Qualcomm goes one better with the Snapdragon 821

US mobile chip giant Qualcomm has unveiled its latest flagship smartphone SoC – the Snapdragon 821 – which promises to be a bit better than the popular 820.

As the model number implies this looks like more of a tweak than a major redesign, which is fair enough since Qualcomm will be disinclined to stray too far from the 820, especially considering some of the missteps it made prior to getting it right.

The Snapdragon 821 features a quad-core Kryo CPU that clocks up to 2.4 GHz to deliver a promised 10% performance improvement over the 820. But Qualcomm says it’s not designed to replace the 820, rather to ‘complement and extend the competitive strengths of our Snapdragon 800 lineup.’

In his blog announcing the 821 Qualcomm Marketing Director doesn’t go into much detail on precisely how, apart from numerically, the 821 extends the lineup, preferring instead to reflect on the strong platform created for it by the 820.

“Building on the technology leadership introduced with the Snapdragon 820 platform, the 821 is engineered to deliver faster speed, improved power savings, and greater application performance, ensuring 821 powered devices keep pace with the growing performance demands of users to deliver the unmatched user experiences the Snapdragon 800 tier is known for,” blogged Shed.

In Shed’s defence it’s always tricky marketing a new product when you still have so much invested in its predecessor. You need to strike a balance between promoting the new one without making the old one sound obsolete. At the very least Qualcomm appears to be saying ‘this is one better’ and hoping that will land it some extra design wins later this year.

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