4Ghz version). This 1.4Ghz clocked MSM8X55 will first appear in the Samsung Galaxy S Plus in Europe.
Qualcomm then compares the Scorpion CPU which is a heavily modified A8 versus the Cortex-A9 architecture:
The MSM8X55 clocked at 1.4GHZ vs and unnamed Dual-Core Cortex A9 @ 1Ghz running single-threaded applications:
The MSM8660 vs the MSM8X55 and an unnamed unnamed Dual-Core Cortex A9 @ 1Ghz running multi-threaded applications:
The Adreno 220 found in the MSM8x60 (video hands on here) vs other unnamed GPUs( once again take these results with a grain of salt):
Here are the specifications of the upcoming Krait based MSM8930/8960/8270 and APQ8064. It’s interesting to note that the future GPU isn’t labeled as Adreno 3XX so one has to wonder if it will be a new architecture or just 22X GPU’s setup in Dual/Quad configuration depending on the SoC model. This new GPU should also fully support the upcoming version of the OpenGL ES API codenamed Halti:
And finally Qualcomm’s next-gen performance prediction versus the upcoming Cortex-A15 SoC:
So what does this all mean to the end user? Well, not much for now especially when most of the applications and Os’ don’t even take full advantage of the current hardware on the market. Windows Phone 7, thanks to its super tight hardware integration, isn’t really in need of more powerful SoCs right now but we just learned a few days ago that the MSM8X55 was now certified for the platform so it will be interesting to see if an OEM decides to ship a WP7 handsets with the 1.4Ghz variant of the chipset just to differentiate itself from the competition. On the other hand you can probably expect Krait powered (Dual/Quad Core) Android devices (Phones and Tablets) hitting the market in Q2 2012. The latest Nokia rumor claimed that the Finnish company was looking at using this new line of SoC to power its flagship Windows Phone 7 handset next year but this will probably just wishful thinking at this stage. I’ve uploaded the document (pdf) here and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: