|Pic : Lava’s XOLO 900 powered by intel’s Medfield SOC
Chip giant Intel made a statement lately which could send shock waves in tech world of SOC’s, Smartphones and their Operating System’s.
Mike Bell, GM, Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group in justifying for their late entry into smartphone SOC’s with a single-core ‘Medifield’ Atom processor while other players like Nvidia, Samsung, Qualcomm, TI have dual-core and quad-core chips said,
“The way it’s implemented right now, Android does not make as effective use of multiple cores as it could, and I think – frankly -some of this work could be done by the vendors who create the SoCs, but they just haven’t bothered to do it.”
Intel’s internal testing states that using the second core on a dual-core chip from any other manufacturer actually results in decreased performance versus using a single core. Multi-core implementations were found slower than single-core implementations.
“If you take a look a lot of handsets on the market, when you turn on the second core or having the second core there [on die], the [current] leakage is high enough and their power threshold is low enough because of the size of the case that it isn’t entirely clear you get much of a benefit to turning the second core on. We ran our own numbers and [in] some of the use cases we’ve seen, having a second core is actually a detriment, because of the way some of the people have not implemented their thread scheduling,” Bell said.
“If you are in a non-power constrained case, I think multiple cores make a lot of sense because you can run the cores full out, you can actually heavily load them and/or if the operating system has a good thread scheduler. A lot of stuff we are dealing with, thread scheduling and thread affinity, isn’t there yet and on top of that, largely when the operating system goes to do a single task, a lot of other stuff stops. So as we move to multiple cores, we’re actually putting a lot of investment into software to fix the scheduler and fix the threading so if we do multi-core products it actually takes advantage of it,” Bell added.
Though Google has optimized Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android for multi-core devices, it is not clear how they handle the hardware optimizations. Some may argue that, even if Android is multicore optimized it is not useful unless app developers enhance their code for multi-core processors which is rather shady as they cannot guarantee same performance over multiple devices.
It is worth to note that, Intel released the Lava XOLO 900 mobile with a Gingerbread version of Android which can detect only a single-core of the processor with a promise of future ICS update.