Intel: Android just isn't ready for multi-core processors

By Leeky ยท 32 replies
Jun 11, 2012
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  1. Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop recently claimed that dual- and quad-core chips used in modern smartphones were a waste of battery and weren't necessary for performance. Now Intel has waded into...

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  2. what, any moment now, some techspot viewer will comment like they know more then Intel. Even though I am not an engineer, I have always felt the dual/quad core on a phone is a waste. Before you say "they said that about computers too" let me say yes the did. BUT, when they said it it was true, go back in time when they said that and give them a quad core i7 and see how well they could use it. Not very well I imagine. In the future when smart phones evolve once a again to 3d workstations then yes, quad core could be needed. But as a phone, small web browser, email checker and small game device, single core should be fine (and is, if you look at all windows phones).
  3. I take these comments as a slap in ARM's face. Maybe Mike Bell should clarify his statement a bit and say that Android isn't well suited for running on "Intel" multicore processors. ICS runs extremely well on my quad core TF201, CPU courtesy of ARM. Intel is still playing catchup in the GPU and low-power SOC market. Just more marketing BS from a company that's good at spin and not in results.
  4. Ranger1st

    Ranger1st TS Evangelist Posts: 348   +124

    don't forget that Intel is creating a 'new' IOS with Samsung.. so of course some back handed talk about the now competitors is warranted, nay expected in this day and age. What the possible truth is, is immaterial to the campaign.
  5. Of course Intel are going to say that the major mobile OS's that run on ARM have shortcomings, because they do. The state of mobile OS's is pretty abysmal no matter which vendor you prefer. But that doesn't mean you should believe all of the spin.

    If you want to point fingers though, blame the big telcos who hobble and restrict the software that runs on handsets connected to their networks, like they're a fascist regime. I'm sure Google would love to offer ICS 4.0 to the owners of various recent Motorola devices that have been left out of 4.0 upgrades due to telco bloatware either being incompatible, or not worth the cost to certify. Thus we will have to live with 2.3 being around for a while yet.

    I'm sure the Android kernel will evolve and improve over time - Intel implies that "even" ICS 4.0 does not have great scheduling, as if Android 5.0 Cupcake doesn't exist or isn't imminent. But the handset makers aren't blameless when it comes to hobbling and hyping handset specs, and the telcos are the real villains hiding in the shadows.
  6. trparky

    trparky TS Addict Posts: 246   +115

    Bullshit it can't. Maybe that is the case with a lot of the stock kernels that these devices come with but that's only because the stock kernels are nowhere near being as tweaked for performance as the kernels that are compiled by the third-party freelance developers.

    My Galaxy Nexus is running iMoseyOn's leanKernel which is a kernel compiled directly from source code and the developer has taken it upon himself to strip the kernel down to just the bare necessities required for the phone to function along with some added tweaks. Take this kernel and compare it to stock and it would be a no contest victory for the leanKernel. The performance difference is that noticeable.

    It doesn't help that many of the stock kernels that these devices come with are still largely based upon older 2.x Linux kernel source whereas many of the third-party developers have taken it upon themselves to update their source code and merged in 3.x Linux kernel source.

    iMoseyOn's leanKernel is based upon 3.0.34 Linux kernel source.
  7. xplayer

    xplayer TS Member Posts: 26

    I completely agree with you!! you right!! a quad core mobile phones still freezing when some people reviewing it on youtube
  8. Ok Intel,
    We got it! Android sucks! Your solution to Android sucking is .... ???
  9. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    Well, you know, it's kind of funny how sometimes Intel forgets their own past when they are talking about other products. General computing was not ready for multi-core processing when Intel first hit the market with their products, as most software (including OS platforms) were coded for single-threaded computational platforms. But hey, that didn't stop Intel from pushing their dual (and then quad) core processors out and claiming they were the best thing since sliced bread. And, ya know what? They were! Software caught up to the hardware, was optimized to support - and even encourage - multi-threading, and look at how zippy everything is now on modern PCs.

    Does Intel really think that history won't repeat itself again with Android, with software catching up to hardware? Or, is this really more about marketing, and pushing an open platform that is dominated by ARM down, trying to make the more lucrative platforms (like upcoming Win8) look better? Things that make you go "hmmmmmm..."
  10. Chazz

    Chazz TS Evangelist Posts: 679   +75

    You guys should learn to read. Intel said they're gonna work with google to fix Androids shortcomings,like they did with Microsoft so long ago, they in no way said Android sucks or are implying that their new OS is better. They are encouraging other OEMs to offer support to google as well, so they aren't the only one spending resources doing this.

    I'd trust Intel for opinions on cpu performance than some random poster on a tech blog.
  11. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,691

    Somehow, I think you have a point with that statement.
  12. Cota

    Cota TS Enthusiast Posts: 513   +8

    Hell a lot of computer like devices have more CPU than they really need, besides more likely the guys that decided putting those processors studied Economics :p
  13. Littleczr

    Littleczr TS Addict Posts: 439   +86

    They will figure it out. Trust me if they can get more out of what they have right now they will do it. There is stiff competition out there and allot of money in the table THIS IS ACTUALLY GOOD NEWS, it means there is allot of room fro improvement.
  14. Scott K

    Scott K TS Rookie

    They could use them better than you're letting on. Before there were multicore chips, there were multicore/multiprocessor motherboards and we knew how to use them just fine.

    You think Intel knows best? Well, I think nVIDIA knows best. :)

    Your comment is a perfect example of their misunderstanding, which is that on a mobile phone, multicore processors SHOULDN'T be used the way they are used in a PC. Notice he said it was slower, not that it was unusable or ridiculously slow - one way to look at it is to say that the cores aren't being used efficiently, another is to say that the battery IS being used efficiently.

