Are You Waiting for Quad-Core?


Phones surely have come a long way. We’ve gone from 528MHz processors to 1GHz processors, from single-core to dual-core, and we will soon go from dual-core to quad-core (in tablets, at least). Dual-core devices are still relatively new and we’re already about to see quad-core. Is dual-core enough for your or are you always striving to get as much power as you can get?

Earlier this week, NVIDIA released whitepapers detailing their Kal-El chipset (which is essentially the successor to the dual-core Tegra 2 chipset). Alongside four powerhouse cores, they’ll be bringing a companion core to handle background tasks such as syncing email and playing music in order to preserve battery life. The GPU on that chipset is said to have 12 different cores. With it, “Extreme HD” graphics will be possible.

It wasn’t too long ago I asked if we even needed phones and devices as fast as they were getting. I said I was very satisfied with the 1GHz single-core device I had. Then I upgraded to two different dual-core devices and I almost slapped myself for thinking there was no reason for these extremely powerful chipsets.

Now, I’m waiting to see how big of a jump we’ll take from dual-core to quad-core. We’re supposed to be seeing first chipsets inside tablets later this year or early next year. Are you willing to wait that long?

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

Casio G’zOne Commando $.01 at Amazon

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  1. No i’m waiting for the damn epic 4g touch to be released to employees…..

    1. I can’t believe sprint treats their employees like that. You all should strike.

  2. i think we’ll see kal-el tablets next month.

    1. I hope so but they are scheduled to be released in October so we’ll probably see them in November or early December.

  3. No, I am waiting for the HTC Vigor with it’s 1.5 Dual core Snap…

    I will not need Quad for at-least two years.

    1. I think I’ve said the same thing when dual core first came out. Turns out that wasn’t the case.

      two years later the high end dual core will become the low end. That’s just how technology progress.

  4. I’m just waiting for my contract to be up

  5. no just waiting for the new nexus :D

    1. The Nexus sure has proven itself time and time again.

  6. No because most likely it will still have terrible battery. Not to mention what do you need a quad core on a phone for? I don’t play games that require that dual core is fine.

    1. More cores improves battery.

      1. Yet Android devices still have the worst battery life amongst the mobile market. Until the software improves, the cores is not going to change much.

        1. It’s all in how you use your phone. There are plenty of “back burner” settings which can greatly influence battery life. The Kal-el processor has a 5th core just for background tasks which should have a pretty profound effect on battery.

        2. No dear…first of all ALL Android devices dont have the worse battery life….SOME do.



          Battery life comparison tool:

          There are some WP7 devices pretty bad with battery life too.





          Thats why talking in absolutes never works…ya know? Like I said before….even tho you showed us a pic of your Nexus….sometimes its hard to tell why you even hang out on this site, ya know?

    2. Not by much. Look at dual core it still has pretty bad battery life. Just saying how about they get dual core and better battery life first.

  7. I have my Galaxy S for now. it keeps me happy. I re-flash every few weeks to have something new. I think I will be able to wait another year for a quad-core phone before upgrading.

  8. I’m still happy with my single core Nexus S, but I’m still waiting to pull the trigger on the tablet front — not for quad core specifically, but just for something better. I hope that Transformer 2 with Kal-El will be that something better, but realistically I won’t really know until I’ve experienced it.

    1. I’m hoping we hear something soon about this tablet, this is what I’m waiting for.

  9. Im not too interested in quad core for phones…however with a few amazing games ive seen in the works for android tablets I think itll be pretty cool for those.

  10. I’ll put it this way. As the hardware specs increase, so do my expectations for the device. If you give me 4 or more cores and a dedicated gpu, then it’s not enough anymore to play Angry Birds in super HD. I need more realistic, console quality games that I can now hook my phone up to my TV, get a Bluetooth controller and play at that level. I should be able to have a more fleshed out user experience in general. I don’t mind all the hardware advances but the line between laptops and this little piece of tech we carry around in our pockets is becoming more and more blurred. Especially with what Windows 8 is talking about bringing to the table I think everybody needs to step up their game. I’m excited to see how it all plays out though for sure.

