These days, we know that more megapixels, megahertz and megabytes don't necessarily make for a better computing experience. But with the next generation of smart phones, more might actually be better — especially where processing cores are concerned. NVIDIA, in a recent Tegra white paper, explained the benefits of having multiple CPU cores inside a next smart phone and tablet — and the reason is more than just speed.
The problem with current processors is that modern mobile operating systems like iOS and Android place a great deal of strain on a processor when running rich multimedia applications. In NVIDIA's example, browsing a flash-heavy website while listening to Pandora in the background can easily eat up 100% of a CPU's available cycles. However, splitting that load between multiple cores allows you to have two cores with only 50% load.
As you probably know by now, other manufacturers have their own dual-core plans in place as well. We mentioned earlier this week that Texas Instrument's latest A9-powered OMAP 4 processor can activate a secondary core on-demand, while still offering better performance and less power draw than the OMAP 3 chips currently used in the Motorola Droid and Palm Pre. Meanwhile, Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon processor — a 28nm chip — is promising "five times the performance of the original Snapdragon chip at 75 percent less power," according to the company last month.