Following Nokia‘s move to simplify its smartphone line, Qualcomm may be doing the same in trying to simplify the branding behind its various mobile Snapdragon processors to allow customers to easily discern between a high-end and an entry-level smartphone with its chipset. The new branding convention will be S1, S2, S3, and S4 where S1 will represent the entry-level tier while S4 will represent the most powerful, multimedia-centric Snapdragon you can buy on the market.
The naming convention is a definite improvement over the current MSM8260 branding that’s on some chipsets where Qualcomm employees three letters followed by a four digit number. However, for the most basic of consumers, having 4 different lines of Snapdragon may prove to be just too confusing and would require Qualcomm and device makers to educate consumers for the new campaign to be successful.
Often times, device-makers advertise features of the phone–such as YouTube-ready, WiFi-enabled, Bluetooth-compatible, GPS on-board–rather than the individual specs of the phone. For consumers, specs are often meaningless until the phone doesn’t work as expected–video stutters, constant buffering, slow network connectivity, or GPS lags and delays. As such, an S1 or S3 chip may mean little to consumers in the immediate future. Moreover, with marketing hype being placed behind dual-core, quad-core, and other multi-core chipsets in the future, consumers would probably be drawn to the core-advantage rather than the lengthy description of what the Snapdragon categories entail.
I think a better branding convention would be Snapdragon Consumer, Multimedia, Pro, and Extreme where the names would give an indication of the purpose or application for the chipset itself. However, as it stands, the S1 will be geared at the mass market phones, the S2 will be for high-end phones nad tablets, like the Thunderbolt, and the S3 will be for performance products like the EVO 3D and Sensation from HTC. Currently, there are no S4 chipset, which is supposed to cover the 1.6 GHz and 2.5 GHz multi-core space.
The S-number naming is definitely a step in the appropriate direction, but may be too much for consumers to remember. Given that Intel had two chipsets in the past for its processors–the Pentium and Centrino–and later added the Atom, perhaps Qualcomm can have more memorable, relevant names.