  11. I’m cool with dual core, but it has to be the right dual core. The Bionic just ain’t doin’ it for me. It’s going to be either the Vigor or the Prime.

    1. Prime, it has more Vigor.

  12. I would be more then happy with a dual core on my phone. I don’t do much intensive browsing (thanks Google for not synching chrome bookmarks) on the phone and I don’t game on it. Now my Xoom is horrible underpowered in terms of browsing and video playback. That is a problem. I still don’t game on it because touch screen gaming sucks for me unless it is a cute casual game like Angry Birds or Fling. I have an Xbox360 for real gaming (which needs an upgrade too ;) ).

  13. I’ll be going for the dual core next nexus.
    Because you have to draw a line somewhere.
    If i’ll decide to go whit quad core, I might just wait for a 1.5 or maybe 2.0 ghz version. Or why not wait for a pentacore, or octacore?

    1. Yeah bring on the Octacore…too funny. That thing better replace/integrate with every electronic device I have including my toaster :-)

      1. I don’t really want my phone hot enough to toast bread (or big enough for that matter)

        1. That’s what lasers are for ;) and lighting your cigarettes too!

        2. With the screen wars going the way they are I think toast size screen will be here soon :(

    2. Yeah after seeing the Nexus One steadily beat out every new phone for 12 months straight I decided that if I was using Android then it would be a Nexus device. Even the Nexus S is faster than dual core phones according to reviewers because after a few months the bloatware starts to slow them down.

      1. Agree,
        When reviewers say that even now the Nexus S can still have a place next to other high end devices, then:
        a) all those manufacturers are producing sub-par devices.
        b) Google is doing a hell of a job with the nexus line

        I’ll go for b :)

        1. B it is.

        2. After I got my Nexus S I was a little disappointed because it was made by Samsung and I felt like I missed out on the HTC made nexus one but after having it for a while now and reading reviews I gotta say this is the best phone out there and I love vanilla android. I didn’t even root this bad boy and its still kicking ass. NFC, google updates, great speed, its all good. Still, I was hoping the next Nexus phone would be an HTC but I’ll still get it if its Samsung

          1. Yeah I felt the same about Samsung and only because of Google I upgraded from the Nexus One. My Nexus One is still going strong after almost 2 years, I gave it to my sister and now she won’t even let me touch it.

    3. Funny? Actually not the octcocore tegra 4 is out next year

  14. Nice article. I was expecting quad-core phones but definitely not in 2012. They will be a breed apart from single core.Battery life, performance, video. It makes huge difference. Somehow if the developers manage to get Virtualization working on tablets then I guess the laptops, netbooks will become antique very soon and possibly desktops too. Who knows? We are living in interesting times. I am excited! bring on the new devices.

  15. I’ll wait for whatever come after quad core

    1. Tegra 4 is a octocore out in end of 2012 expect devices in 2013

  16. Definitely not. Anything would be a significant upgrade from my Droid even though it’s OC’d to 1.1 GHz, it still has a craptastic 256 MBs RAM that makes multitasking nonexistent on any 2.2+ ROM. It’s still sufficient for me so far though, I just can’t wait any longer than the Prime to upgrade. I know faster hardware is constantly launching every 6 months or so, but I really don’t see how a dual-core 1.5+ GHz w/ 1 GB+ RAM wouldn’t have any problem lasting at least 18 months while still getting the job done well unless Google really beefs up Android to make it more resource intensive (which would be kind of counter intuitive on a phone that needs to last all day on a charge).

    I don’t NEED the latest and greatest, although it’s definitely nice to have, but you can only play the waiting game so long. I’ve been doing it since May when I was eligible for upgrade and I haven’t seen a phone yet that doesn’t have a major problem with it that I’m willing to live with (on Verizon anyways). If the Droid 3 had 1 GB RAM and a better display, I would have got that.

