Nokia CEO: Multi-core phones are “just a waste of battery”

With the announcement at last month's Mobile World Congress of its new entry-level Lumia 610 handset - along with confirmation that its flagship Lumia 900 will soon launch in new markets around the world - Nokia now has a broad range of Windows Phones filling numerous price points. But one criticism that is still levelled at Nokia - and at the broader Windows Phone ecosystem - is the lack of hardware diversity across its devices.

The absence of dual-core and quad-core processors from Windows Phone remains something of a sore spot for some users, who believe that such devices must therefore be less capable than Android handsets and iPhones. In an interview with China's Yangcheng Evening News (via Pocket-lint) - ahead of the launch of Nokia's Lumia devices there this month - Nokia CEO Stephen Elop seized the opportunity to tackle this perception.

He claimed that the dual-core and quad-core processors that have found their way into new high-end devices are “not so useful” and “just a waste of battery”. He also cited contests such as Microsoft's ‘Smoked By Windows Phone' and Nokia's similar ‘Blown Away By Lumia' as proof that users don't necessarily need multiple cores to be able to achieve ‘real life' tasks quickly and efficiently.

Of course, he'll probably change his tune when Nokia releases its first dual-core Lumias - most likely with the launch of Windows Phone 8 later this year, which is expected to introduce much greater hardware diversity into the ecosystem.


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He also cited contests such as Microsoft's ‘Smoked By Windows Phone' and Nokia's similar ‘Blown Away By Lumia' as proof that users don't necessarily need multiple cores to be able to achieve ‘real life' tasks quickly and efficiently.

So you don't need a dual core to send a tweet or update your facebook status. Cool, who would have thought. Then again you don't need a smartphone either.

I don't know if WP7 needs a dual core, what I know is that WP7 devices can't record 1080p video.

Being able to squeeze the resources and run smooth on low hardware is nice and everything, but if you don't have enough hardware you don't have enough hardware. Period.

Edited by ichi, Mar 16 2012, 1:30pm :

If I remember correctly, at the moment Windows Phone OS doesn't support multiple cores. Somehow that comment doesn't seem so strange with that in mind...

Wow... The amount of bashing users and trolling really hard is intense.
It's even worse in this news thread than on MacRumors on the "good" days...

Amazing...

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,
Wow... The amount of bashing users and trolling really hard is intense.
It's even worse in this news thread than on MacRumors on the "good" days...

Amazing...

GS:mac

I wonder if they would get this worked up if the topic was "Which brand of toilet paper is the best?"

Teasing someone at work who has an iPhone 4S which happens to run out of battery by 13:00 while my low-end HTC radar is about to go down to 95%

Android CPU Usage
Core 1 100% droid launcher with wacky wallpaper and iOS ripoffs
Core 2 100% GooglePhoneHomeTrackingServices
Core 3 100% hot girlz xxx malware lol 3.0
Core 4 100% Malware Scanner that didn't catch what's on Core 3

Enron said,
Android CPU Usage
Core 1 100% droid launcher with wacky wallpaper and iOS ripoffs
Core 2 100% GooglePhoneHomeTrackingServices
Core 3 100% hot girlz xxx malware lol 3.0
Core 4 100% Malware Scanner that didn't catch what's on Core 3

Oh look an iOS fanboy that knows nothing about phones.

Beyond Godlike said,

Oh look an iOS fanboy that knows nothing about phones.

I know enough about phones to stay away from Google's offerings.

Enron said,

I know enough about phones to stay away from Google's offerings.

And that's all you need to know.

He's right. Have a co-worker that keeps his phone plugged in all day long so the battery doesn't die. We have a temp here that I've had to charge her phone a couple of times. The only time I ever plug my Focus in is when I forgot to do it the night before. It easily goes 1 1/2 days with no charging. Only a few times has it drained early. I've only had it die on me once when I didn't plug it in all the way.

multicore is not a waste of money at all. You don't need to have all the cores on, just when you need it for high power apps like games. Nokia is just saying this because the 900 does not have a multi core processor.

