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Quad-Core Mobile Chips Wasted On Mobiles?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the usefulness-versus-marketing dept.

Cellphones 336

An anonymous reader writes "Dual-core smartphones have only just hit the market, but mobile chipmakers Nvidia and Qualcomm are already turning their attention to quad-core chips. While it looks certain that tablets will be the first quad-core mobile devices in the market, chipmakers reckon they'll land in smartphones too. But do smartphones need quad-core chips? There's surely only so much multitasking a smartphone user can do. I'm interested to hear what smartphone apps/features/functions — if any — Slashdot readers reckon quad-core chips would enable"

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killer app (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757472)

Faster posting on /. ?

Re:killer app (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757592)

Faster posting on /. ?

Perhaps... especially using something like this [digitaltrends.com] , which you could also use for lots of other stuff you'd normally use a "regular computer" for.

I got one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757482)

Finally being able to play Minecraft at 2 fps on your phone? This is a huge step up from the .1 fps you could probably get now.

CmdrTaco has a tiny cock.

SETI (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757486)

@work @school @InTheCar

Now. (3, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757492)

There's surely only so much multitasking a smartphone user can do.

Yep true, if everything's locked up.

But provide that amount of power in an open system and there'll be people who'll find beautiful ways of suing it.

Re:Now. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757544)

But provide that amount of power in an open system and there'll be people who'll find beautiful ways of suing it.

Yup. They're called lawyers.

Re:Now. (-1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757546)

But provide that amount of power in an open system and there'll be people who'll find beautiful ways of suing it.

Dear Osmanjusri:

From your recent Freudian slip, it is obvious that you are spending too much time on Slashdot. We suggest a few weeks watching either Glen Beck or American Idol. Then feel free to rejoin us for our continuing series of stories concerning rampant tech litigation.

Glenn Beck has announced his resignation (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758218)

We suggest a few weeks watching either Glen Beck or American Idol.

And what after Glenn Beck leaves Fox News Channel, as he has recently announced? Is Bill O' as good?

Re:Now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757556)

But provide that amount of power in an open system and there'll be people who'll find beautiful ways of suing it.

Ah spooner. Indeed I trust microsoft is already working on their next litigation against open smartphone systems.

Re:Now. (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757570)

i never really thought of court proceedings as beautiful, but whatever suits your fancy

Re:Now. (0)

srg33 (1095679) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757588)

Nice typo: "suing"!!!

Re:Now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757590)

But provide that amount of power in an open system and there'll be people who'll find beautiful ways of suing it.

Like Microsoft?

Re:Now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757760)

"beautiful ways of suing it."

too true, too true...

Re:Now. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757866)

There's surely only so much multitasking a smartphone user can do.

Yep true, if everything's locked up.

But provide that amount of power in an open system and there'll be people who'll find beautiful ways of suing it.

Indeed. You could render Toy Story IV on the bus ride.

Re:Now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757870)

If your post were true (because ZOMG!! Android lockdown!) then every single Android benchmark wouldn't be topped (sometimes by a 2-3x factor) by rooted phones with optimized ROMs and settings. And that's before the huge perf gains that overclocking presents.

Compilers drive usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757506)

It's not about how many apps someone is using at once. It's about how good the compilers/vm's for those apps are. A good compiler/vm should generate parallel code, even if the developer has not explicitly threaded it.

Re:Compilers drive usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757682)

This is only partially true. For certain types of things, sure you can add an OpenMP parallel-for pragma here and there, but mostly (read: efficient) parallel code is still the domain of humans.

That said, games are obviously one area where quad-core chips could be used: different threads for different tasks. But I'm not sure how you could play Supreme Commander on a 4" screen.

Convergence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757514)

Multiple core processors will make smartphones even more like small computers, which, over time, will become more like medium computers, which over time will become more like supercomputers. All in your pocket/purse.

Re:Convergence (1)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757564)

Ray? Is that you?

Re:Convergence (1)

Brama (80257) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757792)

Yeah. Imagine, if you will, that capacity will double every 1.5 to 2 years. 10 Years from now, we'll have phones that are 30+ times faster than what we have now. With that hardware, who needs PC's?

