Nokia CEO Says Multi-Core Processors for Phones Hurt, Not Help Users

Nokia logoChinese-language publication Yangchen brings some interesting comments by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. The ex-Microsoft veteran and recent import to the Finnish phonemaker is quoted as dismissing multi-core phones as a gimmick.

He comments [translated], "Dual-core, quad-core mobile phones are just a waste of battery, and are seldom useful."

China -- a strong market for Nokia and the world's largest smartphone market -- has been the target of a big push for the company's Lumia-branded Windows Phones. The advertising push is dubbed "Blown Away by Lumia". The phonemaker is offering a bounty of 1,000 yuan ($158.66 USD) if users can beat Windows Phone in a task of their choosing.

Windows Phone OS-maker Microsoft and Nokia are running a similar promotion at the Mobile World Congress 2012 dubbed "Smoked by Windows Phone". That contest offered winners a laptop and free phone.

Controversy erupted when Microsoft denied one user his winnings, despite the fact that he appeared to "beat" the Lumia with his Android-based phone. Both phones were preconfigured with weather widgets, so the contest devolved into who could unlock the fastest and the Android held a narrow edge (or its user did perhaps). At first Microsoft refused to give out the prize. Still, Microsoft and Nokia eventually relented and ponied up the promised prize.

Stephen Elop

Stephen Elop is cited as saying Nokia has never lost the contest, yet, perhaps not counting that technical loss a true loss. It's worth noting that this isn't the first time Nokia's CEO has poo-pooed on the suggestion of multi-core.

Microsoft, for its part, says it will soon offer a new version of Windows Phone that includes multi-core support, though enthusiasm at Nokia about this development appears to be lacking.

So far some high end Androids and the iPhone 4S offer dual cores, but generally at slightly lower clock speeds.

Indeed, as an early Lumia 900 LTE adopter, I have to say Mr. Elop is right, for the most part. Outside of a handful of demanding games, I have seen no slowdown whatsoever with Windows Phone.

The phone uses an overclocked 1.4 GHz APQ8055 (second generation Snapdragon) from Qualcomm. The fact that it actually feels smoother than my older Android and on-par with Apple iPhone 4S and newer dual-core Androids, in terms of responsiveness, tells me two things:

  1. Microsoft's core OS is very efficient in terms of processor/memory use.
  2. The majority of core apps are still lightly threaded at best on smartphones.

The only place where the Lumia is "smoked" so to speak is in high-end graphics performance. For example the iPhone can play high-polygon, almost PC-quality games like Infinity Blade -- something the Nokia has thus far not shown itself to be capable of, to my knowledge.

With Dead Space Mobile coming to the Lumia 900, courtesy of Electronic Arts, that should be an interesting test of exactly how far or close Nokia is graphics-wise, as that's a pretty high-poly free-moving first-person shooter. A couple of other potentially taxing titles -- Need for Speed and Mirror's Edge are also coming.

WP7 Connect reports that these titles will be free, but other articles don't seem to mention this, so it's unclear whether this is accurate.

Nokia and EA have not announced a precise date yet. The deal will also add perennial favorite Plants v. Zombies.

Source: DailyTech

Tags: Nokia, smartphones, Windows Phone

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