Are Multi-Core Processors a Waste of Time for Android?

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Many Android handsets feature incredible processing power these days, with multiple cores and high clock speeds seeming to offer incredibly smooth performance. According to Mike Bell, from Intel's Mobile and Communications Group, though, the specs might not be as impressive as they first appear.

Speaking with The Inquirer, Bell explains that Android software just isn't up to using multi-core processors efficiently — and that, as a result, they may even be detrimental to performance. From the interview:

"If you are in a non-power constrained case, I think multiple cores make a lot of sense because you can run the cores full out...

"[But] if you take a look a lot of handsets on the market, when you turn on the second core... the [current] leakage is high enough and their power threshold is low enough because of the size of the case that it isn't entirely clear you get much of a benefit to turning the second core on. We ran our own numbers and [in] some of the use cases we've seen, having a second core is actually a detriment, because of the way some of the people have not implemented their thread scheduling.

"I've taken a look at the multiple core implementations in the market, and isn't obvious to me you really get the advantage for the size and the cost of what's going into that part."

While it might be tempting to suggest that Intel has a vested interest in rubbishing the current state of the Android market, it's also worth bearing in mind that it is currently trying to break into the sector with its own processors. So, there's no reason it shouldn't be being open and honest about the topic.

Does all this mean we can expect to see modest specs in future Android handsets? Of course not. Consumer reaction would make such a move practically impossible. [The Inquirer via WMPoweruser]