At the heart of Qualcomm’s popularity among consumers is the Snapdragon line of processors (or SoC). The chip company has developed the Snapdragon to be among the most advanced and efficient chip for mobile phones and tablets today.
So it’s a rare opportunity to be able to see the Snapdragon S4 in the flesh (unless of course you pry open your Google Nexus 4 and extract the chip from the board).
This little chip contains the application processor, the graphics processor, the DSP (digital signal processor), WiFi, GPS (GLONASS), Bluetooth and 3G/4G.
From memory, the S4 seems to be in the same size as an Intel Atom. The main difference is that the Atom chip does not have other functions like the DSP, Bluetooth, GPS and 3G/4G embedded into the chip.
The ability to shrink the size of the processor allows OEMs to make really thin and really light smartphones and tablets. Where Qualcomm focuses more effort is in making these chips very efficient allowing for longer battery life, minimal heat dissipation and over-all better performance.
Despite the optimization and integration done with the chipset, the biggest problems in smartphones remains to be the battery life. The more power the chipset manages to conserve, the OEMs will only offset that benefit by adding more power-hungry components (like bigger screens, etcs).