Multiple-core processors on Android is hot air, says Intel

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The Inquirier has reported Intel’s chief as saying that multicore CPUs are not supported by Android yet. A few excerpts from the Inquirer article:

Intel’s single-core Medfield Atom processor enters the market at time when almost all of the big hitting ARM vendors are focusing efforts on dual-core and quad-core processors. However Intel said that chip firms should do more to optimise Android for multi-core processors as it does not effectively make use of multiple cores.

Finally Bell claimed that Android doesn’t make use of multi-core processors, something he thought other chip firms should work on sorting out alongside Intel. “The way it’s implemented right now, Android does not make as effective use of multiple cores as it could, and I think – frankly – some of this work could be done by the vendors who create the SoCs, but they just haven’t bothered to do it.”

In essence, the Intel boss was saying that throwing more powerful hardware at Android’s resource inefficiency isn’t the way to go, but rather optimising the OS. I am firmly in this camp. Android needs serious optimisation, be it from Google or manufacturers.

Having reviewed and used a number of Android devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S II (dual-core) and HTC One X (quad-core), it is clear to me that multiple cores don’t deliver any significant improvements in performance. The Intel boss may just be right.

Unfortunately, the market is in love with the processor hype, and I doubt that anything will change. We will get more quad-core devices, and soon someone will be out with a six-core device or whatever.

We live on hype, we poor humans.

Read the full Inquirer story: Intel claims Android is not ready for multi-core processors


  1. A challenge to Google’s Android to make better use of cores

    Of course, the hardware has to be there first before the software will evolve to make optimal use of it.

  2. Probably this is why there are lags here and there even on a quad-core processor.

  3. …and I think – frankly – some of this work could be done by the vendors who create the SoCs, but they just haven’t bothered to do it.

    From the excerpt above, it is obvious the hardware manufacturers have their part to play in the optimization process and as the first commenter said, the hardware has to be in place for software to work on optimizing its use.

    Obviously Intel is not ready for their own part of the optimization process and since it is busy trying to get a decent processor that is acceptable in terms of power consumption, it would be out of the question for Intel to start pursuing multicore processors now because such processors would simply be useless when the mobile devices are not plugged to power of outlet.

    Whereas there is some point in the argument, devices with multicore processors are known to perform better than devices with single core processors no matter how marginal the improvement in performance and also with acceptable power constitution. Optimization is an ongoing thing and the hardware manufacturers OS vendor will keep working on optimizing improving what is on ground.

    The current Samsung Galaxy S III with quad core processor performs a lot better than Galaxy SII and with better battery life too. Though the SIII has higher capacity battery, it is obvious some polishing was done in the entire manufacturing process to make this possible.

  4. Intel is just trying to break into to the mobile chip ecosystem. And I daresay that this may just be a case of “bad belle”. Intel is coming into the Mobile chip area late. And it wants to give multi-core a bad name, so that it’s single core offering could be releavant!

    Harry said it all. Quadcore CPUs on the Galaxy SIII and HTC One X do better than dual core CPUs on SGSII or HTC One S in Benchmarks and everyday user experience. So bigger core is definitely better. Intel should stop playing “bad belle”!

  5. Yes it is true android does not fully utilize the extra cores but still it uses them and the incremental speed that comes with additional cores is noticed greatly. This is intel’s bad belle nothing short

  6. This is misleading. If Android doesnt use the other cores, how come the benchmark points of Galaxy s3 blows everyother phone away? How come every reviewer talks about the improvement on a performance that was already superb?

  7. How come every reviewer talks about the improvement on a performance that was already superb?

    Well you can aim for excellence in anything, bit you can not achieve perfection!

  8. Perhaps I didnt come across clearly. What I meant was, if multi cores arent actually utilised, how come reviewers noted significant improvement in performance of galaxy s3 on the already superb performance of the galaxy s2?

  9. Na bad belle dey do Intel. Simple. The dual cores handle programs better and make heavy HD games run smoother while the quad cores shows improvements on this.

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