It looks like quad-core tablets will arrive by Christmas this year, and quad-core smartphones will follow on in the first half of 2012. Both Nvidia and Qualcomm have announced that their quad-core processors are on the way, both will use a 28nm die size which will help reduce heat and power consumption.
Hopefully we will see smartphones with 5+ times the performance of current single-core handsets appear at Mobile World Congress in February 2012. Qualcomm are saying they wil have a 2.5Ghz quad-core processor available to manufacturers any day now. The below video shows Nvidia demonstrating the Kal-El chipset using the benchmarking software ‘coremark’. This video was back in February so it is likely performance will be enhanced further when Kal-El actually hits smartphones next year.
These quad-core processors promise super-HD 3D gaming at 2560 x 1600 resolution … which is absolutely incredible for a portable device! You could actually argue that the majority of users do not need this much power.
So the question is, what will we be doing with our smartphones and tablets in 3 years with 20x the performance of today’s average laptop computer? Will we actually need that much power? Or is the race to increase power also the race to reduce power consumption (if things are processed faster you use less)? I suspect that is the real reason.