Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 Uses 8+ Gen 1 Die
Qualcomm announced a Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 that reuses the premium Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 die with altered specs. Market conditions left the company with excess inventory that it’s moving into the midpremium market.
Qualcomm’s “new” Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 smartphone SoC reuses the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 die. Spec changes distinguish the two products, but die images show no change in silicon.
Excess inventory caused by unexpected market weakness in 2H22 motivated a second channel for selling the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 die. Given the die’s successor (Snapdragon 8 Gen 2) is already in the market, reusing the premium die for midpremium phones opens a higher-volume slice of the market, albeit with lower pricing. Qualcomm downgraded several specs from their original values, but those changes are consistent with die reuse.
Because new smartphone platforms emerge yearly, the window for design-in and production is short relative to many other chips. This timing limits the opportunity for inventory consumption. Once yields have stabilized, each platform has typically received a midlife booster, indicated by a plus sign in the name. Qualcomm changed its branding approach, however, announcing the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 ahead of the 7 Gen 2.
Although Qualcomm’s motivation may be a tactical response to inventory buildup, it also saves the company the development cost of a new chip—a nontrivial sum at 4 nm. The only downside is the higher cost of the premium die, but the company must balance any loss of profit against the costs of a new die and of unused inventory that may otherwise require scrapping.
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