What Mobile Users Need Fast CPU or Better Battery Life

What Mobile Users Need Fast CPU or Better Battery Life
What Mobile Users Need Fast CPU or Better Battery Life

What Mobile Users Need Fast CPU or Better Battery Life : Samsung’s Galaxy S4 hit the headlines when it was alleged that it was returning artificially enhanced benchmark scores in tests. The discrepancies were revealed by Anandtech following an extensive investigation. The writers found code that ramped up CPU- and GPU usage when certain benchmark software was detected. The Galaxy S4 would therefore appear faster than it might be in real-world use and, perhaps more importantly, faster than any of its competition. Samsung was quick to deny any wrong doing, explaining that the behavior of the chips is altered in response to different user requirements. But Anandtech’s finding of a code string named ‘BenchmarkBooster’ led many to brand it a cheat. The fact remains that the Galaxy S4 is a screamingly quick handset. So why does it matter what the benchmarks say?

 

What Mobile Users Need Fast CPU or Better Battery Life

 

 

What Mobile Users Need Fast CPU or Better Battery Life
What Mobile Users Need Fast CPU or Better Battery Life

 

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What Mobile Users Need Fast CPU or Better Battery Life

 

What Mobile Users Need Fast CPU or Better Battery Life
What Mobile Users Need Fast CPU or Better Battery Life

 

Benchmark obsession

 
History offers us several tales of similar obsessions with benchmarks and technical specifications. In the 80s and 90s, PC processor makers would herald even the tiniest speed increases in technically detailed advertisements, the deciphering of which required engineering prowess. And as a new millennium dawned and digital cameras came to the fore, we saw the beginning of a megapixel race – recently won by Nokia with its 41Mp Lumia 1020. Today, manufacturers are commencing battle over the number of processor cores and speeds. But do consumers really care?

Too much power

 

In the early days of connected computing an awful lot of patience was required. Dial-up internet was extemely slow in the old days, and the miniscule amount of memory fitted inside a PC meant processing was conducted at a pedestrian pace. Today, things are appreciably different, and almost any computer will meet the demands of the average user. Firing off emails, watching videos from YouTube, browsing the internet, basic to advance image and video editing, media management and even basic video editing are all easily possible on the budget laptop you picked up alongside your sausages and beans in Tesco. Heck, most are possible on the smartphone that’s always by your side. Cloud services and storage are deconstructing the premise that a big desktop machine should be the central repository for your documents and media. And we’re seeing new relationships built between our mobile devices and large-screen TVs that bypass the PC altogether. A PC will always find work in the office or with more processor-intensive tasks, but consumer focus has shifted from business to lifestyle. In smartphones, for example, the camera and battery life are the two specs to which customers pay the most attention.

 

Pleasing a minority

 

With this in mind, it’s all the more bizarre that Samsung would risk public disgrace to bump up some numbers that really don’t matter to its potential audience. At the Galaxy S4’s launch the company went to great lengths to highlight the various new camera functions, hands-free operating tricks and bespoke software. That’s what appeals to consumers. But whereas the general populace are happily oblivious to the innards of their gadgets, there remains a cadre of customers who care how things work. They know how much RAM will mean an early retirement from a software upgrade path, or which GPU will handle the latest games. Nevertheless, recent evidence suggests that even this hardcore chapter is beginning to succumb to the mantra that what we already have is good enough.

 

New tactics

 

When Google-owned Motorola released a teaser poster for its upcoming Moto X, speculation on the device spread like wildfire. Some hoped for a successor to the Nexus 4, replete with Google-subsidized pricing; others contemplated a super-phone to lead the Android charge. The curtains were raised to outrage and disappointment: the Moto X appeared to be a mid-range handset with a premium price. But the specs didn’t tell the full story. As the fi rst reviews appeared, it became clear that the Moto X was in fact very good. By trading top-end components for those with a slightly lower spec, Motorola had produced a handset with smooth performance and excellent battery life. It might not top the performance charts, but the Moto X ticked all the boxes. One might suggest that smartphone have now come of age, and the most mileage for future improvements lies in the user interface. Google has worked hard to refine its Android OS, while Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 is unquestionably well designed. Even Apple has given iOS a major overhaul in version 7. We’ll always want faster chips and more RAM, but perhaps the next great battleground will be found not inside our devices but on their screens. There’ll be no pulling the wool over our eyes here.

  • I think the current trend to push memory, cpu and bandwidth through the roof for no seemingly good reason is the same as the one that happened in the PC-era, they are all competing for sales, they know if they put out an 8 core cpu, people will buy that, they’ll look at their dual core gaming device and think “WOW!!! Thats gonna be amazing!!” and it will be amazing, but also will cost you €500 to buy such a beast.

    The benefit? Well, look at the PC or Laptop’s you can buy now, they have more power and more memory than most people will want for a long time, do you remember the time when going from 100Mhz to 200Mhz was a big deal? Well, do you remember that feeling when your desktop had 4GB of ram and you “needed” 8GB? I have to admit to needing 8GB of ram because I’m a developer and I use a lot more resources than other people, but my mum would never need 8GB….she barely pushes her Samsung Galaxy SII to the limit, she’s not going to need that, but some people might….

    So ultimately, we’ve become saturated with power that we no longer really need more and when you do, it’s available, you don’t need to wait for a cpu or gpu company to invent it because we basically have it coming down the line, or it’s already here….so we don’t really push that much harder, of course consoles will grab the specialised graphics intensive experiences from the PC-nerds who will try to run crisis on the highest settings but apart from those guys, nobody really needs more than the €300 laptop from PC World.

    This is a great thing, because it means we have everything we need and more, you don’t “need” anything more, you’ve got everything you want and now perhaps we can think about distributing that power in more clever ways, now that nobody really cares about the Ghz or number of cores, because they are ubiquitous, maybe we can now start to think of better ways to use that insane amount of power.

    This same curve is happening in the mobile devices we use, they’re getting insane upgrades, build in technology already perfected from laptops, nobody needs to experiment with how to build better and faster, they already know and the tech is far more advanced, so your mobile device can sometimes have more memory and cpu speeds than the laptop you do your real work on, my HTC One X has a quad core cpu, my mums laptop only has a dual core….It also uses a lot less power to do that, so perhaps some of that tech will come back to laptops, like in devices such as the google chromebooks and android notebooks that might be coming over the horizon shortly.

    Today is an exciting time to be alive..