Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are its most notable products, but the company wants you to know that it does other stuff, too. The solution? “Snapdragon” branding will no longer be used to refer to processors. It will instead refer to the entire hardware and software platform that ships in a phone with a Snapdragon SoC in it.
Here’s the explanation about the thought process behind the “new naming structure:”
For decades, the semiconductor industry has used the term “processor” to mean the component that powers the most advanced devices. It’s a word that Qualcomm Technologies has embraced over the years with our Snapdragon brand, or as we say—our Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. But the word is an inadequate representation of what the technology actually is, and the solutions that tens of thousands of Qualcomm Technologies innovators have worked on.
In truth, Snapdragon is more than a single component, a piece of silicon, or what many would misinterpret as the CPU; it’s an anthology of technology, comprising hardware, software, and services that are not fully captured in a word like “processor.” That is why Qualcomm Technologies is refining our terminology by referring to Snapdragon as a “platform” instead of a processor.
This is a more extreme version of something Qualcomm started doing in early 2015, when it got rid of its “Gobi” modem branding in favor of using “Snapdragon.” Now, the Snapdragon name also encompasses features like Qualcomm’s RF front-ends, Quick Charge, its digital-to-analog audio converters, Wi-Fi products, touchscreen controllers, and fingerprint readers, as well as the software and drivers used to make all of this stuff work.
branding is also being repositioned to refer only to premium processors platforms. The Snapdragon 200-series processors, already relatively rare and used only in very low-end phones, will now be called “Qualcomm Mobile” instead of “Snapdragon.” The midrange Snapdragon 400 and 600 tiers and the high-end Snapdragon 800 tier aren't singled out, so they'll presumably stay the same.
The rebranding effort makes a certain amount of technical sense, insofar as most “processors” today already contain memory controllers, and modems, and chipsets, and things that extend far beyond the CPU and GPU. But don’t expect the rebranding to make much of a difference to consumers; even assuming that the “Snapdragon” name in marketing materials influences their buying decisions, a phone with a Snapdragon processor today already carries that branding and already includes most of Qualcomm’s other stuff. The rebranding might make Qualcomm’s suite of technology easier to sell to the OEMs who actually buy the hardware and software from Qualcomm, but it also doesn't really change the kinds of features Qualcomm would already be offering alongside Snapdragon chips.
In any case, Snapdragon processors are dead; long live the Snapdragon platform.