The most common of these processors are Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, Texas Instrument’s OMAP 4 and Samsung’s Hummingbird. The main advantages that smartphone users can expect from multi-core chips include faster web page loading, better performance, a better gaming experience, smooth user interface and better multitasking. Increasingly, smartphones can be used to watch television, and can play and capture full high definition, or 1080p resolution video.
Features such as DLNA media streaming and HDMI output allow users to watch videos from their phones on their televisions. Forget the DVD player, the phone is all set to work as a most versatile media player, and this is just one aspect of what can be done using phones based on multi-core chipsets .
Hard core gamers would love the extra layer of detail in game graphics and the speed with which games are rendered on phones.
Some smartphones such as Motorola’s Atrix fit into a dock that has a keyboard and monitor so that they end up working like computers.
Most high end smartphones run on these chips. All the big manufacturers – from Apple to Motorola to HTC – are making phones using 1GHz processors. In the run up to the transition towards dual core chips, Nvidia is the company which managed to garner most attention by coming up with dual core Tegra 2 chips. In fact, the tablet version of Android, version 3.0 or Honeycomb, has been designed around it, and this operating system is capable of running several applications at once.
This doesn’t mean that other dual core chips are far behind. The TouchPad from HP is likely to use a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, whereas Acer will use a 1 GHz Snapdragon for its Iconia Smart tablet. HP’s TouchPad will be based on WebOS operating system, and Iconia Smart will run on Android. BlackBerry PlayBook from Research In Motion runs on QNX operating system powered by a 1 GHz dual core OMAP 4 processor. The smartphones using dual core Tegra 2 processors include Motorola Atrix and LG Optimus 2X, and Samsung Galaxy S II uses a similar processor produced by Samsung itself.
Multi-core phones are not going to arrive in the market any time soon, but this technology has been demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress. The actual performance of three or four core processors in phones remains to be seen, and their arrival may take some time. The companies which have announced multi-core processors include Freescale and Marvell. Nvidia is also coming up with a quad core chip known as Kal-El.
So one thing is for sure, mobile hardware is moving ahead at great speed, and to keep up with processing requirements, more and more cores are simultaneously being used in phone processors. Anything is possible on smartphones, and if there is something users can’t do, they just need to wait.