For existing multicore phones I'd have to agree.

The low power ninja core of the tegra3 has me thinking that the statement will be proven wrong.

Of course it all depends on having a great OS on top that can manage the cores effectively, maximizing battery life over single core alternatives.

Devices that are running one full screen application and a few smaller background tasks have plenty of CPU cycles. PCs didn't start moving to SMP or dual-core until just a few years ago, and now we expect phones to have them?

This is where the disconnect in thinking happens. A few years ago 1gb of RAM and a DX9 video card was considered INSANE for Windows Vista to require.. Now we have Android that runs like crap with 512mb of RAM, and needs 1gb of RAM, and needs TWO CPUs and still has horrible GPU performance, scaling 5x-15x slower graphics on the same hardware as WinCE/Win7 can performance graphically.

And this is ok for Android on a freaking phone today? Really?

Windows 7 DESKTOP runs as well and DOES 100x more in background OS operations than Android, yet runs just as well on 512mb of RAM and better at 1GB of RAM, it performs and muli-tasks great on ONE CPU.

And again, we are discussing how important dual-CPUs are on a PHONE?

Just because iOS and Android SUCK at scheduling and threading on a single CPU, does not correlate to WinCE or NT that DO schedule and thread well on one CPU, use the GPU, and also excel at SMP where NT can run 32 or 64 CPUs in a system without the OS thread management negating performance like you get on Linux and OS X.

It is time for people thinking this is rational, to reconsider the Vista insanity, and then go learn about the NT kernel and OS model, as IT IS NOT LIKE Linux or OS X and was designed to AVOID the pitfalls of the Unix model.

PS Android is far worse than Linux itself, as the Dalvik JVM takes over the scheduling and memory management from the Linux kernel and is HORRIBLE. It is horrible on the scale that it makes Windows 3.1 look like Star Trek technology in comparison.

thenetavenger said,
Windows 7 DESKTOP runs as well and DOES 100x more in background OS operations than Android, yet runs just as well on 512mb of RAM and better at 1GB of RAM, it performs and muli-tasks great on ONE CPU.

I'll add
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/arc...processor-architecture.aspx

You can find in this blog NT 6.2 architecture (soon to land on WP) on ARM running full Desktop with 256RAM, single core while having 90MB physical RAM free. And the best thing is that this is not optimized at all.

thenetavenger said,
Devices that are running one full screen application and a few smaller background tasks have plenty of CPU cycles.

Does that mean PC's will revert back to single cores with the introduction of Windows 8?

simplezz said,

Does that mean PC's will revert back to single cores with the introduction of Windows 8?

If we count WOA on Windows 8 as PC's then yes.

thenetavenger said,
Devices that are running one full screen application and a few smaller background tasks have plenty of CPU cycles. PCs didn't start moving to SMP or dual-core until just a few years ago, and now we expect phones to have them?

This is where the disconnect in thinking happens. A few years ago 1gb of RAM and a DX9 video card was considered INSANE for Windows Vista to require.. Now we have Android that runs like crap with 512mb of RAM, and needs 1gb of RAM, and needs TWO CPUs and still has horrible GPU performance, scaling 5x-15x slower graphics on the same hardware as WinCE/Win7 can performance graphically.

And this is ok for Android on a freaking phone today? Really?

Windows 7 DESKTOP runs as well and DOES 100x more in background OS operations than Android, yet runs just as well on 512mb of RAM and better at 1GB of RAM, it performs and muli-tasks great on ONE CPU.

And again, we are discussing how important dual-CPUs are on a PHONE?

Just because iOS and Android SUCK at scheduling and threading on a single CPU, does not correlate to WinCE or NT that DO schedule and thread well on one CPU, use the GPU, and also excel at SMP where NT can run 32 or 64 CPUs in a system without the OS thread management negating performance like you get on Linux and OS X.

It is time for people thinking this is rational, to reconsider the Vista insanity, and then go learn about the NT kernel and OS model, as IT IS NOT LIKE Linux or OS X and was designed to AVOID the pitfalls of the Unix model.

