Intel: Android is not ready for multi-core processors
June 10, 2012 at 22:47 GMT | By John Williams
Google's Android operating system is not ready for multi-core processors, according to Intel. The chip-maker has claimed that system-on-chip [SoC] vendors have not done enough to optimise Android for multi-core processors, The Inquirer reports.
Intel said that ARM vendors should do more to optimise Android for multi-core processors as it does not effectively make use of multiple cores. This comes as Intel's single-core Medfield Atom processor enters the market at time when almost all of the big hitting ARM vendors are focusing efforts on dual-core and quad-core processors. Although Intel's Medfield Atom processor does have pseudo multi-threading capability thanks to the firm's Hyperthreading technology, Intel still needs to defend Medfield against the obvious question of how it can compete with quad-core processors from ARM chip designers Nvidia, Qualcomm and Samsung. According to Mike Bell, GM of Intel's Mobile and Communications Group, the firm's defence is that Android's thread scheduler simply isn't ready for multi-core processors. Bell said:
"If you are in a non-power constrained case, I think multiple cores make a lot of sense because you can run the cores full out, you can actually heavily load them and/or if the operating system has a good thread scheduler. A lot of stuff we are dealing with, thread scheduling and thread affinity, isn't there yet and on top of that, largely when the operating system goes to do a single task, a lot of other stuff stops. So as we move to multiple cores, we're actually putting a lot of investment into software to fix the scheduler and fix the threading so if we do multi-core products it actually takes advantage of it. If you take a look a lot of handsets on the market, when you turn on the second core or having the second core there [on die], the current leakage is high enough and their power threshold is low enough because of the size of the case that it isn't entirely clear you get much of a benefit to turning the second core on. We ran our own numbers and in some of the use cases we've seen, having a second core is actually a detriment, because of the way some of the people have not implemented their thread scheduling. I've taken a look at the multiple core implementations in the market, and frankly, in a thermal and/or power constrained environment - what has been implemented - it isn't obvious to me you really get the advantage for the size and the cost of what's going into that part. The way it's implemented right now, Android does not make as effective use of multiple cores as it could, and I think - frankly - some of this work could be done by the vendors who create the SoCs, but they just haven't bothered to do it. Right now the lack of software effort by some of the folks who have done their hardware implementation is a bigger disadvantage than anything else," said Bell."We know it might sound a bit spiteful coming from a company wanting a slice of the action the mobile chip market, but we must say we [naturally] agree with everything Mr Bell said. I goes to show that all those crying out for multi-core processors on Windows Phone just need to be a tad bit patient. Windows Phone 7 is optimized for single core processors and runs like a dream, with low-end Windows Phones running smoother than some high-end Android devices. We know that when multi-core chips come to Windows Phone, it will be done right.
SOURCE: The Inquirer VIA: WMPU
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