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Qualcomm updates its Snapdragon brand to try to simplify its chip names


Qualcomm has announced some key changes to the way it brands its Snapdragon chips, including a move away from the three-digit numbering system it has used to differentiate its products for years. The news comes ahead of the expected debut of the company’s next-gen flagship chip at the Snapdragon Tech Summit on November 30.

For starters, Snapdragon will now exist as a standalone brand, separate from the “Qualcomm” brand (which won’t appear as much on its chips). It’s a direction the company started heading in earlier this year (the Snapdragon 888 Plus badge, for example, notably lacked the word “Qualcomm”), but today’s news reinforces that plan to the future.

The Snapdragon 888 Plus icon already “Qualcomm”
Image: Qualcomm

But the biggest change could be in the way the company actually manages the name of its semiconductor products. For years, Qualcomm labeled its chips with three-digit names, like the Snapdragon 480, Snapdragon 765, or Snapdragon 888. The first number largely informed customers about the power of the chip (with the 8-series chips serving as flagship products, while 4 -series models were intended for entry-level products). The second number typically showed annual generational releases (going from a Snapdragon 865 to an 875), while changes to the third number typically showed more minor updates (like the Snapdragon 765G to the Snapdragon 768G).

The problem, however, is that aside from being slightly jargon and confusing to follow, Qualcomm is also running out of numbers in its naming scheme. The Series 8 lineup reached the Snapdragon 888 last year, the Series 7 is already at the Snapdragon 780, and the Series 6 is already on the edge of the Snapdragon 695.

Going forward, however, Qualcomm says it will move to “a single-digit serial and generation number, aligned with other product categories,” starting with the upcoming announcement of its next flagship product. Series 8 (which was previously to be called Snapdragon 898, based on Qualcomm’s older model). Qualcomm already uses a generational naming scheme for its Snapdragon PC processors, like the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 or the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2, so the change didn’t come out of nowhere.

Unfortunately, Qualcomm is not actually saying what that new branding will be, though that announcement is expected at the Snapdragon Tech Summit next week. Instead, the company released a wave of hype that features number eight a lot to unveil the new top secret naming scheme.

In addition to the yet-to-be-revealed naming scheme, Qualcomm has also announced a few other details about its Snapdragon branding plan. In the future, the company plans to focus on the use of gold to indicate the top flagship products. It will stop explicitly calling 5G on chips, noting that “5G has become ubiquitous” in its product line and will be “a given.”

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