Qualcomm is rumored to be in preparation to replace its MSM naming format with an SDM format, according to a tipster on Weibo. Up until now, Qualcomm SoCs have typically arrived using the "MSM" format. So for instance, the current Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC is also known as the "MSM8998". Likewise, the MSM8996 is more commonly known as the Snapdragon 820 SoC. And this is not limited to the company's flagship line either, as the more mid-range focused Snapdragon 625, is also known as the MSM8953.
However, it now seems as though that naming scheme is about to change. According to the tipster, Qualcomm is planning to realign the naming of its upcoming SoCs with the prefix SDM and starting with the next major SoC release. Which at the moment looks to be the Snapdragon 845 (or possibly even the 846). With the suggesting being that all of the chipsets that follow on from the 845/846 will also adopt the same SDM naming format. Of course, this is yet to be confirmed by Qualcomm and as such does simply remain a rumored aspect for the time being. However, this is not without precedent.
Qualcomm used to refer to its processors as "QSD" – which is occasionally still used by some when referencing the more commonly-associated name i.e. the QSD835. However, the MSM prefix (which stands for 'Mobile Station Modem') became the norm for Snapdragon SoCs around 2009/10, when the company introduced its Snapdragon MSM8960. Which at the time was the first chipset designed with 3G/LTE integration in mind. More recently though, Qualcomm announced the introduction of its 'Snapdragon Mobile Platform.' Which looks to distance the Snapdragon line from being referred to as simply a 'processor.' With the suggestion being that the current crop of Snapdragon SoCs are more akin to a platform, than a processor. So there is evidence (both past and present) to suggest that Qualcomm could very well be looking to further rebrand (or tie more into the Snapdragon Mobile Platform) with the introduction of an SDM (platform-based) line, compared to the current MSM (processor-based) range. What is less clear though is whether the numerical aspect will still be in use. For instance, the 8998 used for the Snapdragon 835. This is largely understood to be a numerical coding that denotes technical information about the SoC, including aspects relevant to the modem and the GPU. So it could be the case that Qualcomm is planning to simplify the process altogether, with the next SoC simply arriving as the SDM845.