The first dual-core phone in the USA, the Motorola Atrix 4G, goes on pre-sale this weekend and it will be available in AT&T stores by March 3rd. That device is powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 processor, but many other semiconductor companies are also working on dual-core solutions.
Qualcomm has their third-generationg, dual-core Snapdragon, Samsung is about to launch their dual-core Orion, and Texas Instruments is readying their dual-core OMAP4 platform.
So when are these other dual-core platforms coming to market?
The last time we talked with Qualcomm at CES, we were told that the dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragons (MSM8x60) would arrive in products by sometime around Q2 2011. Acer previously revealed they have a 7-inch Android tablet using the dual-core CPU slated for April, but we have yet to get any smartphone announcements.
HTC is said to be working on a dual-core handset codenamed Pyramid, which is rumored for a May to June availability. We might get more details at Mobile World Congress next week, but nothing is certain.
Today HP revealed that they will be using a dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon in their upcoming webOS-powered Touchpad. That product has a broad availability of “shipping this summer” so it could land by Q2, but Q3 sounds more likely.
Another interesting note from HP’s press conference was that the Palm3 will feature a second-generationg, single-core Snapdragon (MSM8x55) running at 1.4 GHz. The Snapdragon uses Qualcomm’s custom Scorpion core which has only been clocked up to 1 GHz in a single-core setup, so it’s exciting to see they bumped the clock speed to 1.4 GHz.
Qualcomm also has the 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon (QSD8672) scheduled for Q42011, but we have yet to hear anything new on that chip in awhile. It could be that Qualcomm is retooling that part to better compete with the quad-core Tegra 3 expected to be available around the same time.
The dual-core Orion is Samsung Electronics’ answer to the competition. This chip was supposed to be available to select customers in Q4 2010, but it was only demoed at trade shows and no products have been announced.
Recent rumors had suggested that Orion might slip to Q2 2011 and it appears that is true. Samsung is expected to announce the Orion-powered Galaxy S II this weekend, but I do not expect the product to ship for several more months.
After Orion, Samsung has Pegasus (single-core), Hercules (dual-core), and Aqulia (quad-core). Little else is known about Samsung Electronics’ roadmap.
The OMAP4 is Texas Instruments first dual-core processor and it comes in two versions. First we have the dual-core 1 GHz OMAP4430 that is expected to be available in the first half of 2011 and then the dual-core 1.5 GHz OMAP4440 slated for the second half.
RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook tablet is the only OMAP4 product to be announced so far, which is rumored to go on sale in April.
LG is also announcing their Optimus 3D at Mobile World Congress next week which is rumored to feature the OMAP4430, but it is too soon to predict the availability.
NVIDIA might have produced the first dual-core solution, but everyone else is working like crazy to catch up. If you are wondering why everyone is going dual-core crazy, then you should go back and read 5 compelling reasons you will want to buy a dual-core mobile device to see what the fuss is about.
I suspect that several of the dual-core platforms arriving in Q2 will surpass the performance of Tegra 2, but NVIDIA also has a speed bump coming this summer (Tegra 2 3D) and should have their quad-core ready by Christmas.
Analyst predicted that multi-core penetration in smartphones will reach 15 percent by the end of this year, and I would say that’s a fairly safe bet.
My next device will be dual-core and by this summer every operator should have a dual-core option in their stores. If you are in the market for a high-end Android device, I suggest waiting just a couple more months and I expect your carrier of choice will have something that makes you want to part with your hard-earned cash.
Which dual-core offering do you want in your next Android device?