PS Android is far worse than Linux itself, as the Dalvik JVM takes over the scheduling and memory management from the Linux kernel and is HORRIBLE. It is horrible on the scale that it makes Windows 3.1 look like Star Trek technology in comparison.

That's a cool technical lecture but the problem is that my Nexus S is running great with 512MB and a single core, so go back and get your facts straight.

And then it's interesting learning that WP7's scheduler works great, but the fact is WP7's hardware just can't do things like recording 1080p video or running some of the games available on other platforms. You have a hardware limitation right there.

And comparing the number of cores on PCs with those on phones is pointless: pretty much every PC people buy is a x86 while phones run on ARM, which only has a % of x86's performance per CPU clock.

This again? I find his argument weak and self serving. I just went from a 600mhz "smartphone" to a 1.4ghz, both single core and the difference is night and day. I happen to like having a map app running, a dozen services like Phone locator pro, doggcatcher, etc and at least a dual core would be nice to have and think a lot of people would agree. Might be a little bit of overkill for quad, but hey don't buy it if you don't want it. I just love how some people think everyone should use their gear like they do. Says a lot about them.

He didn't say they'd be a waste of battery forever.

But for what Nokia is doing right now with WP, having a multi-core processor would be a waste of battery. And for many of the multi-core phones out there right now, it is a waste of battery.

It will get more efficient in time.

Multicores are a waste with Nokia phones because there's not much you can really do with them except go on facebook. However, I can do that with a feature phone.

Once WP7 gets some decent apps/games, then it might benefit from multiple cores and more than 512mb of ram.

simplezz said,
Multicores are a waste with Nokia phones because there's not much you can really do with them except go on facebook. However, I can do that with a feature phone.

Once WP7 gets some decent apps/games, then it might benefit from multiple cores and more than 512mb of ram.

What is it you want to do on the phone that you seem to think you can't?

simplezz said,
Multicores are a waste with Nokia phones because there's not much you can really do with them except go on facebook. However, I can do that with a feature phone.

Once WP7 gets some decent apps/games, then it might benefit from multiple cores and more than 512mb of ram.

Not sure if you're trolling or not, but I'll bite anyway.

There are actually a lot of very good apps and games on Windows Phone 7 already. The biggest problem I found (or rather didn't as the case maybe) was trying to get access to them. The default market place is rather weird, limited views on content and seems to promote certain games or apps more then others. Download one of the popular alternatives, such as "appflow" and you'll find a weath of apps and games for the Windows Phone.

The market place, as it stands, is the biggest let down for me as an owner of a Windows Phone, hopefully Microsoft can sort that out sooner rather then later...

sagum said,

Not sure if you're trolling or not, but I'll bite anyway.

No I'm not.
sagum said,

There are actually a lot of very good apps and games on Windows Phone 7 already.

I love playing games like Modern Combat 3 and Asphalt 6 Adrenaline, but they are no where to be found on WP marketplace. I have a feeling the phone itself simply isn't powerful enough to play them. Until Microsoft gets these top end games and other Android apps, I can't see myself giving the platform another try.
sagum said,

The market place, as it stands, is the biggest let down for me as an owner of a Windows Phone, hopefully Microsoft can sort that out sooner rather then later...

I agree. It needs much improvement. Maybe in the future it will offer a comparable selection of games and apps as Android and iOS.

GP007 said,

What is it you want to do on the phone that you seem to think you can't?

He is a Linux guy, and has no real experience of his own, he is just regurgitating what other Linux people tell him. Remember, this is the guy that posted an article claiming that Win8 is copying Linux, such as the ability to read USB drives, mounting file systems, or reading information from a web server.

The typical argument is to claim that there are no apps in the marketplace. When people give examples of the apps (including showing how WP7 has more apps that the competition at this time in the lifecycle), then the argument turns to there are no original apps, just copies or ports. When the original apps are shown, then the argument turns to there are no quality apps. When examples of quality apps are given, then the argument returns to there are no apps on the marketplace - completing the circle.

