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AT&T's HTC One X won't be quad-core (and here's why)

While the rest of the world will get HTC's One X superphone with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, the cost of LTE for AT&T's version is a dual-core processor.

AT&T's HTC One X smartphone is one of the first to feature Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Sense 4.0.

BARCELONA, Spain--HTC's newest flagship device, the HTC One X, sounds like a killer phone on paper--Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, huge HD screen, and a quad-core processor. But that's only if you get the global version.

The U.S. version of the device, which is bound for AT&T within the next 60 days, will add LTE capabilities (the global version stops at HSPA+42 support), but will lose its chance to claim the title of America's first quad-core device.

The trade-off for network speed is processing power.

Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 processor holds court in the global version of the HTC One X, but at the time of production several months back, the chip wasn't LTE compatible, according to HTC. Although quad-core phones with Tegra 3 under the hood will be LTE-ready for future phones, AT&T's version of the device will use Qualcomm's dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, which is plenty fast in its own right.

HTC and AT&T are betting that in the hotly competitive the U.S. market, 4G LTE trumps four cores any day of the week. We'll soon see if they're right.