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Intel says Android not ready for multiple-core processors

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Intel says Android not ready for multiple-core processors
Intel's Mike Bell

Intel's Mike Bell

There you are with your Android phone sporting a dual-core processor and you're wondering why sometimes the software isn't as snappy as you'd like it to be. According to testing conducted by Intel, not only is Android not ready for multiple-core processors, having more than one core could actually be harming Android performance.

Inet says that it wasn't until April 2011 when Android 2.3.4 became available that the OS was really ready to embrace dual-core processors. Before that, you had Android devices shipping with dual-core power that was not being taken advantage of by the OS. Mike Bell, GM of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group, says that the thread-scheduler on Android is not ready for multiple-core processors and in fact, the multiple-cores are actually a detriment for users. Bell says Intel's testing showed multiple-core processors running at a slower speed than single core. He adds that testing shows that adding a second core leads to current leakage and a low power threshold because of the size of the case. This means that there might not be any advantage to Android users using a multiple-core processor.
"I’ve taken a look at the multiple core implementations in the market, and frankly, in a thermal and/or power constrained environment – what has been implemented – it isn’t obvious to me you really get the advantage for the size and the cost of what’s going into that part. 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.-Mike Bell, GM of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group
Bell says that running multiple-cores makes sense in situations where power management isn't an issue and the OS has a good thread scheduler. Android isn't there yet, according to the executive, and when the OS goes to do a single task, "a lot of other stuff stops." As you might imagine, Intel says it is up to those companies producing chips for Android devices to make sure that the OS meshes better with multiple-core processors.

source: TheInquirer via  PocketNow

140 Comments
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posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:06 18

1. ajac09 (Posts: 1481; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


wow guess the speed diffrence between my epic 4g and my epic touch is my imagination :(

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:12 6

2. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3109; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


The fact that The Epic Touch has the exynos processor with 1GB of RAM plays a huge part of it. The exynos processor is one of the most powerful processors there is in the smartphone world, dual core or quad core, it doesn't matter. But Touchwiz also is way more optimized than it used to be as well.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:20 3

4. ajac09 (Posts: 1481; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


which also is a dual core and the ram helps out for sure but I dont buy that dual cores decrease effincney. If anything performance should be the same if not improved.

posted on 11 Jun 2012, 01:08

90. Sangeet (Posts: 232; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


I think the benchmarks would be the correct explaination to this guy from Intel (Mike Bell)

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:27 3

5. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


You just aren't trying to get Apple's mobile chip business.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 20:18 10

35. cheetah2k (Posts: 1592; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


Intel are only complaining because for the first time in history, they're doing it wrong....

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 23:21 2

77. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)


yes, just crying because their bribing is not effective everywhere:
https://sites.google com/site/corpsins/

posted on 11 Jun 2012, 09:24 2

107. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


its actually not the first time. They have failed every time they went into the ultra low voltage category. If this time is the same or different remains to be seen.

They keep trying to jam big PC technology into small chips, and it doesnt work like that. Some people are slow to learn.

posted on 11 Jun 2012, 05:53

101. AbhiD (Posts: 67; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)


What intel said is more of regarding optimization of multi core processors...
Example-
A single core intel mobile processor beats dual core A9 arm processors with huge margin and is almost equivalent(and even greater in some aspects) to dual core A15 arm processors.
This is called true optimization!!!

posted on 11 Jun 2012, 14:55

134. saiki4116 (Posts: 388; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)


what about power optimizations,that's why still the processor is not mass produced.the testing is based on 2.3.4 and the fact is that,SIMD are introduced with gingerbread,but the manufacturers aren't patient enough to wait for gingerbread and release their phones...

posted on 11 Jun 2012, 06:23 1

104. happygaps (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)


Bad comparison. Besides different OS version and double the RAM, one is the old A8 at 1ghz (slower than even snapdragon S1) the other is A9 at 1.2ghz. Even with the same amount of cores the A9 cpu would be heaps faster.

A better comparison is between the Sensation XE and Sensation XL. Where they use the same architecture. If my mate didn't tell me the XL is single core i wouldn't have guessed. There just isn't any performance difference running it side by side with my XE.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:18 17

3. doubler86 (Posts: 320; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)


I can't think of any dual core processor phones that don't have 2.3.4 It sounds like they are just making excuses to why they are so late to the Mobile game.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:59 1

14. JC557 (Posts: 1569; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Atom based processors are also a bit anemic...

