Qualcomm Snapdragon brand changing to reflect its 'platform' capabilities

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.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Change is hard though. I still refer to a motherboards UEFI as a BIOS... In my defence it doesn't roll off the tongue the same as an acronym.
  • Call it "you-fee" for UEFI. ;)
  • And this matters at all?
  • To somebody at Qualcomm, it does. They probably spent many months, and millions of dollars, in this marketing plan. Qualcomm says to the world, "you keep using this word. I don't think it means what you think it means." To the average OEM, or even to a consumer, I doubt it makes much of a difference. Intel sells processors, but they are "platforms" as well, seeing as that they've included numeric co-processors for decades, and most contain embedded graphics. That's already beyond how Qualcomm defines "processor."
  • This strikes me as pretty much meaningless in the real world. Phone buyers (except for those of us who hang out on forums like this one) don't know, and don't care, what brand of SoC is in their phone. And OEMs, who are Qualcomm's real customers, aren't likely to make their SoC choices based on catchy naming. But someone at Qualcomm has to earn their salary, so this is the result.