  17. I was waiting for the Nexus Prime, but when January comes around and I’m able to upgrade, I might just end up going for a device with Kal-el. (If they manage to get one out by then.)

  18. this is stupid, we’ve barely got an optimized OS for dual core and we’re already jumping to quad? i hate apple but the one thing about them is they dont play a numbers game, they simply optimized the use of their processing power and its reasons like that that their OS is so speedy. i love android but this numbers game is ridiculous, id much rather have a optimized OS than brag about the number of cores. i say all this from my very disappointing experience of tegra 2 in a transformer tablet, so im kinda glad google havent jumped or tried to rush quadcore to the next nexus (i hope), just for bragging rights!

    1. Will this rumor never die… Android has supported multiple cores for many years, froyo used both cores to run the OS already, and according to this, Eclair could have too. http://smartphonebenchmarks.com/forum/index.php?/topic/317-dual-core-support-on-android-os/

  19. Can I get a good battery to last with all this power? o_O
    I know they said it should be less power but I have a dual core now and the battery is like 6 hours.

    1. That’s why Android is a problem. The software is never optimized for the hardware.

      1. And how can it be? Android is a generic OS designed to work on a multitude of hardware and thus it will never be fully optimised for specific hardware. In the same way that Windows is not fully optimised for the hardware it runs on. If Android was designed to run on a very small number of handsets then you know it would be optimised as well as Apple iOS.

        1. Samsung, HTC etc make changes to Android to fit their device, yet they have not been able to significantly improve battery life. Either they don’t give a shit, which sucks, or it’s a problem with Android, which sucks again.

          1. Android battery consumption is actually very very good. Take a stock phone and you will see. Battery life normally goes down hill due to specific applications/widgets etc. Samsung and HTC cannot do very little against badly written 3rd party applications. I’m not saying they can’t improve their battery usage but most people who complain about battery usage is mainly because of 3rd party applications.

          2. Wrong again. I have a Nexus S. It’s still bad. Android has the worst battery life in the smartphone market. This is well known.

            You can blame it all you want on crap 3rd party software, but it isn’t like the iPhone, Blackberry, or Windows Phones don’t have 3rd party software either. They don’t seem to have the same battery issues as Android. Either Android developers are shit, which sucks, or Android as a platform is shit in battery life, which also sucks.

          3. The grass always seems greener on the other side. If you think Blackberry, iOS, WP7 don’t have battery issues to then you only need to Google search to users complaining about them as well. Yes, some smartphone OSs are gonna be better than others on battery but you will always have some users who have battery issues. Of the many applications people install, it only takes 1 to be badly written to be the cause of battery problems. Battery performance (whether good or bad) is down to a combination of the OS, the applications installed, usage and the hardware. Some combinations will be great, some combinations will be rubbish and you’ll have a huge range in between.

            I’m not saying improvements can’t be made to the core Android. I just think that all smartphone OSs are in a similar situation.

          4. And another thing, Microsoft and Apple both check the apps that are put onto their marketplace, so if there is an app submitted with bad code they can reject it until the code is fixed up and the battery drain is stopped. Android on the other hand doesn’t have any process before apps are submitted so if there is bad code its never caught before it goes out into the wild. And as others have said, android will never be completely optimized for certain hardware so a little more battery loss would be expected from that, but to say it has the worse battery life makes me laugh. My Droid gets roughly 10-15 hours of battery life (non stock of course) with light web browsing, calling and texting while I’ve seen the Iphone 3G and 3GS die in literally 4-8 hours with very very minimal use.

          5. I suggest you see Anandtech’s review of the….Samsung….GS2 and their review of any recent ….Motorola… Android phone.

            Since the Droid X1 Android has gotten better with battery life.

            Factor in things like Amoled screens draining more battery with white backgrounds, HTC is notorious for shipping phones with tiny ass batteries, etc

            And you cant just say Android devices suck at battery life. And I dont know what you’ve read, seen or tried out…but WP7 isnt all that great with battery life.

