Yesterday, Qualcomm announced a new SoC for its Snapdragon S4 Play category, the MSM8x26, and alongside it a new transceiver, WTR2605. The announcement was a little light on detail and I waited until confirmation of a few details, but now know more about these two new parts geared at the growing entry-level Chinese handset market.

First off, MSM8x26 is a 28nm SoC consisting of four ARM Cortex A7 CPUs running at (1.2 GHz) alongside an Adreno 305 GPU. This is to my knowledge the first Qualcomm SoC using a Cortex A7 for CPU, previously we've seen a lot of Cortex A5 use at Qualcomm in parts like MSM8x25 (dual A5s), MSM8x25Q (quad A5s), and also onboard baseband as an optional AP for managing things like a router. MSM8x26 is the spiritual successor to MSM8x25Q, which was again quad core ARM Cortex A5s at 45nm with Adreno 203 graphics. MSM8x26 should bring a nice jump in performance on both CPU and GPU over that part, in addition to supporting 1080p video encode and decode, and support for 13 MP cameras. MSM8x26 will come in two flavors, 8226 with UMTS and TD-SCDMA, and 8626 with UMTS, CDMA, and TD-SDCMA, consistent with Qualcomm's part numbering scheme. 

The other part of the story is the new transceiver, WTR2605, whose name suggests a wafer-level package (W for wafer) and includes necessary improvements to accommodate dual SIM active and standby modes (DS-DS operation) popular in the entry level Chinese market MSM8x26 is geared at. I don't know anything further about the WTR2605 or how it compares in terms of RF ports to WTR1605L, which is Qualcomm's current flagship transceiver, but suspect it's an evolution of that design with changes to accommodate the dual SIM modes. We'll have a piece ready later in the week about WTR1605 and the state of Qualcomm's modem portfolio.

Source: Qualcomm

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  • CaptainDoug - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - link

    This should make for amazing battery life. As a quad core it should also have a decent amount of power and the Adreno 305 is no slouch either. All of these parts aren't exactly high end as far as performance but they should be enough to run most anything well all while sipping the battery. sign me up.
  • Silenux - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - link

    The only problem I see is that OEM will pack this with small batteries and it will still give a short battery life.
    Hopefully they put this on 2100 battery minimum.
  • amdwilliam1985 - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I can totally see cheap OEM going with small batteries.

    Starting 2013, we should see 2000mah+ and up, hoping to see more 3000mah+ devices.

    If Motorola can do it with their Maxx, then I'm sure Samsung and HTC can do it too :)
  • lmcd - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    I'm pretty sure the battery in the SIII is > 2000mah, which is why I make a whole day on it with heavy usage patterns.
  • Roland00Address - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - link

    How small is this chip for a7 are a big step down from Krait?

    Yes there are limitations about using DMips/Mhz per core but if I remember

    a7 are about 1.9 DMIPS / MHz per core
    krait are about 3.3 DMIPS / MHz per core (aka about 73% higher)
    a15 are about 3.5 DMIPS / MHz per core (aka about 84% higher)
  • tuxRoller - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    Those krait numbers are bogus.
    Tom's ran linpack and found krait to be around 2.7 dmips/mhz
    Also the s4 pro has a poorer memory interface than the dual core s4.
  • tuxRoller - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    Make that 2.5 dmips/mhz on dhrystone.
  • ET - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    A7 is a replacement for A8 that's smaller, more power efficient and support multi-core and some newer technologies. It's not meant to compete with the top of the line ARM CPU's, but I think it's pretty exciting as a low end core.
  • amdwilliam1985 - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    Yep, this will help bringing up the bottom line of the low and mid spec phones.
  • Wolfpup - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    Ooooh okay it's a revised A8? I was thinking it was a revised A9 for some reason. Wasn't one of the ideas for it to be paired with multiple A15s to run stuff when it doesn't need that much performance? Sort of what Nvidia did with a lower speed A9 in Tegra 3?

    Hmm....if it's basically an A8, I guess I don't understand the point of doing a quad, when you can do 2-4 wouldn't 2 or 3 A9s give about the same performance?

    And I REALLY don't understand the point of a quad A5. The A5 is basically an ARM 11, almost a 486, just with instruction support for ARM v7 while ARM 11 is v6?

    Seems like it makes more sense to just do 1-2 A9s instead of 4 A5s?

    I don't really get it...maybe A9 is proportionally larger than the performance it gives you or something, but anyway it's kind of fun that these weird parts exist!

    Those Qualcom designs really throw me off, because I never know if they're talking about their core that's basically an A8, or the one that's basically an A9.

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