Microsoft certifying Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC for Windows Phone 8

Let’s not act surprised here folks. It was no secret that Qualcomm would still be the preferred SoC provider for Windows Phone 8 so the latest rumors that Microsoft is currently testing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 aka the MSM8960 SoC for a future Windows Phone 8 Apollo handset isn’t the least surprising. The MSM8960 is the Dual-Core Krait beast featuring the Adreno 225 GPU which will be shipping in the LTE version of the HTC One X Android handset and from the looks of it Microsoft my have rightfully decided to skip the S3 generation in favor of the S4 for WP8 in part because the later has built-in LTE radios and because this particular SoC will also be Qualcomm’s first Windows 8 certified platform (even though the Windows 8 version may be the Snapdragon S4 Pro with the Adreno 320 GPU).

Now this may sound worrying to current Windows Phone owners who have only Snapdragon S1 ans S2 powered devices but as far as we know those handset shouldn’t have any problem running Windows Phone 8 later this year.

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HTC Titan II LTE Windows Phone announced

I guess that this one came out of nowhere… HTC has just unveiled the HTC Titan II which is the first LTE Windows Phone to be officially announced today. Steve Ballmer and Stephen Elop have also hinted a more LTE device announcement coming shortly (mainly the Lumia 900). So what is exactly the HTC Titan II and how does it compare to the regular Titan ? Well not much has changed besides the MDM9200 LTE multi-modem which sit next to the same APQ8055 clocked at 1.5Ghz. The 8MPix F2.2 camera has also been swapped with a 16Mpix F2.6. sensor (greatly exceeding the 12Mpix limitation of the MSM8255 so HTC alongside Qualcomm must have done so driver changes there. But it’s a downgrade in terms or Apreture) and a non-removable 1730Mha battery. The HTC Titan 2 is only headed to AT&T in the coming months. Check out the full press release after the break

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Traces of LTE Nokia Lumia 800 found in diagnostic tools

Rumors of an AT&T bound LTE version of the Nokia Lumia 800 have been making the rounds lately even though the latest FCC filling was only for the “regular” US 3G version of the device (RM-819). Hidden menus found in the Nokia Diagnostic Tools finally confirm that Nokia and AT&T may be currently testing an LTE version of the handset. As you can see in the screenshot below LTE Bands 4 and 17 are supported and those are the ones owned by AT&T in the US.

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AT&T getting ready to sell a Nokia Windows Phone early next year

According to Glenn Lurie, head of Dallas-based AT&T’s tablets unit, the company is close to finalize a deal with Nokia to start selling a Windows Phone handset from the Finnish manufacturer next year.

We look at every promotional period separately and decide what we’re going to spend our dollars on and what we’re going to put our efforts in,[...]“But nothing to announce there on that yet.

This piece of information can also be taken as a confirmation of the recently rumored LTE version of the Nokia Lumia 800 that we heard of earlier this week.

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Nokia Lumia 800 LTE coming to AT&T next year and Nokia Champagne

You simply can’t stop the rumors and today’s headliner is about an LTE version of the Nokia Lumia 800 that AT&T is supposedly going to offer next year. Besides that nothing else is know at all. It is speculated that it will be running Windows Phone 7 Tango because the current OS version, according to “highly educated bloggers”, doesn’t support LTE even tough baseband support has for the most part nothing to do with the OS and is primarily a Radio/Driver thing (also remember that the OS base band support was fully described on the company’s own site for a few hours more than a year ago before it was taken down, LTE was apparently already in there).

Anyway it is highly probable that all Windows Phone handset launching in early 202 will be running Tango which is, from what we currently know, a relatively small update adding universal search to the OS and language support to some countries. A Nokia Champagne handset running 7.10.8711 has been spotted by the I’m a WP7 app last month. No info on what this device may be though. Back to the rumored LTE Nokia Lumia 800: the only way for it to be LTE compatible is by adding a MDM9600 multi-modem radio in addition to the MSM8655 SoC powering the device (just like the HTC Thunderbolt). Now where’s my salt ?

