Intel is just starting to get its feet wet in the smartphone space thanks to new low power Atom processors. But one day the chip maker hopes to ship 48-core microprocessors designed for smartphones and tablets.
And according to ComputerWorld, that day is around 5 to 10 years away.
If you look at the pace of advancements over the past few years that goal seems pretty reasonable. In fact, by the time 48-core smartphone chips are available, they probably won’t seem all that revolutionary. After all we’ve moved from single core to quad-core chips in mobile devices in just the last few years.
In fact, it’s only been about 5 years since the first iPhone went on sale, and today that device looks pretty dated.
While 48 processors cores might sound like overkill, there are good reasons to add multi-core capabilities to chips. It allows a phone, tablet, or other device to execute multiple instructions simultaneously without sharing resources. This leads to faster performance, better support for multitasking, and lower power consumption (since multiple cores can run at lower voltages than a single core trying to perform multiple tasks at once).
That doesn’t just mean it’ll be easier to listen to music while surfing the web. Applications designed to take advantage of multi-core chips could benefit as well. For instance games could use different processor cores to render different graphics effects, or a video player could decode multiple video frames at once.
While Intel marches towards 48-cores, I don’t expect competitors ARM or AMD to sit still. All told, the phone and tablet space could look as different 5 years from now as it did the day before the iPhone was unveiled.