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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Ok. First off, I understand that most everybody on AC has an S3, a One X/S, or some other brand new device. I may be using what's considered "old" hardware and so my question may have limited appeal and that's fine. Not everybody on AC has the same interests.

    My question is this: am I the only one who finds Qualcomm's naming system a little disturbing, or, dare I say, deceptive? This question started out from wanting to know more about the exact hardware that's distributed in all the millions of Android devices out there. For someone who considers themselves a "lay" person, as myself, not active in the industry itself, it's already complicated enough, what with ARM being an intellectual property company and all. So they're licensing their technology to at least 10 different companies, all of whom have multiple generations and iterations. You thought Intel's lineup was confusing?

    So that brings me to the issue of Qualcomm. Like I said, I'm on somewhat dated Android hardware. My current phone is the Sprint Optimus S. I wanted to research and compare hardware specs, to know exactly what I was paying for when I upgraded. That's how I learned about Snapdragon.

    For people who may not know, Snapdragon is just the name for Qualcomm's SoCs. And that's about where the straightforward stuff ends - as I'm seeing it now. When I was looking at the specs listed on numerous websites for the S, it read "Snapdragon S1 800 mHz processor." Looking at the Evo 4G, I see it's listed as "Snapdragon S1 1000 mHz processor."

    Taking those two specs at face value, wouldn't it be reasonable for a layman to assume that if they overclocked the CPU on their Optimus S by 200 +/- mHz on their phone, then they would essentially have the same processing power as the Evo 4G, without paying for an upgrade? Right?

    WRONG! Here's where the idea of Qualcomm's naming convention comes into play as being a little "disturbing." Again, like I say, I'm not a journalist in the industry. I am not abreast of all the latest developments, and I may not have ALL the facts. But dang it, for a person who uses websites like Phonearena, Phonedog, and GSMArena, it IS disturbing.

    Qualcomm uses this umbrella term "Snapdragon" to describe it's SoCs. But then the actual processing cores are all different. For example, the Snapdragon S1 has a SoC with an Arm11 core, a Cortex A5 core, and a modified Cortex A9. And wouldn't you know, there are two different ARM architectures as well, v6 and v7?

    I'm not a computer scientist so I have no idea how different the architectures are in theory. They could be quite the same. I'm just saying, to me, it's very confusing and disturbing to have one SoC name, and use multiple and different processors in the same category. Why Qualcomm does that, I have no idea. But it's pretty lousy, if you ask me.

    /rant

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    Last edited by droidmyme; 02-09-2013 at 03:58 PM.
  2. #2  
    Ry
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    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Could you look into on how TI handles their OMAP versions or how nVidia handles their Tegra line?

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  3. Thread Author  Thread Author    #3  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by Ry View Post
    Could you look into on how TI handles their OMAP versions or how nVidia handles their Tegra line?

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Android Central Forums
    Lol... I've got my plate full already, thank you

    The fault of this confusion isn't entirely on the manufacturors. It's also on the websites that do the phone spec data. They don't list the exact chip models, eg MSM7627, MSM7227, etc, probably because they are trying to simplify the information as much as possible, too.

    The problem is, if you are a consumer looking at these websites, you are getting bad information, false information even. So where does the buck stop - on the manufacturers, the info sites, the consumers? I don't know. Hard to say. But I can tell you, it's been very disappointing, for me at least.
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  4. #4  
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    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Most people don't want to dig that deep you are a minority. Wiki is your friend in this case bud

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  5. Thread Author  Thread Author    #5  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by nrm5110 View Post
    Most people don't want to dig that deep you are a minority. Wiki is your friend in this case bud

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I727 using Tapatalk 2
    Yeah, I know. One man crusade, right?

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  6. #6  
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    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by droidmyme View Post
    Yeah, I know. One man crusade, right?

    Sent from my LS670 using Android Central Forums
    Often if you want info about a particular soc there is a wiki that has the info you need

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  7. #7  
    Kevin O'Quinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    S1, S2, S3, S4, Pro, Play, etc. Yes, it's somewhat confusing. Ok, A LOT confusing. :P

    The bigger the number, the better the chip, with Pro being better than Play. Where they really messed up is when the introduced Play. It diluted the fact that the S4 was their best chip. Now you have the Play and Pro version, with the Play version having a much slower GPU. They are kind of a mess. Then you have the GSM vs CDMA version, which really throws things off. Most of the differences are honestly due to the baseband chip that's included.

    nVidia is at least a little easier. Tegra, Tegra 2, Tegra 3, Tegra 4. TL "insert number" is a little confusing, but at least you know the bigger number is the faster chip.

    Samsung is kinda the same way. Exynos 44xx, 5xxx, isn't terrible. 4 is Exynos 4, which is the ARM Cortex A9, 5 is ARM Cortex A15, the number after that is number of cores, but after that I'm not sure, maybe clockspeed?