Just put the phone on a dock and use the attached screen/keyboard/mouse as your computer. PC's will go the way of the workstation for professionals and enthusiasts. That's why Microsoft is desperately clawing its way back into the mobile OS.

Re:Convergence (2)

HelioWalton (1821492) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757944)

We'll need PCs because we'll have programs that have requirements 100x higher than what we have now.

Re:Convergence (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758252)

"Just put the phone on a dock and use the attached screen/keyboard/mouse as your computer."

That's called the Motorola Atrix.

Battery (2)

oic0 (1864384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757528)

Is this so when you have your main task going, there are 3 more cores to eat up battery power in the background?

Re:Battery (3, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757658)

No. You have 3 more cores shut down and not doing anything at all, unless your task is nicely multithreaded, in which case they are all working on the task to get it done faster so all the cores can go to sleep and save you battery life.

Re:Battery (1)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758174)

They may go into a "shut down" state, but that doesn't mean they won't be drawing power. In reality a lot of the time all they are is clocked down.

Re:Battery (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758232)

Is this so when you have your main task going, there are 3 more cores to eat up battery power in the background?

No, it's because to ultimately deserve the name "smart phone" they will eventually need strong AI, which means a lot of processing power. :-)

As long as we don't sacrifice anything for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757532)

If there's one complaint I've had about any smartphone I've owned it's that they aren't snappy enough. I'm sure that these chips could certainly help in that department, and if we aren't sacrificing something such as battery life it then why not?

Re:As long as we don't sacrifice anything for it. (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758242)

The dual cores already on the market address that issue, though. For UI zippiness, a quad core processor won't really help much more than a dual core processor... you just need one processor to handle the background apps, and one to handle the foreground.

Multi-tasking on a phone is kind of a non-issue... the phone screen simply doesn't provide enough real estate to be worth running an app that isn't full screen, and even the "dock" devices like the one with the new Motorola Atrix phone only has 1366x768 resolution on its 11" screen. Better than a netbook, yes, but not really good enough to do a lot of serious multitasking. Usual caveats about statements about being "enough for anybody", but until phones have enough processing power to replace a full desktop, there really isn't any need for more than a dual core phone... and for me, phones will never be able to replace a full desktop (or high end gaming laptop), because I like being able to play modern video games. Give it a few years, though, and the non-gamer facebook generation will be fine with just a cell phone that docks to a laptop-like device with full keyboard and mouse. Of course, most of 'em won't buy one, because they'd rather have a laptop. :)

I guess... (3, Funny)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757534)

...anything more than 512KB of RAM is wasted on smartphones, too?

Re:I guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757956)

512KB is enough, but 640KB is more than enough!

Autonomy (1)

homb (82455) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757536)

Assuming the autonomy is good, having more cores means more multitasking without impacting the phone's snappiness and perceived user performance. As memory increases in phones, more cores will be quite useful for background apps.

Play ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757538)

Quake3 or Unreal3 powered games ....

Mobile Grid Computing! (2)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757540)

Folding@Phone. What could be more obvious??? It would also offer an incentive to manufacturers to provide longer lasting batteries!

Multimedia (1)

piphil (1007691) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757550)

I use Spotify on my Android phone (Samsung i5700). Even with the tracks synced to my SD card, the music can stutter if you're trying to browse the web at the same time as listening to music. Streaming over wifi and browsing is completely useless. I'm assuming that there are overheads inherent in the data reception and processing that cause this, and thus dual-core makes sense. Quad-core? I guess it's the same issue as found with full-fat PC CPUs - is Quad-core that helpful unless you have programs that can utilise the extra available threads? Another factor could be energy-efficiency - is it more efficient to have extra cores that can switch themselves off when not required, or have fewer cores that are sometimes overwhelmed? There's marketing in there too of course: "Hey, my phone's got more cores than your laptop...!".

Re:Multimedia (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757914)

Seriously? Wow some Android phones suck a lot more then I expected..

