The first dual-core phone just arrived on our doorstep from Korea and U.S. customers will be able to purchase their very own next month. If you are looking to upgrade your current Android phone (or buy your first) in the next couple of months, check the specs and make sure it has a dual-core CPU as the benefits far outweigh anything a single-core phone has to offer.
However, if you just purchased a new Android phone or your carrier contract doesn’t expire for awhile, then you might want to sit tight and wait on the next generation of super chips. Quad-core processors first appeared in desktop PCs back in 2006 and have long been talked about coming to mobile devices, but 2011 is finally the year that you will find one in your phone.
Sony Computer Entertainment is the first company that I know of to announce availability of a quad-core mobile device. Their successor to the PSP, codenamed Next Generation Portable (NGP), will feature a quad-core Cortex-A9 processor with PowerVR SGX543MP4+ GPU. We don’t know which company will actually provide this CPU to Sony, but you can bet that others will also arrive later this year.
Virtually everyone is working on a quad-core CPU (Qualcomm, Samsung, Texas Instruments), but when you look at the Android landscape for 2011 the two semiconductor companies that are most likely to produce one are Freescale and NVIDIA.
Freescale just announced their i.MX 6Quad system-on-a-chip (SoC) which features four Cortex-A9 cores running at 1.2 GHz and an unknown GPU that can process 200 million triangles per second. They say it should be available this year, but we do not know of any handset makers adopting it yet. Freescale is not really a name we know that well, but they currently power many eReaders and navigation systems (like Amazon Kindle, Ford SYNC, HP Photosmart eStation).
A more likely company to deliver the first quad-core CPU that will show up in an Android phone is NVIDIA. Their Tegra 2 processor was the first dual-core CPU and the company has been preaching about the velocity at which they plan to innovate. We know from leaked company slides that Tegra 3 will feature four Cortex-A9 cores running at 1.5 GHz with a GeForce GPU that can deliver 3x the graphics performance of Tegra 2.
Tegra 3 supposedly started sampling in Q4 2010 and is rumored to be announced next month at Mobile World Congress. If NVIDIA reveals Tegra 3 in a couple of weeks, then surely they are already shopping it around to their customers and it could arrive in products by the end of the year.
So yeah. Quad-core Android phones by Christmas. Any takers?