Do Android phones really need such a heavy CPU and RAm on board?

Posted Dec 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm in Threads > Opinions

Hi all,

Hear’s something to think about:
Do our Android need a quadcore and more than 1GB of ram?

If you ask me, I say “no”.
I have a (old) HTC Desire Z and thanks to over 2 years of a great developing community, I am able to run Android 4.1 smoothly.

If you look to other mobile operating systems, i.e. Windows Phone. You see that there is no need for such powerful hardware because the OS is more flexible.

Now since the battery capacity of our phones doesn’t evolve that quick as the need of power does, due to this ridiculous increasing CPU specs. I say, damn you better hardware! Mobile phone manufacturers need more focus on the operating system, firmware and software itself.

So tell me, what’s your opinion?
Do we still need faster hardware or do we need to focus on the software?

  • cutiyar neriman

    We need Just Best Battery otherwise every thing is perfect In android .

  • gp126904

    I think the increase in ram and cpu speeds is there to kinda future proof phones as much as possible. My OG Droid was awesome when it first came out, but in todays lineup it is a dinosaur. Yes they have videos of people running JB on it but how well? I think it is good that manufactures are putting in top of the line specs in our phones because we put an increasing demand on these machines.

    • christiaangombert

      @gp126904 I don’t think manufactures try to futureproof the hardware. Why do they not make use of this hardware and why only develope 1 or 2 updates for every phone? If manufactures want to futereproof phones they should develop better software.

    • SGB101

      Future proofing the phones is bad for longterm business, they want you upgrading after a maximum of 2years.

  • herbivore83

    I would tend to agree with GP. It’s not that the current software demands these specs, but the future might, and so might third-party development. You would be hard pressed to find a version of the software that would not run well on a phone with a quad-core processor and 2GB RAM.

  • B2L

    I think it’s definitely a necessity, every phone I have ever owned hasn’t had enough power for me. My Galaxy Note with 5 full home screens loaded with apps and widgets has some slow down and lag. Also, it’s extremely important for developers so they can release better quality apps and games; without having to worry about any slow downs.

    That’s like asking a PC gamer “Do we really need such a heavy CPU and that much RAM?”, there are several good reasons for upgrading hardware at such a high pace. Some of us do use our phones and tablets as gaming devices. Think of it this way, with hardware advancing so fast; last years high end phones become this years low-mid range phones. Meaning that you get better hardware at a lower price and those that want an extreme amount of power will be happy too.

    • christiaangombert

      @B2L Than why is it that android phones seem to slow down very quickly when adding much apps. iOS and Windows Phone devices seem not to have this problem this dramatically.

      • herbivore83

        I would guess it is due mostly to multitasking. I’m not too familiar with WP8 so maybe I’m talking out of my ass, but Android supports several applications running simultaneously, while iOS only clocks one app at a time.

      • redraider133

        I’ve owned multiple iphones along with the top of the line android phones, and even my iphones slowed down over time. With the cache and everything all phones slow down over time. Funny my iphones slowed down faster than some of my android phones did. I hope google can continue refining android so that it can be as smooth or nearly as smooth as WP and IOS.

  • kookeetree

    I would say optimize software. I have a Toshiba Excite 10 running ICS 4.0.4 and it freezes often especially when viewing vidoes like youtube. When I say often, it’s like 2-3 days when I heavily browse videos.

    But on the iPad I was gifted as a present. I have been using it for a month now and viewing all kind of videos and not even a hiccup.

  • fenlon

    Most of the android community are ultra sensitive to the specs on phones and tabs. Manufactures are always going to push toward that incrementally better processor to gain an edge.

    I guess it just depends where you see these devices going in the future. Will they be full PC replacements or just cool gadgets that are occasionally useful. I think they will continue to move toward replacing desktops/laptops.

    Software and games are definitely pushing hardware and multitasking is becoming more important, so I think we will see the need for both processor and memory improvements.

    • herbivore83

      Just like I like to say “the best camera is the one you have with you,” the same can be said about computers. We are definitely in the early stages of full on computers in our pockets and I’m sure a time will come (really, it’s already here) when you just plug your phone into a dock and BAM there’s your laptop or desktop.

