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Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor in BlackBerry Curve “Sedona” and Curve Touch? Dual Cores in Monaco and Montana???

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With RIM introducing totally new processors in the upcoming/rumored BlackBerry OS 6.1 devices I thought I would do some digging into them. The first thing I noticed off the bat is that the Qualcomm 1.2Ghz CPU’s specified for the Storm “Monaco” and Bold “Montana” are a bit of a mystery. As far as I can tell Qualcomm does not have a single core 1.2Ghz chip. They only have a dual core MSM8x60 1.2Ghz third generation chip. That makes me wonder if those BlackBerry devices will be packing dual cores… UPDATE: Barrist pointed out to me that the Qualcomm press release from January of this year says it is capable of 1.2Ghz even though their specifications sheet says 1Ghz… Very odd.

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On the other hand we have the BlackBerry Curve “Sedona” and newly leaked Curve Touch both supposedly sporting a Qualcomm MSM8655 800Mhz processor. That processor is actually a 2nd generation Snapdragon processor and is rated to run up to 1Ghz. It seems like RIM will be under-clocking it to 800Mhz like they have done in the past but still it is not capable of 1.2Ghz…

All in all both processors are HUGE upgrades for the BlackBerry platform and will answer 50% of the needs users have had with a nice speed boost. Hopefully RIM will follow it up with a one two punch including software the take advantage of the hardware. In OS 6.1 I am hoping to rarely see an hourglass and reboot should take less than 10 seconds.

Barrist pointed out that the MSM8655 chipset in the Sedona is the same chip as the HTC ThunderBolt which has it running at the full 1Ghz. As you can see on AndroidSpin the processor gets some impressive results in Quadrant.

Let me know if you spot anything else about these Snapdragon processors. You can read more about the Snapdragon generations on Qualcomm’s website at this link.

25 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. It’s also the same chipset that’s going in the upcoming Xperia Play (PSP Phone). Should have some impressive gaming potential.

    http://androidandme.com/2011/01/phones/sony-ericsson-xperia-play-playstation-phone-gets-lengthy-hands-on-preview/

  2. You failed to ask an important question. RIM has said the QNX OS is meant for dual-core, and no QNX on phones until they are dual-core. If as you say “dual core MSM8x60 1.2Ghz third generation chip” will be in some of these, then will there be un upgrade path from OS 6.1 to a QNX OS? I bought a 9650 specifically because I knew a path from OS 5 to 6 would exist.

    • I believe that the Monaco and Montana will be upgrade able to the QNX OS. One of the reasons why they released it on the Playbook first, is that they want to iron out any bugs. So, when it becomes available next year it will be ready to go.

  3. The notion that the Bold Touch could have a dual core processor, is amazing. I want that phone yesterday. I’m gonna do a little research on it.

  4. Looks like you’re right. According to the Qualcomm site the only 1.2ghz processor is a dual core. The press release for the Curve chipset does say that it can run up to 1.2ghz. I couldn’t find anything else just yet, but I will do some more digging, and try not to get my hopes up.

  5. I can confirm that the dual core is correct.
    I have a couple friends at RIM and they told me last summer that dual core processors @1ghz were in testing.

  6. Technically 1.2ghz is correct. They just left out the dual core detail. I hope that its true. I hope they release it with a dual core processor and really give the rest of the world a reason to have a BlackBerry again. The Qualcomm website has only one 1.2ghz processor and it looks like RIM is using it!!! what I don’t understand is why they would underclock the Curve processor. If its a 1ghz processor us it as such.

  7. New Berry’s looking good!!! the 2 all touch screen blackberry’s are catching my eyes :o
    i want one.

  8. I can’t believe that this year’s “entry level” phone is significantly better than last year’s “top of the line”

  9. Thats right @barrist. I just hope they don’t do that with any more of their future phones.

  10. Its an exciting to think that the Montana and Monaco are gonna have dual core processor. That means they will be ready for the QNX os and that the OS is coming sooner than we think. I just wish we could get them now.

  11. I don’t think I’d get my hopes up that either will be dual core. Just because we don’t find press releases or spec sheets for a Qualcomm CPU that matches what RIM is saying in the slide deck doesn’t mean there isn’t a yet to be announced 1.2GHz single core.

