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Motorola Switching to Snapdragon S4 Processors For Next Lineup of Phones, Including the RAZR HD?

Motorola may follow HTC’s lead in the processor game going into 2012 according to a new benchmark for a device headed to AT&T. The MB886 (formerly rumored by us to be the Dinara) aka the “Qinara” or possibly even Atrix 3 posed for GLBenchmark this morning, giving us a look at specs for Moto’s next big device.

As you can see from the top, it’s running Android 4.0.3 just like every other new device these days. What’s interesting though, is the chipset used is Qualcomm’s MSM8960 or better known to most as the dual-core Snapdragon S4 clocked at 1.5GHz. This is the same chipset used in the HTC One XL that could arrive on AT&T in the next week, but is surprising because this is Motorola using it. In the past, Moto has stayed close with TI and their OMAP series and even cozied up with NVIDIA for a device or two. This would be a first for them and Qualcomm, to our knowledge. 

So why the Snapdragon S4? 4G LTE, baby. Phones in the U.S. on AT&T and Verizon in 2012 will likely only be 4G LTE, so since the current Tegra 3 isn’t playing nice with it, OEMs are going with Qualcomm’s S4 which does.

On a related note, we were discussing the DROID RAZR HD this weekend with our buddy Taylor over at Android and Me, and he is under the impression that it will also rock a Snapdragon S4 for the LTE capabilities it possesses. This benchmark would certainly help that theory.

Lastly, the screen resolution reads 1196×720, so we know this phone will have an HD screen. Since it doesn’t read 1280×720, this could mean that the device either has on-screen keys like the Galaxy Nexus, or it could mean that the GLBenchmark app isn’t ready for ICS and is using that awful menu button at the bottom of the screen which is taking up screen space.

Excited for Moto and Qualcomm to be in bed for a bit? The S4 Krait series of chips is supposed to be remarkably good.

Via:  GLBenchmark, Blog of Mobile

  • Deanwlr

    Still prefer TI processor.

  • F150Fan

    I have to admit that this would be pretty cool. It would be Moto stepping out of their comfort zone some, and I would welcome it. From what it looks like the S4 is a beast and the battery savings would be awesome.

  • ddevito

    OMAP 5 will run circles around this POS


    Cannot wait for the Droid razr Max S4 HD!!!!! YESSS!!!!!

  • J Dub

    Imagine a Razr Maxx with that big ass battery and the power sipping qualities of the S4 chip. Now if only it was stock Android and an unlocked bootloader.

    If I am reading right the S4 chipset has LTE built into the die which should translate into much lower power usage on LTE. 

    • Tyler Cameron

      Whatchu talking about? Snapdragon SoC’s are KNOWN for horrible battery management. Case in point: EVERY HTC phone.

      • LionStone

        That’s a myth because I get great battery life on both my Inc and TB.

        • Tyler Cameron

          That’s a myth because the Droid Incredible and Thunderbolt are known for some of the worst battery lives of any smartphone. My DInc NEVER made it to 7 hours of REAL usage. My Thunderbolt was better, always got at least 5 hours. (I never turned 4G off, so that’s good battery life for 4G)

      • J Dub

        The S4 chip is completely different from previous chipsets. It is built on a smaller die size AND has LTE on the same chip. Battery life WILL be greater than most current (if not all) LTE devices.

  • DixieNormus69


  • The Qcom S4 is pretty beast. At least until we see the OMAP 5 hopefully in the fall. 

  • YourFriend

    Why didn’t they go with the OMAP 4470? I’m pretty sure that rivals the S4 nicely.

    • Paul

      I’m wondering the same thing.

      • My guess – power savings from 28nm process + speed improvements from the Krait architecture (which is said to be more like the A15 than A9) outweigh the disadvantages of the possibly lower-performing graphics chip in the S4.

  • RBI411

    I thought that Motorola was gonna be exclusively using Intel chips starting this year. Whats going on that?

    • Daniel Rosseau

      I was wondering the same thing. Considering how much I love my original Atrix, I hope this turns out to be the Atrix 3

    • JaySee08

      : I was looking forward to Motorola and Intel this year too…. are we still set to see that partnership? :/

  • And for f%*#’s sake, FIX YOUR CAMERAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

  • Michael Forte

    I guess no one else has pointed this out yet: the Snapdragon S4 has integrated LTE, which should mean better battery life.

  • Motosurf


    • sgtguthrie

      I don’t think they’re ready for prime time yet.  They so far have only released the Medfield chipset.  They only have a single core processor.  Yes, I know it has hyper threading, but I still think it needs to be dual core at least for marketing reasons…

      • KevinC

        it outperforms any ARM chip in a phone today.

        • Booboolala2000

          Looks like I won’t be updating any phones on VZW until the Intel chipsets. Only way I’m considering anything than my Nexus

        • BlueLetter

          it outperforms single core A8 chips, that’s about it though.

          •  Actually, a quick Google search shows that the Medfield chips are going toe-to-toe with the Tegra3 chipsets in several benchmarks.  Not any true indication of real-world performance, of course, but impressive nonetheless.

          • BlueLetter

            Well I’ll be damned. I didn’t know it had been benchmarked other than that one pussy on Engadget before. forgot what benchmark that one was but the result was nothing special.

        • sgtguthrie

          Even if that was the case, try telling someone who isn’t a tech nerd like us that a single core could be more powerful than a dual or quad core 😉

          There’s also a huge potential for compatibility issues with many apps as its x86 instead of arm. I could be wrong, but those are my thoughts…

  • faber

    Moto who?