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 19:22 2

18. ph00ny (Posts: 1260; Member since: 26 May 2011)


but compared to the ARM counterparts, they match up nicely in performance

x86 has never lacked firepower. They just can't compete in power efficiency

posted on 11 Jun 2012, 14:57

135. saiki4116 (Posts: 388; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)


why you are thumbed down for such a valid comment

posted on 17 Jun 2012, 21:04

138. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


because morons dont understand what he's saying. thats why.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 20:13 1

31. Greyhunter6 (Posts: 11; Member since: 06 Nov 2009)


He was refering to the dual core phones which came out before the 2.3.4 update was released. Those phones now have 2.3.4 or a later update.

posted on 11 Jun 2012, 02:58 1

97. bomariam1 (Posts: 43; Member since: 08 May 2012)


If this is the case then it's an old news.
let him check the samsung s3.

posted on 11 Jun 2012, 06:10

102. happygaps (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)


The in original inquirer article, Intel makes no mention of the distinction between 2.3.4 and later phones and earlier phones. Gsmarena also did not mention this. I think phonearena will need to show us where they got that info. I think intel in no way implies that only phones older than 2.3.4 aren't able to take advantage of multi cores.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:31 4

6. lzsbleach (Posts: 155; Member since: 20 May 2012)


I would like to see someone challenge this guy on what hes saying

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:56 5

11. Whodaboss (Posts: 176; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)


I believe this is old news. Reports of dual core phones not using all cores have been reported before. And it has also been speculated in some cases it's all been a marketing ploy... tell the masses they have dual cores even for that matter quad cores and they'll jump at it thinking their device is operating at twice or four times the speed. Not realizing their device is not optimized to use all the power it has. But what the consumer doesn't know doesn't hurt em'. But hey, they can always brag about having a top of the line device.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:57 4

12. JC557 (Posts: 1569; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Hell, it's a possibility he's saying that to cover his own ass because Intel isn't ready for multiple core processors that can compete on the mobile front.

Then there's the possibility of him trying to get Apple's business...

posted on 11 Jun 2012, 06:13

103. happygaps (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)


This just doesn't make sense. If what intel says is true and multi cores aren't beneficial to android then why the hell would they want to release a quad core smart phone Soc? To join the marketing crowd or shoot itself in the foot? Secondly you think with all their resources and engineering prowess intel wasn't able to create a multi-core android soc if they wanted to?

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 19:17 2

17. vqc61 (Posts: 15; Member since: 16 May 2012)


I think Whoaboss hit the nail on the head. It's a huge marketing ploy to sell hardware. As an engineer, I completely understand that having more cores doesn't mean anything unless the OS is optimized to work with them. Mike Bell is the GM of Intel's Mobile and Communications Group. He (or Intel) wouldn't make a statement like this without the backup of their multi-billion dollar resources. You can bet they have performed exhaustive testing and benchmarking before making such a statement. If you want to challenge him, you'd better have done the same and can show the results to the contrary. As popular as Android has become, it's easy to forget that it's the newest kid in the block, which means it had the least amount of time to evolve and develop. Besides, software has always been a step or two behind hardware.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 21:09 2

50. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Anandtech did a a review of Tegra 2 phones...and said since 2.2 Android could take advantage of multiple cores:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4144/lg-optimus-2x-nvidia-tegra-2-review-the-first-dual-core-smartphone/7

I dont think it was the OS that wasnt seeing both cores...as so many claim 2.3 doesnt use multiple cores...yet if I open Syetem Panel app on my RAZR....and go to the cpu section of the app....and swipe up n down you will see both cores show activity. If I stop it shows one core with activity.

I think Android itsself and the apps wasnt taking better advantage of it.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 21:19

57. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


But other factors effect smoothness, snappiness IIRC: coding of the OS, file systems, read/write access, etc. Some of the custom UI's did a better job at it than stock Android in some areas. Some manufactures did a better job of it than others.

One perfect example if the file system issues that caused GS1 phones to lag vs. other phones that came out around the same time. That also lead to worse read/write access vs the Droid X1...IIRC.

Hell...just changing the launcher on the Droid X1 before the GB update made home screen scrolling alot better. After the GB update....home screen scrolling became alot better IMO. And Blur on the RAZR is even better.

I just think Android and manufactures didnt take better advantage of it. Case in point: scrolling on the iPhone and WP7 in 2010. Its alot better on Android now than in 2010 vs those 2 phones.

posted on 11 Jun 2012, 01:14 1

92. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


why don't you? if you disagree with him, show your proofs. He's an expert, you're just a commentator.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:33 4

7. FAW-Q (Posts: 63; Member since: 29 Jul 2011)


In other words, why waste perfectly good hardware on a crap OS.

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:37 8

8. leftheodo (Posts: 100; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


Yes we know the iPhone 4s has a dual core CPU but we are not talking about iOS here!

posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:53 4

10. eDiesel (Posts: 142; Member since: 17 Mar 2012)


Is it me or does ios look like an android app drawer that shifts horizontally.
what a pathetic os. User experience my butt....

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