      • fenlon

        …already there, but a long way to go. Poor Webtop.

  • wjptam

    I’m noticing too much swapping on my 2 year old 512MB nexus phone. I can’t imagine how bad a 512MB phone running JB + Sense or TouchWiz could get.

  • alexanderharri3

    You also can’t forget just how many pixels these HD phones are pushing, and how many more pixels a HTC Butterfly/DNA has than the OG Droid or even phones from a year back. Much more to push out.

  • jonstle

    Android uses RAM a little differently that I am used to being a windows guy. Android is designed to use as much of the RAM available to cache apps that we use to make them start faster, and reducing the amount of battery drain caused by reloading applications. So in theory the more RAM you have the faster your phone is.

    When your RAM fills up the OS will begin to make space by removing some of the cached files that are not currently being used.

    Hope that makes sense.

    As far as CPU’s go it all depends on what you want to do with your phone. There are some apps (games mostly) that really push the CPU’s.

  • dino13

    A stupid but true answer would be, why should we need more than 64kb memory. Often we don’t see every good reason right at the begining.

  • sonicdeathmunky

    Ever since I purchased a Nexus 7, I find myself using my phone less and less for anything other than making phone calls. I can see the benefits of quad core being flexible power usage, as each core tends to be smaller than on the dual core handsets. Means that when idle a quad core handset can throttle back to using only a single core and save on power usage. All I want out of a phone now is a great display (for occasional news/video consumption) and maximum battery life. Everything else is now handled by my N7.

  • redraider133

    With all the skins that other platforms do not have, that is the reason that all the ram and processing power is being used. That and the fact that games continue to use the resources provided and the quad core and more ram are only going to make for a better, more smooth and higher detailed experience.

  • jaysond

    the only thing I love about apple is that they can make a ipad run so smooth with 512mb memory and such great battery life,but the drawback is being held back by limitations that ios has due to apples strict tell them what they want policy and no flexibility on users havin a little control over there tablet that they paid so much for

  • Parker

    IN my opinion, software ..i have a rooted LG Lucid, i up my CPU , MY CPU runs at 1080 MHz per min, thanks to CPU manager (the Iphone 4s clocks out at 800MHz per min) and my phone runs about 45% faster now.

    although phones can only run as fast as the software, so this limits my ability. With root and certain apps i can have my phone FAST if only they would focous on software, we could get our phones running way quicker.

  • CTown

    As for the abundance of RAM:

    Android 4.2 takes a little under 400 mb ram (this coming from a Galaxy S running CyanogenMod 10.1). Services that run in the background take like seven to eight mb of RAM each. The settings app (which I use to get these numbers in the first place) takes about 50 mb of ram on its own. So, imagine how much one would need for other apps.

    OEM features like the Galaxy S4′s ability to track your hand and eye movements also take small amounts of RAM. Plus, the fact that these devices have great resolutions and the images that make up the UI take more RAM than devices with screens that have lower resolutions.

    As for the abundance of processing power:

    With the Snapdragon 800, Qualcomm wants their processors to power TVs at the new 4k resolution, sometimes called “Ultra HD”. That’s a lot of pixels to push. Then again, 1080p also contained a lot of pixels. Not only that, NVIDIA wants their Tegra processors to be used in video game consoles. Qualcomm has to compete with NVIDIA on that level as well.

    As for the OEMs, one cannot expect them to equip their flagships with nothing but the best parts around right? Otherwise, it will just be treated like a mid-end device.

  • jonstle

    I think there are many things to consider with this:

    Although I will never buy a new “super phone” when it is released (i am more of a wait a year then buy kind of person) I love the idea of pushing the envelope to see what can be done. When it comes to battery life, a lot of the hardware advances such as quadcore processors are designed to help with this, scaling the number of active cores to meet demand.

    When I see new flagship phones I get excited about what I can get when they are affordable.

  • YouTube Pushka

    I’m OK with phones getting better and better ~ (I can’t believe I can play PS1 and N64 games on my phone)
    But they are more costly..
    I love the idea of Firefox OS to make internet phones available to everyone