back to article Smartphone makers to embrace multi-core chips

By the end of the 2011, 15 per cent of us will be using smartphones with multi-core processors. So says market watcher Strategy Analytics, which also reckons 45 per cent of the über-handsets will contain two or more processing cores come 2015. Right now, you can't buy a multi-core smartphone. LG will release what is expected …


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  1. Tom 7 Silver badge

    power a 1920 x 1200 display

    Thats not a phone - thats a phone box!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Just a guess here...

      but I'd imagine that resolution would be for the HDMI out that phones have started to come out with lately.

      Now where exactly are they planning to stick the 1TB of storage for my HD movies - that's what I'd like to know :P

  2. Hans 1

    iPhone 5 to have dual-core?

    I guess Cupertino Cult will have to adapt or fail to sell this year ... the iPhone really needs a faster proc and 3d would be welcome as well ... let's see what gets unveiled. What will they show on MacWorld?

    Will dual-core lead to Apple's demise? If only the Android crowd could stop the fragmentation! Even Apple allows you to update your phone years after purchase and you get the latest features (hardware permitting). The hardware performance is pushing iPhoney users to update, not the lack of updates ... I think of the Xperia X10, my second half has just bought, before I saw that SE would not provide Android 2.3 for it. And yes, Android 1.6 was crapware, that ppl over 'ere even dared compare that to iOS is complete mystery to me ... 2.2 is way better than 1.6, yet still not as polished as iOS 3 - let alone iOS 4. And syncing is a total nightmare, why must I share my/her data (contacts) with either SE or GOOGL ... or did I miss something?

    If Gingerbread is all it is promising and dual-core breaks in, maybe Apple will finally feel the Android pain .... I know Android has more market-share than Apple, but both pinched theirs from other vendors - both have been constantly growing at the expense of others. The other thing you might want to consider is battery-life ... if dual core means I can only use my phone half a day, then I have a problem, right now with one CPU they cannot get battery-life over a day with heavy usage!

    No, I am no Apple fanboy nor Christian, I have simply yet to see a better phone than Jesus'....

    1. PaulR79
      Thumb Down


      A number of points I had to correct or comment on.

      Nobody forces you to share your contacts with Google, it's an option you can easily disable in the settings if you look in the sync settings area, don't make it out to be locked and forced. Fragmentation isn't an issue for Apple because only they can ship the iPhone so keeping it up to date and keeping older phones updated is in their interests. The more phones running their latest iOS the more likely they are to use the app store and the more revenue they make from it.

      Other companies on Android, such as Motorola, have far less incentive to maintain updates on older hardware and that's a greed issue, not a hardware issue. They like to spew out new phones and abandon the old ones yet still expect you to buy their phones. A perfect example of this is the Milestone XT something or other, no future updates as far as I've read and it's barely six months old.

      How do you stop fragmentation when it's motivated by greed? The best option I can see is to make it a condition of using Android that the handset manufacturers have to provide at least the next two updates within a six month period of their release. The more workable option is to give people the option to pay for updates, giving the greedy companies an incentive.

  3. Mark .

    Dual core doesn't mean good!

    It's a fallacy that multicores are better. Well, obviously twice as many cores is better than nothing, but the point is that CPUs have always got faster with time, and having a CPU twice as fast is still better than two cores of equal speed. There's a fallacy, even among some geeks who should know better, than switching to multicores is some new breakthrough that's better than the improvements in speeds we've had for years before (including in phones).

    Increasing the number of cores is a strategy that CPU makers have had to resort to, when they are unable to increase the speed of an individual cores. It passes the buck to software developers to try to convert that to real extra performance - and as anyone who's seen their quad core machine rarely go above 25% will know, we're a long way from being able to do that effectively.

    Are even 15% of netbooks selling with dual cores? (There is a dual core Atom now, but only some higher end netbooks ship with it.)

    Hans 1: If you're talking about old versions of Android versus IOS, it's funny to watch that argument as if no other platforms existed. Most people out there are running Symbian - older versions of IOS lacked basic features like multitasking and copy/paste, and shouldn't even be counted as a smartphone OS (unless you define it so broadly to include all feature phones too).

    1. Cameron Colley

      Doesn't the OS use the cores?

      Anecdotal evidence from machines here suggests that the dual core ones are able to, for example, pull down some policies and open Outlook but the single cores are not.

      Similarly, my own PC never struggles doing more than one thing at once but my netbook, using hte same OS, is noticeably slower when "basckground processing" is going on.

      I am willing to accept this is the placebo effect though, as I've no idea how the OS is apportioning resources.

      1. Ammaross Danan

        Speeds and Feeds

        "but my netbook, using hte same OS, is noticeably slower when "basckground processing""

        Atom CPUs are rather nerfed, low-power chips as compared to even moderately low-end desktop CPUs. Hz for Hz the Atom will lose. Why? Power conservation.