If these arguments were given about Android or iPhone, we would have people jumping around yelling "hate speech" and getting their panties in a bunch.

simplezz said,

I have a feeling the phone itself simply isn't powerful enough to play them.

Even the first gen Windows Phone 7 handsets are powerful enough to run the games.

The problem is lack of mainstream developers taking up the slack. The platform can be really easy for any developers who've worked on the xbox or indeed PC already so it only a matter of time before publishers start to release games on the Windows Phone flatform.

In terms of graphics, the games look very nice and are very smooth on any Windows Phone, no fratmention or quadcore cpus needed.
Splinter Cell
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...c5c4-43d2-a3f5-f39a36c853ee

need for speed titles
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...102b-4c63-980f-3acc0b058f42

assasins creed
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...c1e6-df11-a844-00237de2db9e

rise of glory
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...af04-e011-9264-00237de2db9e

hydro thunder
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...e64a-e011-854c-00237de2db9e

fusion sentient - rts style
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...2bb3-4b91-bb6c-8c8a1ab21201

the havest
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...pps/35323b0f-84d8-df11-a844-
00237de2db9e

earthworm jim
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...4ed9-df11-a844-00237de2db9e

supermonkey ball
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...c150-e011-854c-00237de2db9e

lets golf 2
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...9d55-47e1-a41c-4afab0aa799a

All quite nice looking games that play smooth on the lackluster hardware android fans rave about. The point being the actual hardware is there, the Windows Phones will, can and do run games with some impressive graphics and is easy to port and develop games for.
The biggest thing holding them back at the moment is market share and thats something that the Windows Phones are clawing at big time at the moment. Although they have seen some of the biggest jumps in takeup and apps/games released on any mobile platform at release, they are a very long way off being top dog.

sagum said,

All quite nice looking games that play smooth on the lackluster hardware android fans rave about. The point being the actual hardware is there, the Windows Phones will, can and do run games with some impressive graphics and is easy to port and develop games for.
The biggest thing holding them back at the moment is market share and thats something that the Windows Phones are clawing at big time at the moment. Although they have seen some of the biggest jumps in takeup and apps/games released on any mobile platform at release, they are a very long way off being top dog.

Didn't Rockstar say that they wouldn't release GTAIII for WP7 devices due to their lack of power?

And so far I'm not aware of any WP7 device able to record 1080p video.

It doesn't change the fact that it is true.
The actions you do on a phone are far from what you do on a pc.
With Android you ended up paying hundreds of euro to get RAM and cpu cores more than a budget laptop has to do what? Check Facebook? Or run angry birds? Maybe Benchmark?

On SoC's the word is Low power consumption.

manosdoc said,

With Android you ended up paying hundreds of euro to get RAM and cpu cores more than a budget laptop has to do what? Check Facebook? Or run angry birds? Maybe Benchmark?

If that's all you do on Android, then you're missing out If you just want to check facebook, go get a feature phone.

manosdoc said,

On SoC's the word is Low power consumption.

Multi-core architectures are more efficient than single cores in a multitasking environment. Notice how single-core WP7 phones tend to be clocked higher than Android's?

simplezz said,

Multi-core architectures are more efficient than single cores in a multitasking environment. Notice how single-core WP7 phones tend to be clocked higher than Android's?

Wait, what? They've had the same clock speeds with Android phones from the start with 1Ghz for a long time. Honestly, single core 1.4Ghz vs say dual core at 1.2Ghz really isn't noticeable at this point. Now if WPs were rocking 1.8Ghz single core while the new Androids had dual-core 1Ghz SoC's then maybe you'd have more of a point.

GP007 said,

Wait, what? They've had the same clock speeds with Android phones from the start with 1Ghz for a long time. Honestly, single core 1.4Ghz vs say dual core at 1.2Ghz really isn't noticeable at this point. Now if WPs were rocking 1.8Ghz single core while the new Androids had dual-core 1Ghz SoC's then maybe you'd have more of a point.