  20. If some of you weren’t around to watch the computer age grow wake up we are replaying technological history. Single core to dual core to quad core. It’s all relative though. More speed more rammed intensive apps. If apps stayed the same we would see a big difference.

    1. This is what I tried to explain last week when this story came out. The problem is, most people that have an i7 quad core processor in their pc, don’t even begin to utilize the processing prower of this thing. Which makes an i5 with double the ram more realistic and actually a better choice overall.

  21. “… and I almost slapped myself …” c’mon man! I’m working in a quiet office, i shouldn’t be laughing now! hahaa omg

  22. Dual core is enough for phone i think, but idk man.. quad core on portable devices..!? Computers which have been around for a while don’t even 1up themselves this fast! or we’d be at google-core

  23. There’s no way I’d wait around for a quad core in a phone. At least not right now. I’m due for an upgrade in a few weeks and I’m just waiting for the new nexus. When you posted that article a few days ago about kal-el someone commented that they were going to pass on the prime or vigor and wait for a quad core phone and that just sounded insane to me. If you’re always waiting for the next best thing you’re going to be waiting forever because there will always be a step above whatever is out/coming soon that can be taken. You just need to enjoy the ride and figure out which phones should be your stops along the way. I can’t wait for ICS and a phone with no buttons so my next stop is prime.

  24. People are not taking into account the complete picture. This isn’t just about going from 2 cores to 4 cores, the kal-el chip will also bring proper decent video decoding as well as much better power usage. Of course it’s possible for handset manufacturers to squeeze better performance out of low end hardware than unoptimised software on high end hardware. However, Android does not have the luxury of having a single company owning the OS and hardware. Android works across a multitude of hardware and thus it’s similar to gaming on PC or gaming on consoles in that manner. Android manufacturers are not playing the numbers game just for sake of numbers; this is really the only way to improve performance as optimising Android while keeping it generic is not very feasible.

    1. You don’t always need new hardware to get better battery life, the G1’s battery doubled after the Cupcake update. Also what if ICS makes a big change to battery life and these quad core phones take months to receive the update??

      1. Quad core phones are coming out roughly 3-5 months after ICS is released so I would hope they are either close to, or come with the ICS update…

        1. Let’s hope so but that has been what people have been saying since skins on Android phones started, sadly.

          1. But the new updates never came out 3-5 months before the phone came out, at least the high end phones releasing around that time are the newest OS… at least thats what I’ve seen.

          2. Be honest do you really think that you or any one else will be talking about ICS when Jellybean will probably be shown at I/O.

          3. No, but doesn’t mean we’ll forget about it, or that it changes much, when did this change to talking about new OS’s when we were talking about the OS upgrade to ICS?

  25. I compare it to the Intel i5 & i7 processors. The i5 has more than enough processing power for your average consumer. Most people with an i7 don’t even come close to utilizing the processing power of this chip unless their playing a graphic intense game, and even then it would run just fine on an i5 as long as you had enough ram. Like someone mentioned earlier, optimize the dual core properlly and start adding more ram to our phones and they will be plenty fast and more than capable of handling anything you throw at it. Quad core is just overkill imho.

  26. I don’t wait for much. Something new comes out that I want, I get it. I don’t get my devices on contract, which I’m sure helps. Since I’m not on the subsidy teat, I don’t feel I have to wait to upgrade.

    If a good, non-Tegra/Qualcomm tablet device comes out this year, quad or otherwise, and it’s slim and light, I’ll buy it, despite already owning a Tab 10.1 and original 3G 7″ Tab. Love the display and form-factor of the 10.1, but Tegra 2, not at all.

    As for phones, my SGS2 should hold me for a few months. Biggest problem with the next-gen Samsung stuff is the display size is getting too big. 4.3″ is just about as big as I want to go.

    1. I’m on the ‘subsidy teat’ and I don’t wait for upgrades either. Reselling my old phone almost always covers the ETF and cost of the new phone. Stop acting all high and mighty because you don’t have a contract.