        These dual-core CPUs promise better performance and lower battery life, not only because they're dual-core, but because they're newer. Better architecture and smaller die size has been what makes "Sandy Bridge" processors better than last-year's Nehalem chips. Hz for Hz, they perform better. The die size contributes to lower power requirements. The extra core in the A9s is power-gated anyway, so when it isn't in use, it draws NO power. New power management features like this promise to deliver better battery life, hand in hand with more capability. As more work is done on phones these days, better CPU capability will always be welcomed. If you don't believe me, use Android on a 500-750Mhz instead of the 1GHz chips.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      a fallacy ?

      The fact that it is now virtually impossible to double the speed of a CPU has what impact on your argument ?

      Not to mention the fact that multi-core systems are almost always benchmarking better than single-core systems in all user tasks, and in any mult-core enabled game or application ?

      Are you the kind of person who dissed the 486DX line because the CPU was no longer synchronized with the bus ?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: It's a fallacy that multicores are better.

      It really depends on what you are doing - running a non-threaded CPU intensive app, definitely one fast cpu/core is better - but a typical running a development machine with database, web server, IDE etc - I find the multi core/CPU is much more responsive to task switching (especially with runaway thread consuming all cpu) and I am more interested in responsiveness than out and out performance most of the time

      Of course it is all irrelevant if it has some corporate decided anti-virus etc. bring PC to dead halt

  4. The Original Ash


    It'll either last around 30 minutes playing one of those "HD" movies (I say that as the screen won't be 720p, never mind 1080p), or it'll have a battery the size of a Ford Cortina.

    Ultimate FAIL.

  5. Ventilator

    Dual core processor..

    and a battery the size of heaven knows what to power it for more than a few hours!

    Another solution looking for a problem to solve.

  6. MJI Silver badge

    I think Cell is on its way

    Read rumours there will be a mobile version of the Cell processor.

    That would eat batteries.

  7. Jim Coleman
    Thumb Down


    Can anyone tell me why all this processing power is needed? The current crop of phones execute 3D games etc pretty well already.

  8. Arctic fox

    One problem

    Will the phone make it through to lunchtime? No, I thought not. This how ever will put good single core phones of a quality currently only available in the topmost segment into the upper middle. Look forward to that.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "tell me why all this processing power is needed?"

    "Can anyone tell me why all this processing power is needed?"

    Ready for when Symantec AntiVirus runs on phones?

    Ready for when phones can print and then also do something else at the same time?

    Like the contributor below, you appear not to be On Message.

    "Dual core doesn't mean good!"

    Unbeliever! He hath not Faith. He shall burn in Intel Hell.

  10. Edwin

    HOW many of us?

    Either El Reg or Strategy Analytics needs to do a little clarification here...

    Will 15% of smartphones contain multicore processors by end 2011?

    Will 15% of the world population be using smartphones with multicore processors by end 2011?

    Will 15% of Reg readers be using smartphones with multicore processors by end 2011?

    Will 15% of new smartphones sold contain multicore processors by end 2011?

    Will 15% of the smartphone models on the market contain multicore processors by end 2011?

    The numbers involved in the different cases are pretty dramatically different...

  11. Lyle Dietz

    Exsqueeeze me...

    From the article: "Right now, you can't buy a multi-core smartphone."

    You can however, get dual-CPU smart phones.

    I have a phone with dual ARM9 CPUs running at 264MHz, and another with dual ARM11 CPUs running at 332MHz. The Nokia N96 and N95 respectively.

  12. Mark .

    Re: Doesn't the OS use the cores?

    Cameron Colley: Depends what you mean by "use". Yes, obviously it can use multiple cores, but you only get full benefit in some circumstances. Take a look at Task Manager - how often is your CPU power stuck at 50%? If you had a single core cpu twice as fast, rather than two cores, you'd get 100%.

    "my own PC never struggles doing more than one thing at once but my netbook, using hte same OS, is noticeably slower when "basckground processing" is going on."

    Your PC - even just one single core - is likely far more powerful than your netbook, so that's not a fair comparison.

    Operating systems can happily run multiple threads/applications on a single core. Now yes, there is a practical benefit of multiple cores, in that you can have an application hogging the CPU, but you've still got another core free. But there's no reason why the OS couldn't manage single core systems in the same way, by limiting threads to only 50% CPU. And if your response to that is to say it'd be stupid to limit available CPU power to 50% - yes, that's the point I'm making about why multiple cores isn't better than the increasing CPU speeds we've had for decades as standard.

    Anonymous Coward: "Ready for when phones can print and then also do something else at the same time?"

    You don't need multiple cores just to do more than one thing at once!

    My Amiga was happily multitasking in 1985 on a single core 7MHz CPU. My Symbian phone happily multitasks today with one core - as do all smartphones (unless you have a crappy IPhone, of course - but then, you won't get multitasking on that even if it did have multiple cores).

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