While clearly the need for an 8-core smartphone is still a debate, the enablement of hardware partners like Huawei, Mediatek and ARM are creating an ecosystem that enables the software developer to stretch their legs and innovate. While wandering around CES we ran into the Huawei G750 smartphone, the first to be powered by a true 8-core (octa-core) processor.
This phone likely isn't going to find its way to the US market but the design was solid and the user interface, as you would expect, was snappy and smooth. This processor from Mediatek, the MT6592, has the ability to run all 8 Cortex-A7 cores at the same time when the needs arise. Rather than go with the big.LITTLE design route Mediatek instead include 8 of the "little" cores in this design.
Each core is capable of clocking in at 2.0 GHz (though this Huawei model seems to cap at 1.7 GHz) and MediaTek claims that this allows support for 4K high bit-rate H.264 video playback as well as H.265 and VP9 playback.
The concern of a "core race" in the mobile market is definitely real though you have to be impressed by the drive for hardware vendors to improve capabilities. Now we just need to be sure that the software ecosystem and the power management designs are keeping up.
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