By Aldo Panessidi
Intel exec Mike Bell said in a recent interview that rival chip manufacturers aren’t doing enough to optimize Android for multi-core processors. Intel recently entered the Android market with its single-core Medfield Atom processor, defying the trend set by other chip makers towards dual-and quad-core development.
Intel is doing what it can to stand up to multi-core market dominators like Samsung, NVIDIA and Qualcomm. Intel’s general manager of mobile and communications Mike Bell acknowledged that Intel has supported multi-core chips since Android 2.3.4 but noted that internal testing had shown that multi-core chips sometimes run slower than single-core models. He said they’ve concluded that, in order to address this problem, Android needs to be more compatible with multi-core processors.
“If you take a look a lot of cell phone 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,” Bell claimed. “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 also said that he has “taken a look at the multiple core implementations in the market, and frankly, in a thermal and/or power constrained environment – what has been implemented – it isn’t obvious to me you really get the advantage for the size and the cost of what’s going into that part.”
Intel isn’t talking about a deadline for the delivery of a multi-core Atom processor. Bell would only say that the company is investing in “software to fix the scheduler and fix the threading so if we do multi-core products it actually takes advantage of it.”