One of the most wonderful things about phones these days, particularly Android phones, is that things are moving so fast. Everything about it is moving fast. When talking to friends about it, I often reference the computer race back from the time period of the early 80′s to about the mid to late 90′s. Processors being spit out faster than anyone could keep up with, each one smashing the last. Intel and AMD duking it out each one trying to deliver faster, more efficient, more affordable, more powerful, and smaller bits of silicon. Some of the more wizened members of our community may remember when it was announced that 256mb storage capacity was achieved! Monumental! Then the next year it was double, shortly after that double that again, and so on and so forth. Sound familiar?
The names Qualcomm and NVIDIA come to mind. But its not every year. Its every other freaking month. It used to be that back in the day, when processors were announced with brand new features, they still largely conceptual. The announcement gave you dreams of great things to come and paced the rate at which you needed to buy things to keep your computer up to date. Well. Now the computers in your hand. And keeping up to date is darn near impossible. Does anyone remember when NVIDIA announced dual core processors in phones? How excited were we? The future was coming! What we could do with that! Multi threading applications, utilizing two cores to carry the workload as efficiently as possible, battery life that would last a good hard days worth of life easy! Not even four months later (if memory serves correctly) phones were coming out rocking the new processor. Four months. Holy crap. They gave us something to yearn, and then delivered it immediately. In and of itself, definitely not a bad thing. But here’s the thing. Show me one application utilizing both cores efficiently. Show me one app capable of multi threading. Show me an Android ROM designed to run properly on both cores without truly killing the battery resources available to it on any version! These things don’t exist yet. The software is not keeping up with the hardware. Why do I say this? Quadcore. Its not coming. Its already here. We have no farther to look the ASUS Transformer Prime. And rumors of the upcoming HTC flagship device sporting NVIDIA’s quadcore Kal-El processor are rampant.
Here’s the problem:
Why release new technology into the world when we aren’t properly utilizing the hardware we have now? The real question, I guess, is when does timely updates turn into: Too much, too fast?
There’s no doubting that quadcore will be awesome, but what exactly does it bring to the table that dual core doesn’t? Benchmarks and such, sure, but when do benchmarks add up to real life usage? Bare with me, cause I don’t hate benchmarks, in fact I look them up when considering new devices everyday. I’m constantly disappointed when the iPhone’s benchmarks beat out Androids, even though its just a number. But why do the iPhone 4S’s scores top our heavy hitters like the Galaxy Nexus or the Galaxy S II or the Galaxy Note? Our devices have the better hardware in nearly every way! Its because of this: Apples iOS is made for its iPhone. Its constantly being tuned, shaped, formed, and crafted to work seamlessly with the hardware which leads to that “Ah its so smooth!” effect. We don’t have that with Android. Granted phones like the Galaxy S II line of phones come somewhat close, but its not the same. Take away the Exynos from the Galaxy S II and what do you have? Its going to slow down like crazy. Android is relying too much on hardware to make a smooth experience. Its not being utilized correctly. Its not being utilized EFFICIENTLY. Android 4.0 is the first step forward in the right direction, but will it be enough? Will it be able to keep up with the people who manufacture hardware for its devices?
It seems to me that every few months Android is being left in the dust by its own hardware.
Instead of pushing for more power, we should be focusing on more power. We do not need quad core phones. Dual core devices more than serve their purpose. Ask anyone who owns a Droid RAZR, a Galaxy S II variant, or a Galaxy Nexus. There is a ton of potential that is being overlooked by people who are simply profiteering (manufacturers who are pushing devices out with incremental upgrades to make more money). Instead of pushing for more power, we should be focusing on more power. Battery life. This issue plagues all phones, but Android phones in particular. Why? What’s sapping your power? The screen. That’s one of the biggest things, as any geek will point out to you. We simply don’t have power efficient high quality displays. We’ve acknowledged that and will move on. Your radios and their signal strength. Turn off wifi when you’re not near it. Turn off 4G when you’re not using it. Turn off Bluetooth unless its in use. These are kind of stupid things. But one thing we all overlook is that your processor is also power hungry. Because its not being utilized efficiently, because its basically tossed data and told to hash through based on raw power alone, it uses up a ton of juice. More cores won’t fix this. It’ll just be more cores being allocated stuff to brute force its way through. More power being sucked up. Until Android is truly designed to work with the software its being put on, power management will continue to be an issue.
My personal wish is that things would slow down. Magic happens when you marry amazing software with amazing hardware. Apple, unfortunately, is proof of this. So is Google, to some extent, with their 4.0 software. But its not anywhere close to where it SHOULD be. And just when Android was just barely catching up with dual core tech, its being outpaced again by quad core. Please, Manufactures, please, listen to this plea from an Android Enthusiast. Sometimes too much…. is way too freaking much! I am more than happy with dual core technology.. and I am not looking forward to having to carry around a battery the size of a briefcase (exaggeration) just to use the thing for a day. Solve the issues at hand, then move onto the next big thing!
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