Sep 9th, 2010

Ok, consider my mind blown. ARM – the same folks behind the Cortex A-8 processors we enjoy in many chipsets today – has announced that they’ll be bringing out a 2.5GHz quad-core Cortex A-15 processor core, but don’t expect to see this thing tomorrow (or even next year). It’s not until 2012 (and that’s the later portions) when ARM expects to see first phones arrive with the core (and even that can change, with time). Also note that the timeframe they listed is only for phones – there are still tablets, netbooks, and other portable electronics that this thing will be perfect for.

But just from a phone perspective, I can’t even begin to imagine the performance increase we’d experience on an Android phone. 1GHz single core architects are already speedy enough for most, and we’re still waiting on several dual-core configurations from the likes of NVIDIA, Samsung, and Qualcomm in the coming months and year. Am I wrong to think that a quad-core 2.5GHz architect could be overkill for a phone?


More than anything, I’d like to be optimistic that battery technology will be able to keep up. The truth is that – unless some super secret development is going on behind the scenes somewhere – battery technology hasn’t really progressed enough in the past few years throughout this smartphone market explosion. It’s not a huge problem, per se: most are fine with the sub 10-hour battery life they get on some current devices, but I think the next step before we even start to consider quad-core processors in cellular phones is to make sure the batteries inside can handle all of that power.

Any pessimism aside, my mind is still blown and I’m just as giddy as you to see how a quad-core processor would perform inside of an Android device. Unfortunately, there’ll be a long period of waiting before we get to see that come to fruition (we don’t even know if any manufacturers will be eying this for their Android devices yet!). We’ll just rest easy knowing Samsung and Texas Instruments – two major chipset makers well-versed in the Android world – will be on board to bring this technology into their solutions once it finally hits.