    Also, they're ignoring one important point, which is that as multicore support improves (no doubt it's not perfect), and the phones get upgraded (whether by an OTA update or by a custom ROM) owners of these phones will have a mighty fine device.

    By the way, the WP7 phones can't support multiple cores - I'd imagine that has something to do with their lack of multiple cores.
  15. @Chazz


    More proof how lazy "comment section analysts" really are.
    *hint - click the source links once in a while. ;)
  16. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    I agree, Intel's expertise is not under debate. But, I'd also not trust Intel's opinions blindly, which was kind of a point I was making. As indicated by the source articles (and other related stories around the web), this comment is directly targeted at making competitors' multi-core SoC platforms seem weak on Android. Meanwhile, I'm sure COMPLETELY coincidentally, Intel is trying to gain traction in an industry dominated by multi-core ARM units, with their single-core Medfield Atom processor.

    Sure, Intel's processor experience is superior. But, to trust a corporation's opinions and not expect them to be self-serving or marketing driven is naive, to say the least.
  17. Scott K

    Scott K TS Rookie

    You have to ask, why is it that Android has these shortcomings when Linux doesn't? They share the same kernel, no?

    I trust Intel to know about CPU performance. But in the mobile arena, it's not just about performance anymore.
  18. mevans336

    mevans336 TS Enthusiast Posts: 161   +11

    While I am sure there is a bit of hyperbole included since Mr. Bell works for Intel, benchmarking by Anandtech on Intel's mobile SoC (Medfield) running Android mostly validates what Mr. Bell is saying. Except for a few cases, it's the GPU that makes Android seem "smooth," not the CPU.

    The Samsung Galaxy Nexus (dual core Snapdragon S4 @ 1.2GHz) and the Lava Xolo (first Medfield Android phone, single core Atom at 1.6GHz) use the same PowerVR 504 GPU although the Lava has the GPU clocked about 100MHz higher.

    Anand's conclusion is that it's the GPU holding the phone from being the leader, not the CPU.

    Quote: "The performance side is obviously even more competitive. Atom isn't always industry leading in our tests, but the X900 is rarely more than a couple places away from the top (with the exception of GPU performance of course, but that's a matter of licensing a different IP block in future versions)."

    I have a dual-core Droid Bionic and I'm largely satisfied with the performance, but I want better battery life.
  19. mosu

    mosu TS Guru Posts: 474   +84

    After extensive testing, I only can agree with Intel and mevan336.The futility of multicore for light tasks shows only on battery operated devices, not desktops.(for now and I hope that changes in the future)
  20. I am no tech professional either but commonsense
    would suggest that the screen real estate on all
    smartphones under 5" (between 5 & 7 they are considered
    'phablets') really only lends itself to running one or two
    apps at once. Processes that a 1.2Ghz plus, single core
    CPU handles well.
    Microsoft has been in the business for a very long time
    and has in my humble opinion made the right choice for
    it's mobile OS, I.e.single core based hardware.
    I picked up the latest HTC Titan 11 a week ago. So far it's
    operation is flawless and is very quick with only one exception,
    battery life.
    LTE 4G connectivity (36Mb/s download), location services,
    WiFi etc. all are a must to run the phone effectively and
    sure the powerful 1.5Ghz processor adds to the drain on
    the battery. I get a 'working' day between charges.
    You would either have to run 1Ghz or less in a multi-core
    setup, or the fabrication would need to be far smaller to at
    least equal or better battery life, software being similar.
    Until newer faster charging batteries are used and software
    is further optimized, then many of the more capable phones
    will experience usage constraints.
  21. Chazz

    Chazz TS Evangelist Posts: 679   +75

    I have the first titan and I can assure you, the 4G LTE is the cause for you battery issues. Even with heavy usage I can get 24 hours out of my titan. The most I've gotten(admittedly with low usage) is 4 days. Is the 4G that worth it to you? In my opinion it isn't, so when I do upgrade my phone I'll immediately disable it.
  22. Intel couldn't possibly be lying to push their own agendas now could they?
  23. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    It is interesting to note that how many of these comments show one thing, that most users haven't tried different mobile OS available right now to form their own opinion. Android is the least 'optimized' OS when it comes to multicore SoCs IMHO, I own a multicore android smartphone and Lumia 800, and in almost everything the Lumia beats ICS running droid. Personally I'd rate iOS as the best mobile OS, followed by WP, and Android in 3rd place.
  24. SCJake

    SCJake TS Rookie Posts: 80

    [quote="Archean, post: 1185745, member: 242924" I own a multicore android smartphone and Lumia 800, and in almost everything the Lumia beats ICS running droid. Personally I'd rate iOS as the best mobile OS, followed by WP, and Android in 3rd place.[/quote]

    as far as performance goes, I see your point, but the fact is that you are all looking at it the wrong way. iOS = 1 device with 1 set of hardware meaning you can code directly to the hardware.

    WP7 = limited manufacturing, mainly nokia. This would allow them to code to a smaller collection of hardware and work closely with their main manufacturer to provide the best compliments of hardware and software

    Android = owned by google who does almost zero in terms of manufacturing, and until the recent purchase of motorola mobility, has no main manufacturer. they have to try to make their code as universal as possible.

    hmm.. looks like MS gave in (mostly) to Apple tactics in the mobile market and Google is filling their place....
  25. dcnc123

    dcnc123 TS Enthusiast Posts: 57

    android is hell of a kind Mobile os.... it supports the most of the mobile devices........
    the problem for android is that you need to support as many hardwares as you can like screen size, resolution, Versions, processors and etc etc thats why developing android apps takes time to develop because you need to test it on a bucket of android devices .....

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