The top Android chipset is getting a new name

Qualcomm renaming its Snapdragon chipset
(Image credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

When the Samsung Galaxy S22 debuts next year, it's likely to feature a Snapdragon system-on-chip from Qualcomm. But that chipset, which should also power many of the best Android phones slated for release in 2022, is going to feature a new name.

Qualcomm announced today (Nov. 22) that it's simplifying the name of its mobile chipsets. Gone are the three-digit numbers we've grown accustomed to — the Snapdragon 888 is the current top-of-the-line silicon from Qualcomm, for example. Instead, future Snapdragon silicon will feature a single-digit series and a generation number.

The name change will start with the Snapdragon 8 series of chips, presumably when the next chipset is introduced later this month at Qualcomm's annual Snapdragon summit.

Qualcomm's announcement confirms a rumor that had suggested a new naming convention was in the works for its chipsets. Earlier this month, leaker Ice Universe tweeted that the next frontline silicon from the chip maker would be called the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and not the Snapdragon 898, as had been widely assumed.

Whatever name Qualcomm ultimately uses, the new chipset is expected to power Samsung's next flagship phone, since new Qualcomm chips typically make their debut in whatever Galaxy S model Samsung introduces. However, another rumor suggests that Motorola and Xiaomi could unveil phones this year that are powered by the new silicon.

Leaked benchmarks for Samsung's next chip haven't pointed to big performance gains, though that's not likely to be an area of concern. For starters, Geekbench test results are only one indicator of speed and not necessarily the last word on performance. For another, the devices whose results have leaked may not have been fully optimized for performance.

In addition to announcing its new naming plans, Qualcomm said that Snapdragon will now be its own brand. In addition, because of 5G's ubiquity on Snapdragon chips, Qualcomm will no longer call it out. "Moving forward, with Snapdragon connected platforms, 5G will be a given," the company said in a statement.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.