The point is, the higher clock speeds drain a battery faster than multicores in a real multitasking environment. I don't know if WP7 meets that criterion though.

simplezz said,

The point is, the higher clock speeds drain a battery faster than multicores in a real multitasking environment. I don't know if WP7 meets that criterion though.

I don't argue that, in general, but how many apps/games are really multitasking at this point? Even after all these years on the PC you don't get many of them. There needs to be a balance instead of just tossing in more cores and ram to bump up specs so you can sell more devices without any real benefit.

simplezz said,

The point is, the higher clock speeds drain a battery faster than multicores in a real multitasking environment. I don't know if WP7 meets that criterion though.

Yet WP7 phones last for days with heavy use, while android phones last for half a day or a full day with medium use.

Sorry but if that's your argument, you need to look at actual battery use facts first

kingofthecarts said,
lol, 8 bit color could save battery also.

Ah, leave the iPhone out of this... Oh wait it was 15bit with no OS upscale approximation.

2xSilverKnight said,
Multi-Core is not a waste of battery ... high clock cpu is.

Exactly. Not only that, but because multiple cores can do the work faster, it means they can go back into lower power mode faster.

Stephen Elop is a luddite. Next he'll be telling us we don't need multi-core PC's either lol.

simplezz said,

Exactly. Not only that, but because multiple cores can do the work faster, it means they can go back into lower power mode faster.


Stephen Elop is a luddite. Next he'll be telling us we don't need multi-core PC's either lol.

Honestly, when the system is focused on one task at a time, a higher clocked CPU is usually better. However, I think Nokia is trying to go after devices like the HTC One X with a quad core Tegra 3 CPU, and point out that such a design is rather excessive for most tasks.

dagamer34 said,

Honestly, when the system is focused on one task at a time, a higher clocked CPU is usually better.

If the OS implements real multitasking, the system isn't focused on one task at a time. Just because you're using a single full screen app doesn't mean there aren't processes running in the background that can make use of the other core(s). Not only that, but a lot of games now for Android, run much smoother on multicore.
dagamer34 said,

However, I think Nokia is trying to go after devices like the HTC One X with a quad core Tegra 3 CPU, and point out that such a design is rather excessive for most tasks.

I think you are underestimating how demanding newer games/apps are these days. It's like saying an i7 is excessive for a desktop PC. Sure you can get by with an i3 or core 2 duo, but once you've used an i7 there's no turning back

2xSilverKnight said,
Multi-Core is not a waste of battery ... high clock cpu is.

+1 for the truth, and for those interested in technical details:

Power consumption of a generic synchronous CMOS circuit is P = CV^2f. Assuming a fixed capacitance, the power consumption is linearly related to frequency (i.e. going from 1 GHZ to 500 MHz reduces power consumption by half), and quadratically related to voltage (dropping from 1.0V to 0.5V reduces power consumption by 75%).

Another thing about the equation is that it neglects the number of logic level transitions, and assumes it's fixed. Indeed though, certain instructions draw different amounts of power (even related single clock cycle ones), since the number of transistor switching depends on the particular electrical pathways.

That's why your shiny new 2600K running at full clock speed & voltage draws only ~5 Watts, those NOP's don't heat anything up really. However, assuming what you *do* on the processor stays the same, then you can absolutely relate power consumption to frequency & voltage - and that is why my Droid 2 Global lasts for 3 days straight (GG underclock & undervolt).

Caleo said,
And 640K of memory should be enough for anybody.

What would be funny... If Gates really said that.

When most users on PCs run ONE or TWO applications at a time, that are written with no regard to threading, and even when properly threaded, utilized the additional CPU less than 20% of the time, why on earth 'at this point' in computing would a average user need an additional CPU core sucking battery, when it would make virtually no performance difference to them?

As development languages evolve and things like F# that is Async based and other technologies move forward, and phones are doing several tasks at the same time then multi-cores will be far more needed

If you look at the PC world, SMP (multi-cpu) systems were around for years, yet there was not a great benefit on the desktop for 20 years, and even today, many of the CPU cores are left unused.

The only software on WP7 that would benefit from multi-core today would be IE9, and it is already faster than Android's Chrome and iPhone's Safari.