Re:Multimedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758240)

Hmm. There's got to be something wrong. On my Droid X, I have no problem playing mp3s while using VNC to remotely access my desktop, let alone when browsing the web. Of course, the way Android OS works, yo umight have a crapload of apps running you don't even know about.

Evolve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757562)

Why didn't we stop at just phones, why smartphones?
Why didn't we stop at just servers, why super-computers?
It's just that how we evolved.

Save power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757568)

If power grows super-linearly with clock speed, then running software on 4 cores at 250 MHz will consume less power than running on 1 core at 1 GHz.

Re:Save power? (1)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757652)

The problem is, the simpler the application, the less it benefits from parallelization. So long as serial applications don't take a serious performance hit this is a good idea.

Power Consumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757586)

Provided that 3 of the 4 cores can be turned off to save power what is the downside? Chip makers have been getting very efficient at power saving, so if we can get more performance without increasing the power consumption I say go for it. Games will benefit for sure, as well web browsing with flash.

dumb question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757596)

Why assume a smart phone needs less cores than a desktop? If the smart phone is going to replace the desktop it will need cores.

Re:dumb question (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757852)

my smartphone will replace my desktop probably around the same time my bicycle gets a V6, power steering, awd, a nice stereo, and can tow a trailer.

What's wrong with having different tools for different jobs?

Needs and wants are subjective. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757602)

I remember when my dad came home from college one day and was amazed that one of the university tech admins had gotten a 1Gb HDD. His comment was "What would you ever do with that much storage space?"

If the technology is available someone will find a cool new way to exploit it.

Multiple cores are just for multitasking? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757616)

Since when have multiple cores been geared purely for Multitasking?

4-cores, or rather 4 hardware threads, can be utilised by a single app, it just depends on what you're doing. THe real thing to keep in mind is battery life. Having 4 cores going at 100% will drain the battery, sure, but compare that against 4 cores doing a task in 1s that a single core takes 5 or 6 seconds to do. The faster a job gets done, the less juice that's used. There's every reason to look forward to the coming multi-core devices you can fit in your pocket.

Re:Multiple cores are just for multitasking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757838)

The faster a job gets done, the less juice that's used.

Right. And if you drive home faster you use less fuel. Not.

Re:Multiple cores are just for multitasking? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758152)

Right. And if you drive home faster you use less fuel. Not.

Because the wind resistance when using all four cores is so high????

Re:Multiple cores are just for multitasking? (1)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758214)

The faster a job gets done, the less juice that's used.

Right. And if you drive home faster you use less fuel. Not.

There's more sources of battery drain on a phone than just the processor working on a set problem. The screen is probably the biggest or second-biggest power drain. If you spend 1/4th of the time with the screen on because you don't need to wait as long for the phone to perform whatever operation, I wager you will see net battery savings.

Re:Multiple cores are just for multitasking? (3, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757942)

why would 4 cores be 6x as fast as a single core?

Assuming clock speed remains the same, 4 cores isn't even 4x as fast as a single core, even under the best of circumstances, due to overhead and and inefficiency derived by of breaking up one task into multiple threads. That isn't even counting the "turbo" feature that modern cpus have to increase clock speed when only a single core is in use.

Re:Multiple cores are just for multitasking? (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758116)

Actually it *could* help overall power consumption. On my EVO Shift 75-80% of power draw during a typical day is used by the display with most of the rest being for the cellular radio, only a few percent are used by the CPU. If you could get your task done faster and the screen back to sleep you could significantly increase useful life.

It's for smart phones as your primary computer (4, Insightful)

Shreav (195174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757618)

Okay, so it doesn't apply to anybody on /., but for plenty of people, the idea of carrying their primary computing platform in their pocket is awesome. All they need is the ability for it to play nicely with a wireless keyboard/mouse and their big-ass TV, and they've suddenly got a home computer, with all their data stored up in the cloud.

Re:It's for smart phones as your primary computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757794)

Exactly. Smartphones will become desktop replacements for most people within a decade. When you need it, you'll wirelessly use a big monitor and external keyboard. Your whole computer will fit in your pocket and use cloud storage.

