Does an Android Tablet need a Quad-Core Processor?
Historically, with desktop and laptop PCs, hardware manufacturers have included a built-in obsolescence plan to encourage (or force) owners to upgrade to the newer and faster machine. And as the hardware became faster and contained more capacity, the operating system and applications grew to fully use the newer technology. Which meant that if you wanted to use that new version of Windows, and/or Photoshop, Quicken, etc. you had to upgrade.
The desktop PC’s hardware was struggling to keep up with the software development. Then, it all changed. Lately, there has not been any significant hardware improvements as far as speed and capacity goes since the hardware capacity has finally exceeded the software demand. Since then, the hardware manufacturers have concentrated their efforts on reducing size, power consumption, and increasing portability. Now we have Solid State Drives (SSD) instead of HDD mechanical hard drives, and we have small tablets that have more power than some of the old main frame computers. Although the SSD drives have a long ways to come before they match the capacity of the current HDD drives, I’m sure that day will come soon. Instead of laptops and notebook PCs, they are now pushing the super thin, light weight, ultra book PCs.
Even the new Windows 8 operating systems is not requiring new hardware to support it. Microsoft is saying that if your computer is running Windows 7, it will also run Windows 8. I suspect that some upgrade will be required to support the new features of Windows 8 such as the touch screen features. But, it is a pretty big milestone in the hardware arena to have a major new OS release that does not require you to buy a whole new computer.
Enter into the picture tablet PCs. These devices went from the embryonic stage to full maturity in a couple of years, and the operating systems grew-up as fast. I agree that the first models were inadequate with the immature Android 1.5 and 2.0 operating systems and with just the single processors, along with apps that were barely there. But, within a short time, we had dual-core processors, 1GB RAM, and 32GB storage, plus Android 3.0. With tablets, we are experiencing the opposite effect with the software struggling to keep up with the hardware development. So far, the hardware far exceeds the software and operating system requirements.
The hardware manufacturers are still doing development and pushing the envelop to make you believe that your dual-core tablet PC is inadequate. However, even Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich runs well on a dual-core processor tablet PC. I’m pressed to find any app that needs something faster than a dual-core to do the job. Adobe has announced some upcoming apps that may require something faster, but, so far, there are no indications that will be true.
Although, with my continuing attitude of always needing the best and fastest technology solution, maybe this writing is mostly to convince myself that my Xoom is more than adequate (which I’m very happy with) and that I don’t need to go buy a new quad-core tablet.
If you’re buying your first tablet, then heck, get a quad-core, especially if the price is not too different from a dual core. But if you can save some significant bucks, I’m sure you’ll enjoy that dual-core just as much, and use the savings to buy that $5 game to play on it.
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