The other thing overlooked is the GP-GPU aspect and the rendering methods in WP7 use the GPU portion of the SoC far more than Android or iOS. So as Android, even 4.x that has some GPU assistance, is STILL using CPU time to render graphics, do drawing, render fonts, WP7 is handing this over to the GPU already.

Which when you think about it, the GPU usage makes WP7 already more of a dual-core device than most Androids, and more efficient than many dual-core CPUs as the GPU is far more efficient at font rendering and bitmap decompression/compression than the CPU.

So enjoy your troll comment, and then realize how silly it sounds, and I'll re-troll ya back... Enjoy the additional CPU in your Android running some obscure malware while you wait for an update.

Caleo said,
And 640K of memory should be enough for anybody.

What would be funny... If Gates really said that.

When most users on PCs run ONE or TWO applications at a time, that are written with no regard to threading, and even when properly threaded, utilized the additional CPU less than 20% of the time, why on earth 'at this point' in computing would a average user need an additional CPU core sucking battery, when it would make virtually no performance difference to them?

As development languages evolve and things like F# that is Async based and other technologies move forward, and phones are doing several tasks at the same time then multi-cores will be far more needed

If you look at the PC world, SMP (multi-cpu) systems were around for years, yet there was not a great benefit on the desktop for 20 years, and even today, many of the CPU cores are left unused.

The only software on WP7 that would benefit from multi-core today would be IE9, and it is already faster than Android's Chrome and iPhone's Safari.

The other thing overlooked is the GP-GPU aspect and the rendering methods in WP7 use the GPU portion of the SoC far more than Android or iOS. So as Android, even 4.x that has some GPU assistance, is STILL using CPU time to render graphics, do drawing, render fonts, WP7 is handing this over to the GPU already.

Which when you think about it, the GPU usage makes WP7 already more of a dual-core device than most Androids, and more efficient than many dual-core CPUs as the GPU is far more efficient at font rendering and bitmap decompression/compression than the CPU.

So enjoy your troll comment, and then realize how silly it sounds, and I'll re-troll ya back... Enjoy the additional CPU in your Android running some obscure malware while you wait for an update.

thenetavenger said,
The other thing overlooked is the GP-GPU aspect and the rendering methods in WP7 use the GPU portion of the SoC far more than Android or iOS. So as Android, even 4.x that has some GPU assistance, is STILL using CPU time to render graphics, do drawing, render fonts, WP7 is handing this over to the GPU already.

Which when you think about it, the GPU usage makes WP7 already more of a dual-core device than most Androids, and more efficient than many dual-core CPUs as the GPU is far more efficient at font rendering and bitmap decompression/compression than the CPU.

Well said. WARP magics on Windows Phone 7 (also on Windows 8 CP)

thenetavenger said,
When most users on PCs run ONE or TWO applications at a time, that are written with no regard to threading, and even when properly threaded, utilized the additional CPU less than 20% of the time, why on earth 'at this point' in computing would a average user need an additional CPU core sucking battery, when it would make virtually no performance difference to them?

You're the troll here. I agree you don't need more cores, but idle cores draw nearly no power consumption relative to full load. Also, what's with the generic "utilized less than 20%" figure? What does that add to your argument besides a made-up number?

I agree, we don't need multi-core phones. I disagree that multi-core phones always consume more power. It depends on the architecture, the implementation, etc. And I personally would want that power there if I needed it.

As 2xSilverKnight said below, "Multi-Core is not a waste of battery ... high clock cpu is." He's half way there, but that ties into another thing: voltage.

Power consumption is related to the square of the voltage reduction, and linearly related to clock speed (not to mention how many logic switches occur for the given instruction). Reducing the clock speed lets you reduce voltage too in a lot of cases, further benefiting power consumption.

Enjoy the additional CPU in your Android running some obscure malware while you wait for an update.

Troll, delete your double post. Also IDK about you, but last time I checked, the additional CPU is not used unless it needs to be. So when you're "waiting" for an update, that extra core ain't drawing ANYTHING.