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A mobile application processor provides a self-contained operating environment that delivers all system capabilities needed to support a device's applications, including memory management, graphics processing and multimedia decoding.
Mobile application processors may be independent from other specialized processors in the same mobile device, such as a phone's baseband (wireless communications) processor.
Some vendors manufacture their own mobile application processors. Other vendors purchase their mobile application processors, using them as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components. For example, the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile application processor is contained in many smart phones that use Snapdragon to run the Android operating system and Android applications. In this way, every phone manufacturer need not develop its own mobile application processor (although they can); this approach reduces bill-of-materials (BoM) cost and makes it possible to develop low-cost "smart" consumer electronics.