  • RedPandaAlex

    They kind of have to if they’re planning on putting out phones over the summer. Nobody else has that kind of performance and LTE compatibility–except maybe Samsung, but I’m not sure they’re interested in licensing the exynos.

    It’s a shame that I’m not going to buy a moto device anyways unless they open up their devices. I still prefer their hardware design, but I’m sure Android 5/6 is going to have great features that the Razr HD will never see.

  • Asuriyan

    A few of their cheaper offerings used Snapdragons in the past- the Defy, notably, if I recall correctly. Still a first for a flagship phone, and strikes me as an odd move after all of that talk of chipset favoritism from Google.

  • WickedToby741

    They had a Qualcomm phone for Virgin Mobile come out about a year ago and if I’m not mistaken, Sajay used to be the CEO of Qualcomm, which makes it equally surprising that they haven’t dipped their toes into the Qualcomm waters much before. I also wonder if Google could of had some influence in this as well, but that seems unlikely.

  • Michael_NM

    AT&T, Moto? Moving on to the next story…

    • Josh Groff

      Cool story bro, I bet your blog is so much better.

      • Michael_NM

        How dare you!? No blog is better than Droid Life! That’s precisely why I’m waiting for the next story.

        • Josh Groff

           Nice response, I must admit you made my day. 🙂

          I don’t mind articles being mixed between an.droid-life and droid-life every once in a while, always good to see what my friends with other carriers could be getting.

          At least this article mentioned a Verizon phone at some point. 😉

        • sc4fpse

          Haha, turned that one back on him. Well played.

  • That’s a pretty far stretch… they haven’t used qualcomm since… I don’t think they’ve used them ever…

    maybe it’s time for a change… but I’m thinking this is a stretch…

    • Benchmarks can be faked, but this one clearly states MSM8960 which is the Qualcomm S4.

    • BlueLetter

      The Triumph on Virgin used an S2 I believe, that’s the only one I know of.

    • Captain Obvious

      They’ve used Qualcomm before, just not on a US bound smartphone. For ones released in Europe and Asia.

  • Bewara2009

    I will have to say good move Moto, now just unlock your bootloader and you are back in the game!

    • sgtguthrie

      EXACTLY!!!  I do miss the Moto build quality, but can’t buy a device I can’t gain FULL admin privileges over.  Root access, flash roms, kernels, radios, etc.  So, STOP ENCRYPTING YOUR BOOTLOADERS MOTO!!!!!

  • chris125

    Maybe by using these processors they can get even better battery life without needing the huge battery like in the maxx. Hopefully will get close to the old bb battery life

    • T4rd

       There’s still no reason to not put that 3300 mAh batter in it if it’s still as thin as the Maxx.  Even if they drastically improve power usage on the internal hardware, that will just extend battery life even more.  Having a (smart) phone last 3-4 days on one charge would be amazing, even if most people wouldn’t require that. 

      • Kyle Fullmer

        Agreed, it would be nice to know you could use your phone for the entire 6 hour flight across the country and not need to charge.

        • LionStone

          One of the benefits of getting a tablet was that I could just leave my phone tucked away and use the tablet for everything when flying (usually coast to coast, 8 hrs travel time). I just make sure when I make reservations that I pick a plane that has the wifis…which is not hard since Delta has much of their fleet outfitted with internet. But even when I just used my TB I’d make it across with juice left over or I’d have an extra battery for a backup.

  • steve30x

    Well sounds great but ever since I got a htc Rezound and my first phone with snapdragon a lot of games are incompatible.

    • Josh Groff

      At least you can fall back on emulation. That’s one of the things I miss about my X2 and Atrix, Tegra 2 had great compatibility.

  • Daniel Archibald33

    Can I upgrade the processor in my DROID RAZR?? first

    • T4rd

       Nope.  You can buy a new Moto phone every 2 months though!  You were third ;).

      • Josh Groff

        Galaxy S2 on AT&T, nuff said.

        • T4rd


      • I’ts been over 2 months since the MAXX came out, just sayin’

        • T4rd

          It was launched on Jan. 26, so it’s been 2.5 months, lol =p. There was about the same gap between the Bionic and Razr and between the Razr and Razr Maxx.

  • T4rd

    Sounds like a good move.  TI doesn’t have their next SoC ready it seems, so it’s a smart move to move to the current best on the market.  Soon after that I’m sure Samsung’s new Exynos SoC in the GS III will take the crown (again).

    Also, *insert worn out, stupid long RAZR name joke here*.

    • Josh Groff

      Oh, like Samsung variants never have ridiculously long names.

      • T4rd

         It’s not really the name length that’s the joke.  It’s that they have (or will have) like 10+ variants of the same phone or phones sharing the same name and just adding to it.

        • Josh Groff

           Like the Galaxy series is any different.

          • Max0442

            Galaxy phone models: 551, Ace, Beam, Fit, Gio, Mini, Nexus, Prevail, Pro, R, S, S Plus, S2, W, Y, Y Pro DUOS, & Z. I think Samsung’s got everyone beat in the name rehash department.

          • For the sake of being complete: There’s also at least 7 variants that append to the “Galaxy S II” moniker (i.e. Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch)

          • T4rd

            I’m sorry, but you must have confused me with someone that actually cares to argue about this.  I was just making fun of the people that constantly wear out that joke about Moto’s phones and their names.  Nothing more.

          • Josh Groff

            Alas, sarcasm is lost over text. I thought I was arguing with one of said people who wear it out.

  • LiterofCola


    • Bodhiballer

      Oh SNAP!