With that kind of system, multiple cores makes perfect sense just as it does on today's desktops. People need to start thinking about the post PC world, because it's going to be here before they expect it.

Re:It's for smart phones as your primary computer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758074)

Okay, so it doesn't apply to anybody on /., but for plenty of people, the idea of carrying their primary computing platform in their pocket is awesome. All they need is the ability for it to play nicely with a wireless keyboard/mouse and their big-ass TV, and they've suddenly got a home computer, with all their data stored up in the cloud.

You want a projected keyboard (not a physical one) ... so you can type on the surface of your desk .. and then a projected screen.

No more carrying your laptop around.

Re:It's for smart phones as your primary computer (1)

joshuarrrr (1035640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758076)

I agree. I think the Atrix is the doomed early prototype of what many of our future computing systems will look like.

Re:It's for smart phones as your primary computer (0)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758250)

A limiting factor to using the phone as your primary computer is not necessarily processor capability, but power consumption and screen size. Even if one has a high end chipset, that chipset may not be running at the high end setting because a compromise has been made to extend battery life. Some people with android phones seem to want to do this themselves. Apple seems to under clock the iPhone processor.

Which may be where mulitcore might be good. If the OS uses a core, the 'phone' code uses a core, and then there are two cores for apps, this may facilitate running the chip at under clocked and possible more efficient rates. This is, of course, what has happened on laptop computers. My laptops run way below 3GHz, even though it looked like all computers would be running a 5 GHz back in the early 2000s. Instead life went multicore. Right now phones seems to be good with under 1GHz, so maybe more cores is way to increase perfomance while keepping power consumption down.

How else... (1)

Needlzor (1197267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757626)

How else are we supposed to play Angry birds while simultaneously listening to music downloading apps and filming in HD ? I can't wait to have to charge my phone every 4 hours !

Re:How else... (2)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757734)

I can't wait to have to charge my phone every 4 hours !

Neither can I. My Droid 2 us usually toast after about three.

Re:How else... (1)

sartin (238198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758234)

How else are we supposed to play Angry birds while simultaneously listening to music downloading apps and filming in HD ? I can't wait to have to charge my phone every 4 hours !

If you can't format a floppy drive while performing other tasks, it's not real multitasking.

Now, get off of my lawn!

The race to idle (1)

Dienyddio (161154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757632)

Quad core processors will primarily provide better battery life. Most designs will feature cores of mixed processing power allowing most of the chip to be fully powered down when idle or just doing baseband event handling.

When there is real work required firing up the rest of the chip will allow for tasks to be completed very quickly. Once complete the processor can again be ramped back down to a low power state.

Angry Birds 911 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757638)

You can now play Angry Birds while making an emergency phone call! Remember to let your operator know you are playing and you get 5 minutes shaved off the ambulance deployment time, courtesy of Rovio.

Multitasking Human != Multitasking Computer (1)

CobaltBlueDW (899284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757640)

Singular applications will take advantage of the extra cores for increased processing power in process heavy applications like games and web browsers.

Re:Multitasking Human != Multitasking Computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758010)

Great, you just smashed the anonymous submitter's mental model of multi-core computing.

Still improvements to be had. (2)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757646)

An important thing to realize is that multi-tasking is NOT the same thing as as an app/OS being multi-threaded. While most apps need to be specifically coded to be multi-threaded, operating systems for a long time have had the ability to take advantage of multiple CPUs to complete tasks. Now, while a big jump in a single application may come from taking a huge CPU task and chopping it up into little pieces, there are definitely some tasks that lend themselves very easily to being multi-threaded. For example, probably the most important one is independently-executed Javascript threads. Browser performance can really be improved from multiple CPUs chewing on Javascript threads and then powering down to a low power state. Now, will it really matter when most of the wait for a page loading is downloading images? Probably not, but better performance is still better performance. The key goal with dual/quad core chips is making sure the system itself still feels responsive when doing tasks. A good example of this is if you have an iPhone and you are listening to a video podcast while running Safari, the system will definitely see some slowdown. Or running any app while the OS is installing something from the App Store, uploading a photo to Flickr in the background, or streaming Pandora. As refined as smartphones seem, they are still just pocket computers with limited resources.

usage scenarios are bad (3, Insightful)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757660)

I will use it in ways that even I cannot now foresee. The reason general-purpose computers are so useful is because they can be used in ways that were not foreseen by the manufacturer. Please stop trying to determine how I will use my equipment. Just make it powerful and stop trying to lock me down to a particular usage scenario.