    And I also stand by my belief that no phone we are hearing about here in January of 2011 will be capable of running a QNX-based OS. I just can’t see RIM building that OS to run on two vastly different CPU architectures. When they can shoe-horn the Playbook’s dual core into a smartphone we’ll see a QNX-based smartphone, but I don’t buy it that any device that launches with the traditional BlackBerry OS will EVER see the QNX-based OS available on it.

    Then again, who ever thought you’d see Android running on iPhone hardware? But it is…

  12. They might be further along in development than we know. I’m not sure I believe it either but its a nice thought. If you go to the Qualcomm site they don’t have it listed in their line of products. Would they really leave a product off of their site for RIM? I think there is a legit possibility that they are dual core and that RIM is moving faster than we are used to them moving.

    • I still think it’s a single core 1.2ghz.

      The chipset for the Sedona is explicitly stated as the MSM8655. Is it not reasonable to assume that they’d use the same chipset across this product line-up?

      The qualcomm press release says it can go up to 1.2ghz, even though it’s listed on their website as 1.0ghz. But RIM has also underclocked it to 800mhz, so this 1.0ghz is not a rigid specification obviously. If it can be clocked from anywhere from 800mhz to 1.2ghz, I say it’s the msm8655 single core in the high end phones this year.

  13. I think I’d be really disappointed if its the same chip. Single core or dual core, they should differentiate the lines with more than just the clocking of the chip. RIM is starting to see what matters (I think), and I would hope that they start differentiating their dfferent limes of phones with not only software but also hardware. Whats gonna motivate people to get the Monaco or Montana if they are getting the same stuff in a Curve?

    • The differentiator is full up OS versus Lite.
      Curve’s are going to remain the low end device and now we know they will have some OS abilities missing, just not WHAT will be missing. Since the high end devices will full fully 50% more cpu speed it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

    • Not sure why you would feel that way. I look at it positively in that RIM has chosen to give the lower end Curve the same chipset as the higher end, instead of recycling past chips.

      Make no mistake, this is a powerful chip, even as a single core (the benefits of dual-core imo are a tad overhyped, even though it would be nice).

      As Ronen noted, this scored a very high score in Quadrant with the Thunderbolt (same MSM 8655). It scored the highest recorded stock score of a phone on Verizon. (see article here: http://www.phonearena.com/news/HTC-Thunderbolt-benchmarked-probably-sports-Qualcomm-Snapdragon-MSM8655-at-1GHz_id15710)

      Now what will motivate someone to get the Montana over the Curve? Quite a bit actually.

      -VGA (640×480) resolution vs HVGA (480×360), bigger screen
      -Touchscreen
      -That extra horsepower (400mhz is not an insignificant boost)
      -HD video recording
      -More internal storage (8gb vs 512mb)
      -Magnetometer, Mobile hotspot

      Not to mention the Bold Touch will be a much more luxurious feeling device with its fully forged steel frame instead of the plastic on the Curve.

      @DavidB, in terms of what 6.1 Lite is, the CB guys in their podcast speculated it could simply be a phone without the magnetometer features, HD Video recording, and wifi mobile hotspot. The curve seems powerful enough to have the other 6.1 features, so this makes sense to me.

  14. The specs on the Bold Touch are significantly better than the Curve, but I think the differentiator should be more than just some of the hardware specs. I agree with you that the 400mhz difference is significant but I would like to see them use a different chipset. It doesn’t have to be a dual core chip, but just a different one. Either way, I can’t wait for it to come out.

    • Which one would you like it to have?

      This is a brand new chipset, it’s not even on any current handsets that are released yet.

    • Disagree. Different chipsets mean different OS layers and thus more complicated for developers. Its been hard enough for devs for several years, commonality is needed. This isn’t linux like Android uses where totally different processor architectures and such are garcefully handled at the kernel level. And a major complaint against Android is fragmentation. RIM is in a tough spot right now and on the decline versus Android and Apple, RIM can’t afford (IMHO) to introduce variations in platform. They need commonality to bring devs back on board, because “its the apps” in this smartphone day and age.

  15. I don’t know which other one it should have, but I feel like it should have a different one from the Curve. No matter what they do, the phones are gonna be much faster and more capable than anything we have seen before. Fall 2011 needs to hurry up and get here.

  16. Ohh I want a Montana!!! Just for the dual processors itself!!

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