Qualcomm makes the platforms that power some of the world’s best consumer technology, but it may one day partner with other brands to create Snapdragon editions of pre-existing gadgets.
Flights and accommodation for this launch event were funded by Qualcomm, but opinions reflect the writer’s own independent opinion.
Don McGuire, Chief Marketing Officer at Qualcomm, spoke to Ditching about the potential plans for Snapdragon editions that could one day be introduced to the company’s product line.
Speaking about the 2021 smartphone to Snapdragon Insiders, McGuire confirmed that the company is still taking stock of how it fared. It is currently undecided whether it will continue with a second-generation product.
McGuire said, “It was never our intention to get into the phone business and compete with our customers. We are not Microsoft.
“It’s more about can we leverage, can we get feedback and is there an affinity for it? What kinds of things can we learn? And, where would we go?
“We have different scenarios. For example, do we want to do Snapdragon editions? Do we want to collaborate with our partners in wearables and other places and create a Snapdragon edition of their products.”
Obviously this is an early concept for the company, but it could mean seeing products that already use Qualcomm’s technology packaged in special editions with the Snapdragon brand attached.
McGuire’s example was about wearables, but it was clear that Qualcomm is considering this strategy in its other existing verticals as well. That could mean we’ll see smartphones with Snapdragon Edition branding in the future.
About the Smartphone to Snapdragon Insiders, McGuire explained that it was never intended to be a project that would sell many devices.
He said: “It was a great experiment. It wasn’t about selling a Snapdragon-branded phone, but more about testing the brand affinity and getting feedback on certain features and experiences.
It was never the intention to sell a lot of phones.
Don McGuire, Qualcomm CMO
“We were looking to see if we could [Snapdragon] Insiders base to give us more proactive input into the product development process through a device like this.
“What it became was always an open question. We’re like, let’s just do it, get it out there and see what happens and see what kind of feedback we get.
“We’re looking at all these different outlets. It’s all about strengthening the brand. But the goal was never to sell a bunch of phones. Because it was super expensive… right?”
The device was made in collaboration with Asus, and for anyone willing to buy it, the launch price of $1,499 / £1,099 (around AU$2,020) should be prohibitive.
McGuire also confirmed that the project also landed later than Qualcomm originally planned, with delays affecting the release of the smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders.
The device was unveiled in July 2021 and went on sale about a month later. It used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 platform, although the upgraded Snapdragon 888 Plus SoC was unveiled a few weeks before the handset made its debut.
McGuire was clear that no decisions have been made about where the company is going with its Snapdragon Insider or Snapdragon Edition products.
He said: “Once we get all the feedback, we’ll sit down — probably in the first quarter of next year — and say, This is what we’ve learned and where do we want to go?”
Does that mean more Snapdragon branded gadgets? Time will tell, but it’s an interesting route for a brand that has always been focused on creating the technology that powers other brands’ devices.