  27. Personally I think dual core tablets are not quite as fast and smooth as I would like. Maybe that’s the procs, maybe that’s Android, but the fact remains. I want to believe that quad core Kal El tablets with ICS will finally bring that silky smooth UX as well as powerful gaming and video decoding to the point that I won’t want to upgrade every 6 months. I already spend a bunch of money upgrading phones once or more times a year (mostly as a personal love, but still) so I don’t want to do the same for a tablet. I want a tablet that will be able to “most” of the everyday tasks fluidly for a few years to come. Will Kal El bring that? I can only hope.

  28. I don’t care for quad core for my phone – maybe dual core to save battery.

    Tablet? definitely quad.

  29. I just got my first dual core phone, I’m waiting a while lol

  30. I love how phones are getting more and more powerful, but the app developers can hardly keep up. Therefore the new technology really isn’t helping much. I’d rather see them come up with better screens, better batteries/better battery life. It’s like the automotive industry. Hmmm… should we keep increasing horsepower but keep the mileage about the same OR should we keep horsepower the same and make the vehicle more efficient? Well no one really complains about mileage too much and horsepower sells so… horsepower it is.

    1. It’s not quite the same as a car engine because with the phone having more potential CPU power, it doesn’t necessarily mean it consumes more battery power. Using the extra cores, it means tasks complete quicker and thus certain components can be turned off sooner e.g. radio, screen, speaker etc. When the power is not needed it scales back and use the companion processor and thus consume very little power.

  31. I’m not the most techy guy, but Quad Cores would really only help in multi tasking right? It doesn’t actually techinically make the phone automatically faster. So for now… Dual Core should be just fine until we get some crazy high tech games or something.

    1. Not really. Multi cores help for multi-threaded scenarios. Applications may have more than one thread so a single application could make use of all 4 cores. I think Nvidia showed a video of a modified browser using all 4 cores to render/load web pages. As long as the application is optimised for multi-cores, any application will benefit from quad core. Even single threaded applications will benefit because it won’t need to compete with other applications as much when there is a single core. I think the main benefit will be processor intensive applications like gaming but we should be benefit across the board. Of course, Android core code will also be further optimised for multi cores too.

  32. Dual Cores is fine for a phone. I do however want an HD screen and Ice Cream Sandwich!!

  33. Iam waiting for quad core

    1. Your wait shall never end.

      1. Well according to nvidia , texas instruments, and qualcomm, and even apples A6 chips we’ll see a quadcore phone next year!

        1. What I mean is that people who wait for quad cores are the same people who will wait for the next big hype once it gets announced.

          Google has proved for almost two years that they can pretty much get double the performance with the Nexus phones. People who really know about what Android and Google are capable of don’t wait “the next big hype”. Unless they are new to Android then it would make sense. There is only one problem because we haven’t heard of the Galaxy S2 slowing down yet but does it really take that much power to make a bloat filled phone faster than the Nexus S.

          1. You have a point but at some point your phone will be future proofed. For a while at least. I upgraded to the Sensation because its processor is enough to hold me over for two years (and it should be able to handle future android updates), whereas my old G2 had issues running heavy flash video and would at some point be cut off from updates.

  34. No, I’m looking for battery technology advances where my phone can last 2 days or more with no charge in between. Processors are important but its not cool if your phone is crazy fast and can only last 4 hrs.

    1. That’s what the companion core is supposed to do. It’s supposed to be a slower, more energy efficient core that is used for the background tasks on the phone. Then when you need more power, it turns off and turns on the other cores as needed.

      But I do agree that battery technology still needs to improve. All of this improved hardware, and very little innovation in battery technology.

    2. Texas instruments said expect a device with a full day use only by 2013

  35. Quad core with extra hyper threading for the future apps. If they can optimize the power consumption that would be great.

    1. Yeah that is another problem because Honeycomb added a lot of new features back in January but there still aren’t that many apps that take advantage of them.

