It isn’t like quad-core smartphones are unexpected but it is still amazing that the power of four processors can be sandwiched between thin pieces of glass – communicating over 4G networks and doing what a supercomputer of just over a decade or so ago could do.
This past November I wrote a piece equating the absolutely ferocious pace of advancements in the Android space to the same situation back in the eighties where the PC slaughtered Apple in the price/performance wars. The core of my argument was the Samsung Galaxy S II a sleek smartphone sporting a dual core 1.5 GHz processor, 4G and a 4.5 inch Super AMOLED Plus display. It is a brilliant device and immediately gave me Android envy. The story which is repeating itself is an entire industry will be competing, coming out with faster and better devices while Apple will have fewer product rollouts. Apple will have to get every launch just right while the rest of the field coming out with so many devices can afford to have numerous failures before they come out with a runaway hit.
It is worth pointing out that Apple’s slower iPhone S processor actually has been shown to perform better at web browsing meaning Apple has done an amazing job regarding making their processor more efficient.
So now it is less than two months later and there is already talk of a quad-core Galaxy S III Samsung smartphone which will likely be at MWC and hopefully ES. I plan to be at both shows and hope to see it live and in-person.
You can probably tell that I come from the more processors is better school of consumer electronics and although such details may not be considered by most consumers – the reality is functions like speech recognition and photo and video editing need powerful processing capability. Siri is a wonderful example as it only runs on the faster processor of the iPhone 4S.
There is also the gaming category of apps which need superior processing power. In fact if history is a guide, new killer apps will emerge which will make use of the additional horsepower available.
Moreover, as mobile operating systems continue to evolve they could strain existing devices meaning less processing cycles available for the apps. Case in point is iOS 5 has made some games on the iPad 2 less responsive.