Trying to remember your girlfriend’s phone number is a task of numerical dexterity sufficiently difficult for most of us, so attempting to remember the letters and numbers associated with all the various chipsets out there seems utterly impossible.
So we welcome very much Qualcomm’s move to simplify the naming conventions for its mobile series of chipsets, Snapdragon. Until now, the almost ubiquitous Snapdragon chipsets had names like MSM8655, QSD8220, APQ8060 or MSM8930. Now if you could tell us the features of each of these chipsets without cheating then congratulations, but you probably need to get out a bit more.
Qualcomm’s solution to this problem is to group all its chipsets into tiers, or Systems as it likes to call them, named S1, S2, S3, S4. These tiers relate to the performance you will be getting inside your smartphone or tablet with the higher the number the better.
Snapdragon S1 corresponds to last generation single-core processors up to 1GHz seen in the likes of the HTC ChaCha. Moving up a tier and we get the dual-core processors up to 1.4GHz seen in high-end smartphones like the HTC Sensation. S3 chipsets are used for devices needing multi-tasking and advanced gaming, featuring up to 1.5GHz dual-core processors like the APQ8060 seen in the HP TouchPad.
The final tier, S4, is reserved for chipsets featuring 1.6GHz to 2.5GHz processors which have not even been seen yet and won’t appear in devices until some time next year. Qualcomm has also said that instead of moving chipsets down tiers as they become out of date, we’ll instead get to see extra tiers – and we're already looking forward to those S9 powerhouses.