Most of the phones we know and love run on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors of some sort, and have for many years. But in the time since Snapdragon processors became popular, a lot has changed, and these "processors" aren't just CPUs — as much as we're all guilty of simply calling them that.
For that reason, Qualcomm is going to begin changing its branding and messaging in relation to Snapdragon processors to now call them the "Qualcomm Snapdragon platform" instead. It is indeed a subtle change in naming, but it helps Qualcomm explain that there's more than just a "processor" in there — yup, these are complete system-on-a-chips (SoC, as you may have seen used) that include a cellular modem, GPU, DSP and more.
The announcement sums it up nicely:
With the Snapdragon mobile platform we can now articulate the value that we provide to a device manufacturer — from developing algorithms for great pictures and videos, to making sure that the battery is long lasting. More importantly, the word "platform" will be used to explain the combined key user experiences — camera, connectivity, battery life, security, immersion — that these essential technologies are designed to deliver.
What this signals is Qualcomm's movement into selling its processors (yes, that's going to stick for a while) to more than just phone makers — there's growth in automotive, IoT products and laptops. With a more broad branding approach, Qualcomm hopes that it'll be easier to sell the benefits of the Snapdragon name.
Snapdragon is going to stay premium, and go beyond just phones and tablets.
As part of this change to pushing Snapdragon to mean more than just "mobile phone processor" in the high end, Qualcomm is also removing the Snapdragon name altogether from its low-end chips. What currently lands in the Snapdragon 200 range will simply be called "Qualcomm Mobile" instead.
The change in branding here is mostly just for Qualcomm to differentiate to companies it's selling to that there's far more these "platforms" can do. But over time it means you're likely to see the Snapdragon name in more places than just your phone.