Qualcomm is updating its Snapdragon branding to try and simplify its chip names

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Qualcomm has announced some key changes to how it brands its Snapdragon chips, including a shift away from the three-digit numbering system it’s been using to differentiate between its products for years. The news comes ahead of the company’s expected next-gen flagship chip debut at the Snapdragon Tech Summit on November 30th.

To start, Snapdragon will now exist as a standalone brand, separate from the “Qualcomm” brand (which won’t be showing up as much on its chips). It’s a direction the company has started moving in earlier this year (the Snapdragon 888 Plus badge, for example, notably lacked the word “Qualcomm”), but today’s news solidifies that plan going forward.

The already “Qualcomm”-less Snapdragon 888 Plus icon
Image: Qualcomm

But the biggest change might be in how the company handles actually naming its semiconductor products. For years, Qualcomm has labeled its chips with three-digit names, like the Snapdragon 480, Snapdragon 765, or Snapdragon 888. The first number broadly informed customers how powerful the chip was (with the 8-series chips serving as flagships, while 4-series models were for entry-level products). The second number typically indicated annual generational releases (going from a Snapdragon 865 to an 875), while changes in the third number generally showed more minor updates (like the Snapdragon 765G to the Snapdragon 768G).

The problem, though, is that in addition to being slightly jargony and confusing to keep track of, Qualcomm is also simply running out of numbers in its naming scheme. The 8-series lineup hit Snapdragon 888 last year, the 7-series is already at Snapdragon 780, and the 6-series is already on the brink with the Snapdragon 695.

Going forward, though, Qualcomm says that it’ll be shifting to “a single-digit series and generation number, aligning with other product categories,” starting with the upcoming announcement of its next 8-series flagship (which had previously been expected to be called the Snapdragon 898, based on Qualcomm’s old pattern). Qualcomm already uses a generational naming scheme for its Snapdragon PC processors, like the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 or the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2, too, so the change isn’t coming out of nowhere.

Unfortunately, Qualcomm isn’t actually saying what that new branding scheme will be, although that announcement is expected to come at the Snapdragon Tech Summit next week. Instead, the company has published a vague hype reel that features the number eight a lot to tease out the new, top-secret naming scheme.

In addition to the as-yet-unrevealed naming scheme, Qualcomm also announced a few other details about its Snapdragon branding plan. Going forward, the company plans to emphasize the use of gold to indicate top-tier flagship products. It’s going to stop explicitly calling out 5G on chips, noting that “5G has become ubiquitous” across its product lineup and will be “a given.”

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