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  8. Thread Author  Thread Author    #8  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Yeah, now that I'm looking at the Wikipedia website, I can see how there is some rhyme and reason. I emphasize *some* because if you look at Snapdragon S1 and S4, it really is a mucky, just an awful mess imo. At least from S2 on, at least you can say well, all these cpus are ARM v7, right? The thing that really p***es me off, and sorry for my language, is that being the Optimus S luddite I am, I'm using a device that's called "Snapdragon S1," but the CPU is ARM v6.

    Now how do you call two CPUs with different architectures Snapdragon S1? To me, that's plain stupid. I know I'm whining and moaning, maybe, as it's just the addition of a FPU and NEON in v7 and in real world use it probably barely makes a difference. But it's also the die shrink at the same time, ARM 11 is 65nm, Cortex is 45 NM, how do you get off calling them both the same thing?!

    I'm not going to get too bent out of shape, though, because like YOU said, and like I said, from S2 on, it's all V7, so maybe the S1 naming was just teething problems. Fine, let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

    But yeah, in terms of "Play," and "Pro," that's just kind of clumsy, isn't it? If you are giving out awards, not on bencmarks, but just naming alone (lol right?), I'm going to say Nvidia or Samsung wins, obviously, because they have the simplest. With Texas Instruments, and Qualcomm, with their baseband SoCs, God help us.

    But yes, they could definitely do the "Play/Pro" much better to represent on the GPU more.

    /rant #2

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  9. #9  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by droidmyme View Post
    Yeah, now that I'm looking at the Wikipedia website, I can see how there is some rhyme and reason. I emphasize *some* because if you look at Snapdragon S1 and S4, it really is a mucky, just an awful mess imo. At least from S2 on, at least you can say well, all these cpus are ARM v7, right? The thing that really p***es me off, and sorry for my language, is that being the Optimus S luddite I am, I'm using a device that's called "Snapdragon S1," but the CPU is ARM v6.

    Now how do you call two CPUs with different architectures Snapdragon S1? To me, that's plain stupid. I know I'm whining and moaning, maybe, as it's just the addition of a FPU and NEON in v7 and in real world use it probably barely makes a difference. But it's also the die shrink at the same time, ARM 11 is 65nm, Cortex is 45 NM, how do you get off calling them both the same thing?!

    I'm not going to get too bent out of shape, though, because like YOU said, and like I said, from S2 on, it's all V7, so maybe the S1 naming was just teething problems. Fine, let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

    But yeah, in terms of "Play," and "Pro," that's just kind of clumsy, isn't it? If you are giving out awards, not on bencmarks, but just naming alone (lol right?), I'm going to say Nvidia or Samsung wins, obviously, because they have the simplest. With Texas Instruments, and Qualcomm, with their baseband SoCs, God help us.

    But yes, they could definitely do the "Play/Pro" much better to represent on the GPU more.

    /rant #2

    Sent from my LS670 using Android Central Forums
    I think you may be making it more complicated than it actually is. The S naming scheme references the generation of processor (and expected performance) and nothing more. All of qualcomm's legacy processors are S1s. All S2s use Scorpion cores built on the 45nm process, but are all arm v7. The S3s are the odd ones out, because they added in multi core support and newer GPUs, but not much else. They were the stepping stone to the S4. The S4s were a full changeover to Krait, as well as a die shrink, but they also include new cost-effective chips that use ARM'S MPCORE design.

    The play/pro/plus specifically references features of the chips, like the GPU, as well as the cores being used. Play is for cost-conscious devices, plus is for devices that don't need a top of the line GPU, and pro includes everything and the kitchen sink.

    As for Samsung and NVidia; considering that Qualcomm is eating both of them alive in the SoC market, I'd say the market doesn't really care about the naming scheme.

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  10. #10  
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    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by JHBThree View Post
    I think you may be making it more complicated than it actually is. The S naming scheme references the generation of processor (and expected performance) and nothing more. All of qualcomm's legacy processors are S1s. All S2s use Scorpion cores built on the 45nm process, but are all arm v7. The S3s are the odd ones out, because they added in multi core support and newer GPUs, but not much else. They were the stepping stone to the S4. The S4s were a full changeover to Krait, as well as a die shrink, but they also include new cost-effective chips that use ARM'S MPCORE design.

    The play/pro/plus specifically references features of the chips, like the GPU, as well as the cores being used. Play is for cost-conscious devices, plus is for devices that don't need a top of the line GPU, and pro includes everything and the kitchen sink.

    As for Samsung and NVidia; considering that Qualcomm is eating both of them alive in the SoC market, I'd say the market doesn't really care about the naming scheme.

    Sent from my HTC6435LVW using Tapatalk 2
    The S4 line is the most confusing and ridiculous actually. Play, Plus, and Pro, with various processes, GPU's, baseband's, and architectures. And nobody said the market cared, but we do.

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  11. #11  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin O'Quinn View Post
    The S4 line is the most confusing and ridiculous actually. Play, Plus, and Pro, with various processes, GPU's, baseband's, and architectures. And nobody said the market cared, but we do.

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    IMO it makes more sense than the new 600/800 nonsense.

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  12. #12  
    Kevin O'Quinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by JHBThree View Post
    IMO it makes more sense than the new 600/800 nonsense.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 2
    Just add it to the confusion of the S4 line.