I'm a power user (1)

majestic_twelve (2034368) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757690)

I would love to be able to download stuff in the background (pdfs, music, movies, whatever), respond to texts as they come up, play a game, pause it because I got a thought, jump over to my browser and look something up, jump back to my game, get a call and answer it all without any background threads having to "sleep" or whatever. I would utilize it.

Re:I'm a power user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758046)

Great idea, we could call it "computer".

Mobile Communications Hub (1)

Numbah One (821914) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757720)

it depends on what the phone is doing. if it is considered a mobile computing hub, it could be running tethering/routing SW for a user's wi-fi tablet, running an IM/twitter client, handling voice commands for the whole device and maybe even making a phone call. of course, power mgmt to handle all of this at the same time becomes critical. with more cores, voice/video call handling becomes less of a priority and keeping the user connected at all times with background tasks becomes more of the device's function.

AT&T Atrix (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757724)

Okay, the implementation sucks, but the form-factor makes sense. I'd like to see something like the Atrix, but running an open source software stack. The Atrix itself isn't that impressive - it doesn't know how to take advantage of the larger displays it can connect to and the software stack is not open, but it's a start.

When I plug something like an Atrix into the laptop adapter, I'd like to have a little processing horsepower to go with my keyboard, mouse and 14" display.

When I plug something like an Atrix into the docking bay on a television, I'd like to have a little processing horsepower to go with my keyboard, mouse and 55" display.

Re:AT&T Atrix (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757780)

Okay, it's made by Motorola, and I guess the Android 2.2 software stack is still open (but v3.0 is questionable). It's still not quite ready for prime-time.

But it still could benefit from a quad-core proc, I think.

No, you dont understand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757746)

More is better. More is always better. More choice. More freedom. More power. That's how it works.

Well... in America at least.

Well, but of course.. (1)

gutoandreollo (1816754) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757774)

How else will we play Crysis??

I'm all for quad-core on a phone but... (1)

Camaro (13996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757790)

I hope we don't find ourselves in a situation as we do with full-size computers where ads and sales-droids are telling us that SuperMultiCore Machine X is "perfect for email, web browsing and organizing your recipe collection". I don't want to see multicore phones trying to make up for sloppy coding and configuration.

App responsiveness will benefit by more cores (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757800)

With more cores, this will also add a benefit because apps that don't multithread will use one core's CPU time, while other cores are not affected. Say a MP3 player is using one core to play music. The user fires up another task, and instead of taking CPU time away from the MP3 player (possibly causing skipping), it will use another core that is not as utilized.

So, overall, even if cores are disabled and enabled for power saving reasons, having more of them will provide better overall user responsiveness for a device.

Best of all would be asymmetric cores. Have a few cores which are low power that run the kernel and the OS, a few cores which are powered up for relatively CPU intensive tasks, a core or two for the radio, a core for security tasks (TPM, etc.), and a couple GPU cores. This would provide the best of all worlds -- low power CPU usage for the idle OS, while giving the oomph enough to play the latest mobile version of Crysis.

Desktop replacement/STB (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757806)

When your phone can run LibreOffice, the Gimp, Inkscape, and so on, and also do 1080p output via MiniHDMI, you're going to want a quad-core with a nice GPU. So what if you're not using the power when you're carrying the phone around? Hook it up to your TV at home and bam! You've just saved yourself from buying a whole other device. Likewise in the car, there's your navigation and entertainment. Take it to work and do your personal crap on it so as not to mix it with the work systems. Most people never do anything but websurf and watch video so such a phone could feasibly replace their desktop.