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Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Krait based SoC details unveiled

Those of you following closely the SoC market will be happy to learn that Qualcomm has finally unveiled technical details of its much anticipated SnapDragon S4 Krait based SoC yesterday in a relatively in-depth white paper that everyone can download. Krait based SoC are in track to hit the market in the first half of 2012 with the first MSM8960 dual 1.5Ghz core SoC later followed by the MSM8930, MSM8228 and MSM8974. I posted the full specifications back in July here but Qualcomm’s legal department laid the ban hammer on me and asked me to take down the full pdf. Anyway, here’s what you can expect from the first  28nm mobile SoC (using TSMC’s 28nm LP process) to hit the market which will also so be Windows 8 compliant thanks to it’s DirectX 9.3 support:

• Dual 1.5-1.7 GHz Krait/ L2 1MB
• 2x500MHz LPDDR2
• LTE FDD/TDD cat3(8960); DC-HSPA(8270) 21HSPA+(8260A) TD-SCDMA (8960, 8260A)
• 1080p HD Video@30fps; 3D 20Mpix
• Adreno 225 3D/2D 125M tri./sec (DX9.3)

The Krait CPU architecture is Qualcomm’s own variant of the AMR Cortex A8 but so heavily tweaked and changed that it can’t really be comparable to other competing Cortex A9 or future A15 CPUs. In terms of raw performances it’s will most probably be competitive with the A9 chipsets (if not better) but may lag a bit behind the upcoming higher clocked Cortex A15 SoCs which will come out in late 2012. Krait’s powers efficiency will probably help it in this case but this has yet to be seen. The big advantage that Qualcomm has is its time to market compared to all the new generation chipsets for its competitors which for the most part will all be using bigger processes (40nm or 35nm, only the the TI OMAP will be on 28nm). Because of this, we may have another QSD8250 situation next year where most of the Android handsets will be based on this chipset simply because it will be out at the right time (more than 6 months ahead of its most direct competition).

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Qualcomm simplifies Snapdragon branding

Qualcomm decided to simply it’s Snapdragon SoC naming convention today and make it easier for the average Joe to distinguish one SoC from another. Here’s how it will now look like:

- Snapdragon System 1 aka S1 Class: QSD8250 (65nm 1Ghz Scorpion CPU + Adreno 200 GPU) and the new MSM7227, MSM7627,MSM7225, MSM7625
- Snapdragon System 2 aka S2 Class: MSM7X30, MSM8X55, APQ8055 (45nm 800Mhz-1.4Ghz Scorpion CPU Adreno 205 GPU)
- Snapdragon System 3 aka S3 Class: APQ8060, MSM8260, MSM8660, QSD8672 (45nm up to 1.5GHE Dual-Core Scorpion CPU Adreno 220 GPU)
- Snapdragon System 4 aka S3 Class: All the upcoming Krait based SoC configurations MSM8228, MSM8930, MSM8960, MSM8974, APQ8064 ( 28nm up to 2.5Ghz Dual and Quad Scorpion CPU + Adreno 305, Adreno 320 GPU)

So nothing really ground breaking here and I personally prefer to refer to an Soc by its really name rather that something relatively vague like S3 Class.

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New Qualcomm 2011 / 2012 roadmap and SoC specifications: MSM8960, MSM8930, MSM8974 and Adreno 320

Remember the old Qualcomm 2011/2012 roadmap I posted about a couple of weeks ago? Well, here’s a new more up-to-date one that just appeared on the net. The internal PDF document is principally about the company’s LTE chipsets and technology but there’s also so new info about the upcoming Krait based 28nm dual-core SoCs that will start shipping in less that 6 months.

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HTC Thunderbolt to have simultaneous voice and data over 3G

As previously rumored, the HTC Thunderbolt will apparently support simultaneous voice and data over 3G thanks to it’s MDM9600 multi-modem radio. Nothing is 100% official yet but according to the picture above the feature is going to be fully supported or advertised by Verizon and is more of a proof of concept for now.

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The HTC Thunderbolt won’t have a Dual core MSM8960 Chipset

Some funky HTC Thunderbolt specifications have just pooed up on a German HTC fansite claiming tat the device will pack the newly announced MSM8960 dual-core chipset from Qualcomm. This is practically impossible given that according to Qualcomm this new 28nm chipset, which is a brand new architecture with an Adreno 220 GPU (or Adreno 300 if we are lucky), is only scheduled to start sampling in early 2011 which means that it won’t available in devices before the end of 2011 at the earliest. The device will most probably feature an MSM8x55 coupled with MDM9600 LTE multimode modem..well unless Verizon isn’t planning to ship it until next fall…

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