September 2, 2014

Dual Core? No, We're Not Ready.

The big hype is all about dual-core processors for your Android device. Yup, folks, Android is the only system running on dual-core devices. I mean, iOS running on a dual-core? Nope, not yet, but it’s possible the iPad 2 or iPhone 5 will sport a dual-core processor. Windows Phone 7? Still no. Google has taken the front seat on the innovation car, leaving its competitors behind. But why is a dual-core processor such a big deal? Simply put–if the possibilities it offers are fully optimized, it  outmatches single-core processors in many ways.

Here’s what it all comes down to. The picture above shows the theoretical power (and battery-life savings) of a dual-core processor, but the OS has to support it. iOS doesn’t (yet), and neither does Windows Phone 7. Even Android doesn’t fully support it across all version of the platform. Sure, Android will run on a Tegra2 processor, but it won’t unlock its full power.

It’s like putting an average granny in a Ferrari. The Ferrari (multi-core processor) has an huge potential, but the granny (Android) doesn’t know how to handle it. She will be able to drive a little faster (improved benchmarks), but driving a Ferrari is an art, not a trick. I think that the benchmarks of the HTC Flyer won’t be outmatched by the dual-core processors too easily. Honeycomb does make use of dual-core power, but we’ll have to see if it makes optimal use of it. And then there’s the apps. There aren’t any apps that are optimized for a multi-core processor yet, because Android, as a whole, doesn’t support it. And what the system can’t do, neither can the apps.

Does that mean it doesn’t bring any advantages at all? No, of course not. It stimulates your battery life, as shown in the picture above again. But again, the OS has to really be built in a certain way to take full advantage of this feature.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of having a multi-core processor in my device, but I won’t really love it until Android fully optimizes the possibilities it has to offer.  Besides, single-core processors still provide ample power for today’s devices.