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  13. Thread Author  Thread Author    #13  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Yeah I can't argue with anyone here really. I understand the naming scheme references the generations, and that makes sense. I just posted my OP to make one very specific point, and that was: if you are searching a phone's specs, and it says "Snapdragon S1 processor, xxx speed," or "Snapdragon S4 processor, xxx speed," watch out. If you assume ALL S4 and S1 processors, are the same, you're making a big mistake. That's why I'm angry, not so much at Qualcomm I guess, it's more at the websites that do a shoddy job reporting specs. Although, like Kevin O'Reilly mentions, the Pro and Play denominations are further confusing.

    Tried to make that clear in the 1st post, my complaint is about something very specific and eccentric perhaps. Probably did a bad job. Lol

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  14. #14  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by droidmyme View Post
    Yeah I can't argue with anyone here really. I understand the naming scheme references the generations, and that makes sense. I just posted my OP to make one very specific point, and that was: if you are searching a phone's specs, and it says "Snapdragon S1 processor, xxx speed," or "Snapdragon S4 processor, xxx speed," watch out. If you assume ALL S4 and S1 processors, are the same, you're making a big mistake. That's why I'm angry, not so much at Qualcomm I guess, it's more at the websites that do a shoddy job reporting specs. Although, like Kevin O'Reilly mentions, the Pro and Play denominations are further confusing.

    Tried to make that clear in the 1st post, my complaint is about something very specific and eccentric perhaps. Probably did a bad job. Lol

    Sent from my LS670 using Android Central Forums
    Ahhh that makes it a lot more clear. I understand that completely. Especially with the older ones, its damn near impossible to know which one you have unless the manufacturer tells you. Heck, even some manufacturers don't bother with Qualcomm's naming scheme, but identify the processor by its part name, like the APQ8064, for the DNA and Nexus 4.
  15. Thread Author  Thread Author    #15  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by JHBThree View Post
    Ahhh that makes it a lot more clear. I understand that completely. Especially with the older ones, its damn near impossible to know which one you have unless the manufacturer tells you. Heck, even some manufacturers don't bother with Qualcomm's naming scheme, but identify the processor by its part name, like the APQ8064, for the DNA and Nexus 4.
    Lol exactly! That's what I'm upset about, it's easy to make a mistake about exactly what hardware setup you may have - and looking at a specification sheet can be deceptive.

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  16. #16  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    That's why I use Tegra 3 and they tell you the clock speeds.

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  17. #17  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by srmojuze View Post
    That's why I use Tegra 3 and they tell you the clock speeds.

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    Tegra is not a good example. There are several different variants of tegra 3, and they're not all equal.

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  18. Thread Author  Thread Author    #18  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by JHBThree View Post
    Tegra is not a good example. There are several different variants of tegra 3, and they're not all equal.

    Sent from my HTC6435LVW using Tapatalk 2
    All 3 model Tegra 3s share quad core Cortex A9s. Only the GPU varies, while CPU clock speed is bumped up in 200 mHz increments:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tegra

    Not nearly so egregious as Qualcomm.

    Optimus S HydroROM 1.1.1 (RIP)
  19. #19  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by droidmyme View Post
    All 3 model Tegra 3s share quad core Cortex A9s. Only the GPU varies, while CPU clock speed is bumped up in 200 mHz increments:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tegra

    Not nearly so egregious as Qualcomm.

    Optimus S HydroROM 1.1.1 (RIP)
    Still shares a lot of the same problems though. Users never know what they're getting.

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  20. Thread Author  Thread Author    #20  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by JHBThree View Post
    Still shares a lot of the same problems though. Users never know what they're getting.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 2
    Not sure what you mean exactly? I mentioned the Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 as being an example of poor naming because one name could be two different architectures and 3 different CPUs, while Tegra 3 shares the same architecture and CPU.

    Optimus S HydroROM 1.1.1 (RIP)
  21. #21  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by droidmyme View Post
    Not sure what you mean exactly? I mentioned the Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 as being an example of poor naming because one name could be two different architectures and 3 different CPUs, while Tegra 3 shares the same architecture and CPU.

    Optimus S HydroROM 1.1.1 (RIP)
    There are different packages of Tegra 3, which have different performance. Manufacturers do not make it clear which one you're getting when you buy a device.

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  22. #22  
    Kevin O'Quinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Quote Originally Posted by JHBThree View Post
    There are different packages of Tegra 3, which have different performance. Manufacturers do not make it clear which one you're getting when you buy a device.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 2
    But with any of them you are getting good performance. Look at the lowest tier T3 compared to the highest. Now do the same with Qualcomm. See the difference? Even within just the S4 tier the difference is significant and noticeable.

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  23. Thread Author  Thread Author    #23  

    Default Re: Some disturbing observations about Qualcomm

    Yeah, I see your point, you can say that these SoC manufacturers are not making enough effort to be 100% clear and transparent. If Tegra didn't tell me exactly what chipset was in the package I'd be upset. It's not like it's about the performance, because Tegra is pretty high across the board. It's about full disclosure.

    With smartphones and smart devices, the disclosure needs to be a little better.

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