Two semiconductor giants, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm, are about to launch dual core microprocessors for smartphones and mobile internet devices like tablets or netbooks.
The TI OMAP4430 runs at 1GHz while the MSM8660 from Qualcomm will reach 1.2GHz with a more powerful model, the QSD8672, likely to be introduced early 2011, with an initial speed of 1.5GHz.
Both will be based on ARM's Cortex-A9 platform and will feature some advanced power management techniques that ensure that dual core smartphones do not consume twice the power of their predecessors.
The decision to go dual core says Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst of Insight 64 (via Networkworld) has to do with the fact that it is more efficient to manage two cores than to simply increase speed with limited returns.
x86 microprocessor manufacturers, Intel, VIA and AMD, have implemented multicore strategies for years after hitting speed ceilings which made it very inefficient to try and break the 4GHz speed barrier at any cost.
But bringing multi core processing to a portable device comes with its own set of challenges; apart from power consumption and dissipation, there's also the fact that the platform (Android, iPhone OS, Windows Phone 7) will have to be tweaked in order to make the most of the technology.
Would you prefer to have a more powerful smartphone or one which has a much longer battery life?