Snapdragon is a family of mobile system on chips (SoC) by Qualcomm. Qualcomm considers Snapdragon a "platform" for use in smartphones, tablets, and smartbook devices.
The original Snapdragon CPU, dubbed Scorpion, is Qualcomm's own design. It has many features similar to those of the ARM Cortex-A8 core and it is based on the ARM v7 instruction set, but theoretically has much higher performance for multimedia-related SIMD operations. The successor to Scorpion, found in S4 Snapdragon SoCs is named Krait and has many similarities with the ARM Cortex-A15 CPU and is also based on the ARMv7 instruction set.
All Snapdragon processors contain the circuitry to decode high-definition video (HD) resolution at 720p or 1080p depending on the Snapdragon chipset. Adreno, the company's proprietary GPU technology, integrated into Snapdragon chipsets (and certain other Qualcomm chipsets) is Qualcomm's own design, using assets the company acquired from AMD. The Adreno 225 GPU in Snapdragon S4 SoCs adds support for DirectX 9/Shader Model 3.0 which makes it compatible with Microsoft's Windows 8.
Compared to System on chips from many competitors, Snapdragon SoCs have been unique in that they have had the antenna for cellular communication on-die. That is, they do not require a separate external antenna on the PCB. Since Snapdragon S4, the majority of S4 SoCs also features on-die Wi-Fi, GPS/GLONASS and Bluetooth basebands. This integration reduces the complexity and cost of the final design for the OEM. It also has the advantage of benefiting from advancements made in the manufacturing process, for example 28 nm in most S4 SoCs, thus providing antennas and other dedicated circuitry with lower power characteristics than external chips manufactured with older processes