Re:Desktop replacement/STB (1)

npsimons (32752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758130)

Hook it up to your TV at home and bam! You've just saved yourself from buying a whole other device.

Especially when you can use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse with it [maemo.org] .

SETI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757810)

I want to be able to run SETI on my phone. I want it to be solar powered too.

Re:SETI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758168)

And I want ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!!

Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Mobile phones require as much heterogeneity as PCs (3, Informative)

znigelz (2005916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757832)

Currently, the Nvidia Tegra 2 chip has 8 cores. A high powered dual core A9-cortex ARM chip, a low powered A7 (for idle state and handling other low power interrupts), a core for HD video encode, a core for HD video decode, a core for audio, and a GPU. Though it lacks the Neon instruction set for full performance SIMD.

OpenCL is currently on its way into the mobile world. Soon the mobile world will also make the transition into streaming multiprocessors. The thought of holding back these innovations is just ludicrous dribble. MIMD is soon going to replace rasterization with backwards rendering, which will require a high amount of complexity, which a quad core would be more ideal. Especially, if you want to exploit the heterogeneity of OpenCL with both the on board GPU and CPU. Maybe cloud rendering will eventually replace this, though I have my doubts. I want to be able to render my screen locally without connecting to the internets.

I hope to one day be able to run test simulations on my tablet while I am waiting in line for lunch, see the results, and then execute heavier distributed processes.

Multi-Threading (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757840)

You actually can write a multi-threaded application for a phone. You can take advantage of a quad-core processor on a system only running one application.

Re:Multi-Threading (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757972)

Considering a typical usage scenario of a phone app: downloading information from a remote source, loading cached data, UI animations, all happening simultaneously... yeah I could easily use 4 cores.

Here's an idea: (2)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757848)

One core running governmnent spyware. One core running phone maker's bloatware One core running MAFIAA trusted computing DRM/spyware One core running the user's apps.

You think 4 cores are bad? (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757878)

Just wait, someday the industry will look back condescendingly at the day yet to come where some tech firm president says something like, '64 cores ought to be enough for anybody.'

Aside from that, streaming a hi-def movie while talking over VOIP with an IRC bot running, a couple of open spreadsheets, and several open Word documents in the background will be far snappier with a quad-core.

Not to mention mobile games. Phones will shortly be the new handheld gaming devinces and users will want to be able to plug them into their large screen HD TVs and still get full screen HD graphics.

cool (1)

MalikBetton (2036844) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757900)

cool

The Future = Atrix Dock (1)

Multiproximus (624754) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757908)

After playing with a Motorola Atrix with the 'PC dock' at a phone store, I really felt like it was the next big step for smartphones. Having a powerful smartphone is one thing, but it remains restricted by limited screen real estate and lousy text entry methods. Being able to expand it into a full PC via HDMI and Bluetooth keyboard 'n mouse is really quite impressive. The only complaint I had about using the Atrix as a PC was that it was sluggish, perhaps something a quad-core CPU could fix, no?

Agreed! and "640K ought to be enough for anybody" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757912)

:) I almost feel like the TS is a troll.

marketing drivel trumps practicality (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757934)

Who cares what kind of real world use it has? Give someone the choice between a phone with 5MP camera and a 6MP camera and more is always better, regardless of actual picture quality. Same with cores. The only thing more effective from a marketing standpoint is giving a fancy new name to existing technology. Your typical consumer is an easily-gamed moron.

Re:marketing drivel trumps practicality (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758026)

yep, the tech heads salivate over this stuff and pay a lot of money

in the 1990's it was the fastest PC with the voodoo2. today it's the newest phone or tablet. my home internet at 15mbps is fast enough for netflix on my 40" TV yet the tech heads are salivating at paying crazy money for LTE to be used on a device 1/10 the size of most TV's. MP3's and AAC was playable on devices almost 15 years ago yet you go to anandtech and people will try to prove to you that you need dual or quad core to listen to music and check email at the same time.

yes, it saves on power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757936)

All things considered, the power used by a CPU increases with the square of the clockspeed. So yes, more cores let you get more more work at lower overall clock speeds than would be required if all processes were using the same core and running it faster/hotter. More cores can and does equal less overall power used.

