Current versions of Google’s Android operating system forsmartphones make woeful use of their dual core processors,according to an Intel executive. Poor implementation of threading technology by the operating systemsaps any benefits dual core processing brings to a system — and insome cases can actually be a detriment to performance, contendsMike Bell, general manager of Intel’s Mobile and CommunicationsGroup. Bell told The Inquirer that even the latest version of Android, 4.0 ( Ice Cream Sandwich ) suffers from problems with threading scheduling that limits thebenefits dual core ARM processors bring to Android phones. Inteluses a competing technology, Atom, in its mobile processor. Amusement Park Water Slides
What’s more, he maintains that Intel testing found single coreprocessors running faster than some dual core processors. For a lotof the handsets in the market, it isn’t clear that much benefit isgained by turning on the chip’s second core. Worse yet, “having asecond core is actually a detriment, because of the way some of thepeople have not implemented their thread scheduling,” Bell says. While multicore processors offer performance benefits inenvironments without power constraints, Bell maintained, that’s notthe case with smartphones, which have limits on both powerconsumption and thermal tolerances. Bell doesn’t lay all the blame for the poor performance of dualprocessors on Android’s doorstep. Aquasplash Water Park
Some of the OS’s threadingscheduler problems could be addressed by the chip makers, heasserts, “they just haven’t bothered to do it.” Consider the Source One has to wonder how much of Bell’s thinking is colored by Intel’sexperience in the mobile market. No smartphones currently haveIntel processors in them. The company’s first stab at making amobile chip, Moorestown , flopped. Its latest offering, Medfield, has had better luck. Ithas lined up Motorola and Lenovo to make smartphones with the chips later this year. Water Sprayground
LG’s first Intel phone, the never-released GW990 Nevertheless, it’s true that multicore processing has been used asa marketing tool of Android handset makers. For example, they beganreleasing phones with dual core processors even before Androidcould support those chips. And they’ve rushed to bring quad core phones into the market. While Bell’s remarks on dual core performance may have a marketingspin of their own, the questions they raise need furtherexploration by a party with less of a stake in the market.
IfAndroid can’t handle the existing dual core chips in its handsets,what’s the point of doubling the cores — other than to makemeaningless marketing claims and deceive consumers that they’regetting performance that they’re not. Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.