Pro­cess­ing Power

Af­ter quad-core pro­ces­sors, the new buzz word in the smart­phone world is the octa-core chipset. With Me­di­aTek an­nounc­ing an octa-core chipset, we tell you what it means and what kind of smart­phones you might see in fu­ture.

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS - By Nidhi Sin­gal

What's does octa-core pro­ces­sor mean? Which phone will have it?

With a host of octa-core hand­sets vy­ing to en­ter, the In­dian smart­phone mar­ket could turn into a big­ger bat­tle zone in 2014. Cur­rently dom­i­nated by the Korean giant Sam­sung, which en­joys a mo­nop­oly in this seg­ment, the mar­ket will see as many as five to six new en­trants in 2014. From in­ter­na­tional brands like Sony and LG to In­dian ones like In­tex and Mi­cro­max, most of the hand­set play­ers are ei­ther ready to launch their octa-core de­vices soon or are con­sid­er­ing it. The oc­ta­core hand­set line-up cur­rently has two vari­ants – Sam­sung Note 3 and the Sam­sung S4.

So what’s the whole she­bang around oc­ta­core?

An octa-core pro­ces­sor is a sin­gle com­put­ing com­po­nent with eight in­de­pen­dent cen­tral pro­cess­ing units (a.k.a cores). These are the units that read and ex­e­cute mul­ti­ple CPU in­struc­tions at the same time, in­creas­ing the over­all speed of the pro­grammes open to par­al­lel com­put­ing. Man­u­fac­tur­ers typ­i­cally in­te­grate the eight cores onto mul­ti­ple dies in a sin­gle chip pack­age. The move to­wards multi-task­ing de­vices re­quires in­creased per­for­mance while cre­at­ing greater power

ef­fi­ciency that can be achieved through an op­ti­mised multi-core tech­nol­ogy. This means that multi-core pro­cess­ing ca­pa­bil­ity is fast be­com­ing an in­te­gral part of mo­bile SoC (sys­tem on chip), war­rant­ing an up­grade to octa-core plat­forms.

So far only two play­ers have locked horns over octa-core pro­ces­sors for smart­phones in In­dia. Fin­barr Moyni­han, Gen­eral Man­ager – In­ter­na­tional Sales & Mar­ket­ing at Me­di­aTek Inc. says, “Un­like ex­ist­ing octa-core so­lu­tions, which can only ac­ti­vate half of their CPU cores at once, Me­di­aTek True Octa-Core al­lows for all eight of its cores to run si­mul­ta­ne­ously, of­fer­ing the ul­ti­mate com­bi­na­tion of per­for­mance and power-ef­fi­ciency. By al­low­ing tasks to run con­cur­rently with the use of mul­ti­ple cores, Me­di­aTek True Octa-Core in­tel­li­gently al­lo­cates pro­cess­ing power where it is needed, both on a per-ap­pli­ca­tion and per-task ba­sis.”

But Snap­dragon ad­ver­tises its pro­ces­sors as be­ing more than just a CPU with that many cores. A com­pany state­ment says, “Qual­comm Snap­dragon pro­ces­sors are smartly in­te­grated into a com­plete, bal­anced sys­tem-on-chip so­lu­tion and gain sig­nif­i­cant per­for­mance and power re­duc­tion ben­e­fits through het­ero­ge­neous com­put­ing or us­ing more of the same type of pro­cess­ing engines such as the CPU, re­sult­ing in su­pe­rior mo­bile user ex­pe­ri­ences while en­abling con­sumers to do more and recharge less.”

But in the end, it all boils down to the cost of com­po­nents and the value of the end prod­uct. This is en­tic­ing more and more hand­set man­u­fac­tur­ers to join hands with Me­di­aTek to in­tro­duce octa-core tech­nol­ogy to their cus­tomers.

In­tex Mo­bile was the first of the In­dian smart­phone mo­bile play­ers to host this chipset in its lat­est smart­phone range, which is likely to be launched soon at a com­pet­i­tive price point of around 20,000. The 6 inch smart­phone will be 7 mm thick and will run on An­droid 4.2.2. The phone will boast a 1.7 Ghz octa-core pro­ces­sor and HD IPS touch-screen with an op­tion of 16GB/32GB in­ter­nal mem­ory.

Al­though the com­pany claims it to be an “in­no­va­tion on Me­di­aTek octa-core chipset”, it’s merely an in­dus­try re­fine­ment. There are also leaked im­ages of Huawei’s smart­phone, co­de­named G750. The de­vice is ex­pected to have a 5.5-inch screen of a rather dis­ap­point­ing 720p res­o­lu­tion, along­side 2GB of RAM and 32GB of in­ter­nal mem­ory. Even Mi­cro­max’s next flag­ship smart­phone is ru­moured to have an octa-core pro­ces­sor. The ph­ablet will have a 5 inch dis­play panel with FHD res­o­lu­tion.

Ru­mors have it that Sony will soon be ready with the octa-core in its Xpe­ria se­ries, code named “Tianchi”. Re­port­edly aimed at bud­get-minded con­sumers, Tianchi is said to pack a 6-inch 1280 x 720 dis­play. LG too is said to be ex­per­i­ment­ing with a mo­bile chipset of its own – Odin, in both a quad-core and octa-core ver­sions.

With Me­di­aTek tak­ing a strong po­si­tion for the com­pet­i­tive fu­tur­is­tic tech­nol­ogy, the line-up of the next age octa-core smart­phones will def­i­nitely give Qual­comm and Sam­sung some­thing to think about. As for con­sumers, big fea­tures will now be ac­ces­si­ble on bud­get hand­sets.

RAJ VERMA

In­tex's first smart­phone on octa-core

pro­ces­sor

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