Windows Phone 8 could have dual-core chips but not use them

Qualcomm has revealed that dual-core chips have been approved for Windows Phone 8, but that they may not be used.

Windows Phones could go dual-core in the not too distant future. Qualcomm has revealed that its dual-core chips have been approved for Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft's Windows Phone software currently runs on a range of phones from assorted manufacturers, most notably Nokia, but they're all single-core. Chip-builder Qualcomm has suggested that will change when it's updated to the next big version of the software, Windows Phone 8.

Speaking at Taiwan trade show Computex, a Qualcomm boss told CNET Asia the company's Snapdragon S4 chip has been certified for Windows Phone 8.

Intriguingly he also said that even if a dual-core processor is put into a new Windows Phone, it didn't mean that "both cores would be used". I wonder what that means, as it doesn't make much sense to put an expensive processor in a phone and then fail to use it to its full capability.

Perhaps this is a reference to the way multi-core phones only fire up backup cores when they're taking on a tough task, leaving the day-to-day chores to one core. High-end phones such as the quad-core HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S3, for example, only turn to the extra cores when taking on heavy work like playing fast-moving games or videos.

But the existence of quad-core phones just shows how far Windows Phone is behind other types of mobile. The iPhone 4S is dual-core, and so are many Android phones -- making single-core increasingly look like the budget option.

But that's not to say multi-core is universally popular. Simply chucking in extra cores isn't automatically going to make a phone as powerful as it could be: processor and software must work in perfect harmony too. And some think multi-core is a waste of juice -- Nokia reckons quad-core phones just waste your battery , while Sony sneers at quad-core inefficiency .

Should Windows Phone go dual-core? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.


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