  36. I was going to purchase a dual core tablet and was looking at the Asus Transformer or the Xoom but since I’ve done a bit of research and seen that quad core’s on it’s way I’ve decided to wait and hold out for the next batch of tablets to come out as it sounds like quad core processors will take tablets up to the next level. Just wish they were out now so I didn’t have to wait.

  37. The main reason I’m looking forward to multicore is battery life, then it.comes to smoother UI maybe 3d and other new techs. Who knows maybe they put a 64core CPU on our frontal lobe.

  38. looks nice but I’m still waiting for ICS so our dual-core phones are fully utilized. But yes, it’ll be nice to have quad-core once the phones start coming out. – )

  39. I will probably do like I did with my PC:

    I didnt get a dual core until 2008, and I have yet to get a quad core. If its anything like it is on PC’s…they better have heat output and battery life under control.

  40. I’m waiting for a quad-core device, but that’s simply just because my current Evo 4G works good enough for me.

    I’m not really interested in the current mobile games, but I will be around next summer when I have a quad core phone, as the games will be a lot better by then.

  41. A quad-core CPU running at 250 MHz would be nice, i think.

  42. Im still waiting for an android with 16 cores…

    1. well if tegra 4 is 8 cpu cores who knows maybe tegra 5 or 6 will be. But yuo’ll have to wait till 2015

      1. Nvidia is crazy like that, but I doubt Tegra 4 will be an 8-core. Cortex A15 is coming, which is significantly larger and stronger than Cortex A9, and even TI won’t have more than 2 of those cores in OMAP 5.

        So a quad core 2.5 Ghz Cortex A15 chip coming at the end of next year should be more than enough. Plus, I suppose another Cortex A15 companion one, if Nvidia keeps the same design idea. Or maybe it will be 2 companion cores this time, so it can do better multitasking even at the lower level.

        1. So you doubt the roadmap leak posted on most sites is real?


          I’m not saying a dual core isent sufficient enough, but nvidia needs arm15 to compete with ivybridge and AMD’s next APUs to compete!
          If tegra 3 is an arm9 fits 4cpu cores and 12gpu cores @ 40nm , so fitting 8 cores and upto 60 gpu cores @ 28nm is possible.

  43. The problem with more cores is the lack of app and software utilizing it. If android 4.0 comes with a dual core then it will be optimised to take advantage of only 2 cores, yes some app will be multithreaded but overall were not there yet.

    I am waiting for nexus prime too.

  44. I’d be nice to see them but hope i slows down, it tends to give ‘sadfaces’ to those who bought the current top-of-the line product.
    For as far as Nexus is concern, I’m sorry guys I’m just not a samsung fan. I have experienced using three manufacturers namely: SE, HTC and Sammy.
    Sammy tends to do things the Nokia way, always lacks something/s.
    SE usually sucks at adjusting RAM or processor.
    HTC gives the best products in my opinion although they are stuck with Qualcomm which sadly does not support THD apps :)

    _my two cents :)

  45. im waiting for my 2 yr contract to expire, which is october 2012, then i will upgrade from my(no reason to upgrade now) G2, to hopefully the G3. there will probably be tons of goodies in that one when it comes out.

  46. With quad-core coming out so soon I really wish google would have chosen a tegra 3 for the nexus… Regardless the nexus, as always, will be phenomenal and i will certainly buy it

  47. Im waiting for the Kal-El sequel to the Asus Transformer

  48. No lag & fast internet over WiFi. If my phone can do that with a vacuum tube I am good.

  49. Finally!! I want a tablet that’s way more powerful than my phone. Why waste all that money on a tablet that’s just as powerful as the phone next to it?

    This’ll make getting a table a whole lot better, and with expected prices, I’ll wait. Gives me time to save up. :P

  50. Huhh?
    This article is completely meaningless. Just delete it.

  51. Microsoft has seen the future. They have seen how fast these mobile processors are evolving and that the ARM architecture will eventually overcome x86. This is proven with Windows 8.

    I want a laptop with a full keyboard with this quad-core chipset in it. Laptops have big honkin batteries that could power these power sipping mobile chipsets for days on end. I like it.

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