Probably one of the biggest rumors leading up to the Windows Phone 8 announcement was some speculation that Qualcomm would lose its exclusive status as the sole SoC vendor for Windows Phone handsets. As a recap, WP7 and WP7.5 started out with QSD8x50 65nm Snapdragon, and later moved on to 45nm single core MSM8x55 and MSM7x30. 

Today, Microsoft announced that Qualcomm will be the sole provider of dual core SoCs for initial launch devices from hardware partners Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC. There's some wiggle room in there for what comes after that first phase, but for now Qualcomm still holds that exclusive spot. 

Update: Qualcomm stated in a note to us that the initial Windows Phone 8 devices will use a Snapdragon S4 Plus SoC. I asked for clarification about which specific SoC this is, and found out it is indeed MSM8960 inside - dual core krait with Adreno 225. 

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  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Meh, we said the same thing about 7.5. It's not a bad platform, but it's just not going anywhere.
  • UpSpin - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    also remember, this devices will get sold by the end of the year. By the end of the year, much better specs are available again, incompatible with WP8 (higher resolution displays, different SoCs which will be faster than the Qualcomm Krait ones, SoCs which are more power efficient (Big.Little), ...) By the end of the year the next Android version will be out, too, which might be a real competitor to Windows 8 at all.

    WP8 is as locked down as iOS. So people who are fine with that (bought an iPhone) are fine with WP8, too. Lots of people (not all) who want more, bought Android devices, and won't switch to a locked down OS like WP8, because there they'll miss tons of features they got used to in Android.
  • bplewis24 - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    LOL. So the platform that is still growing faster than the 2nd place platform is in a world of hurt, but the 2nd place platform with a business model and platform that more closely resembles WP isn't?

    You keep thinking that.
  • andrewaggb - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    I know it's all speculation... but I'll clarify my stance.

    I haven't been impressed by google/htc/samsung etc's support of android. I also don't think it's as easy to use as ios. I've got 2 android phones right now and upgraded from an android phone before that. I've liked the phones, but I've ended running custom roms on all of them because the manufacturers stopped providing updates within 6 months of purchase. That's on a 3yr contract for phones that cost as much as the iphone. That's an unforgivable fail in my books. Fool me once... fool me twice... My favorite feature of android phones is the google navigation.

    Apple is better about os updates. They update devices for at least a year or two (though sometimes they omit the new stuff just to be lame). They have more apps (and sometimes good ones), like ticket to ride and dominion (much better than androminion), and they have better battery life and the 'it's apple' thing going for them. The AppleTV + airplay combo is well done.

    That said I think iOS looks dated, I think their app store isn't great (the apps are good, but the store itself is meh), app updates are handled much better on android, ditching google maps is a short term mistake, etc. And itunes still kinda sucks. iCloud sounds cool but doesn't do a whole lot.

    WP7.5 was screwed because by the time the lumina's came out, single core, lower screen res, and no upgrade future killed most people's enthusiasm. I've used the n900 (it's nice) but I don't want another phone that's unsupported 6 months into a contract. That is BS.

    I'm not happy with any of the current mobile offerings. WP8 has potential. Dual core krait won't totally suck in a few months, 720p on a phone is still pretty decent, and the software + nokia drive has potential. Sure it might suck, but it's all speculation at this point anyways. And if WP8 sucks, well I'll probably get a galaxy s3 or whatever samsungs mainstream offering is (nice phone that's also likely to get support)
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    Dual core Krait - this sounds just what the doctor ordered! 2 fast cores are much better for most phone-related tasks than 4 slower cores.
  • DesktopMan - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    Agreed. They just need to upgrade their GPU, but I don't think that's far off. Too late for Windows Phone 8 though.
  • tipoo - Friday, June 22, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I'm actually excited, WP7.5 FELT fast on even an older gen single core because they optimized the OS around just one SoC, now they are doing that except with one of the fastest chips out there, so it should be good.
  • Godofmosquitos - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    As far as I know, there's a shortage of Qualcomm's Krait chips. ASUS can't get their Infinity Pad 3G out the door for this reason, etc. So let's hope Qualcomm are up for delivering a ton of chips, then ^^
  • Braumin - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    Just because they are the hardware partner for launch DOES NOT MEAN they are exclusive to WP8 in the future. In fact, the entire point behind moving to the NT kernel was to allow some more freedom.

    The obvious reason they are the hardware launch SoC is because they have the best SoC out there right now, and it includes things like LTE and WiFI in the SoC!

    Tegra 3 is in the Surface Tablet because it doesn't need LTE.

    This is the exact same reason why the Qualcomm is in every single other North American high end smartphone right now.

    HTC One X - NA version - Krait
    Samsung GSIII - NA version - Krait
    Windows Phone 8 - Krait

    Why is everyone reading more into this than the obvious answer?
  • a5cent - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    More freedom in hardware was definitely NOT the reason for moving to the NT kernel. Quite the opposite is actually. Microsoft views WP as a standardized platform, meaning hardware, software and the app ecosystem.

    WP7 hardware specs have not remained exactly the same over the years, but all of those changes were hidden (to a very large degree) from developers, meaning hardware and software fragmentation was avoided. Microsoft plans to stick with this model. It will not be enforced as strictly as with consoles (which are based on the same model), but hardware variability will be restricted to a minimum. OEM's are free to innovate in the areas of peripheral hardware (cameras, display types, enclosures, radios, etc), but the core hardware (CPU & GPU) will remain largely the same until we reach WP9 - just as it has with WP7.

    The main reason for moving to the NT kernel is enabling/simplifying software portability (full and complete W8 .NET run time, native apps, Microsoft security products like bit locker etc). Hardware variability/flexibility (also known as fragmentation) is not part of the plan.

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