Encryption can always use more cores (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758000)

I'd love to see smartphones that have encryption built in to everything. Encrypted HD, encrypted communication. Really, they should enable encrypted phone calls, texting, emailing, etc. And the more cores the phone has, the more viable this is (as most users won't stand for it if it makes a phone super slow).

Battery Compression (1)

markus_baertschi (259069) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758004)

I would do battery compression.

Imagine: One core for the phone and three cores transparently decompressing the battery in the background. You'd get three times the battery life !

Finally a smartphone with a battery lasting a full week !

Minting bitcoins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758006)

so is bitcoin legal?

Virtualization, duh (1)

npsimons (32752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758008)

Haven't we been reading the articles about how malware has been ramping up on mobiles [slashdot.org] ? Isn't it obvious that one of the quickest and easiest ways to limit a program's access is to jail it or otherwise virtualize it? And just because *your* smartphone won't let you multitask doesn't mean that mine won't. Having multiple cores (that can be turned off to save power when not needed) would be very handy, thank you very much.

how much multitasking? (5, Funny)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758014)

You need one core for each finger, so if you want four-finger gesturing you need four cores. If you only have one core, you get the finger.

That is why my 8-core imac is soo cool, I have two magic mice - one per hand, and a magic trackpad for each foot; I can type with my nose, and still have 3 cores to spare in case one breaks down.

somebody slap the OP.

Makes perfect sense (1)

Glarimore (1795666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758112)

We are moving towards a future without laptops and desktop PCs. Power-users will of course keep home desktops for some time to come, but your average joe-shmoe would be happy to replace his current laptop with a powerful mobile device. There is no need to tether when you get home if the thing you would be tethering to is the same thing you carry around in your pocket all day.

I predict a future where the only people who have desktops or laptops at home are people in the multimedia business or PC gaming. Everyone else will just have a smartphone with a wireless keyboard and use their home television as a monitor.

Games & porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758114)

what smartphone apps/features/functions — if any — Slashdot readers reckon quad-core chips would enable

Games & porn--what else has ever driven development on any platform?

Only if you write everything in java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758122)

What smart phones really need are more memory, faster flash memory access and not to have their batteries die after 5 seconds of use.

More cores less power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758148)

I was under the impression that developing more cores with a lower clock speed will enable the same computing power while using less energy, thus extending battery time. In any case to say anything is to much power or a waste is laughable at best. I remember my dad bought a computer (years ago) from a guy with 12Gb storage, and I said that sound pretty low, he told me he'll never be able to fill that, a year later we bought an 80Gb Hdd, and today terabytes seem endless. Friend's may I remind you of a few other computer quotes from some well known folks.

“I think there’s a world market for about 5 computers.”
(Thomas J. Watson, Chairman of the Board, IBM, circa 1948)

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”
(Ken Olson, President, Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977)

“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
(Bill Gates, 1981)

“Windows NT addresses 2 Gigabytes of RAM, which is more than any application will ever need.”
(Microsoft, on the development of Windows NT, 1992)

“In the future, computers may weigh no more than 1.5 tonnes.”
– Popular mechanics, 1949

Power Management (1)

micahcochran (1722200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758196)

Power Management, duh. In order to power down the other 3 cores to save battery life.

Penis Size?? (or lack of) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758210)

As I see more and more normal consumers jumping on the "early" adapter bandwagon (upgrading hardware at every new model at any cost), it surely must be to compensate for inadequacies in other aspects of their miserable lives. I am not upgrading this time round, still not enough cores for a poor, socially inept geek like me.

The Future (1)

Timtimes (730036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758216)

When a man has more processor cores in his pocket than he has testicles, I truly believe we've reached the apex of epistemological closure within the mobile computing arena. Enjoy.

Applications in Computer Vision (1)

drewm1980 (902779) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758248)

Just about any application involving computer vision will gobble up as many cores as you throw at it. Think face recognition, product recognition, augmented reality, computational photography, and so on. The list of conceived but not yet commercialized vision-related applications is rather long.

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