LG Kicks Off Smartphone Quad-Core Madness - InformationWeek

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2/23/2012
12:43 PM
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LG Kicks Off Smartphone Quad-Core Madness

LG sets tone for the smartphone race of 2012 with Optimus 4X HD, which actually has 5 cores.

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Most PCs don't yet have four processor cores, but by this time next week there will be perhaps a half dozen smartphones running four cores. LG beat many to the punch on thursday by announcing the Optimus 4X HD, a new super phone that includes the Nvidia Tegra3 quad-core processor.

Each of the 4X HD's cores is clocked at 1.5 GHz. The Tegra3 uses a four-core system, each of which can be tapped for hardcore computing tasks, such as gaming or augmented reality apps. However, in the hopes of saving some battery juice, the Tegra3 has a fifth core for lesser tasks. This core, for example, would be used to run a music player while the phone is otherwise not being used, such as when it is in the owner's pocket.

Nvidia used to call this fifth core the "ninja core." Sadly, Nvidia re-named this system to a more techie "4-PLUS-1." (Who knows what Nvidia was thinking with that name change.) This companion core is a key element to preventing any device with the Tegra3 on board from chomping through battery life in no time. Still, it is a relief that LG stuffed a 2150mAh battery inside the Optimus 4X HD.

[ What is more important, four cores or longer battery life? Read Qualcomm Touts Smartphone Battery Life, Not 4 Cores. ]

In addition to four cores, the 4X HD boasts a large, 4.7-inch HD display. It uses in-plane switching technology (as does the Apple iPad/iPad2), and offers a respectable 1280 x 720 pixels. It should be an excellent screen on which to view movies, photos, and other content.

The 4X HD boasts an 8-megapixel main camera and a 1.3-megapixel camera facing the users. Both can capture video in HD, at 1080p and 720p, respectively. The 4X HD also comes with 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage for media, apps, and other content.

Other goodies include DLNA and MHL for sharing all that HD content with your television and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. LG managed to cram all these neat-o features into a device that measures 8.9mm thick.

The Optimus 4X HD is planned for release in Europe in the second quarter of 2012.

While the LG Optimus 4X HD is one of the first quad-core phones to be announced, it may not be the first to reach the market. More four-core phones are expected to arrive at the Mobile World Congress trade show, which kicks off February 27.

As federal agencies embrace devices and apps to meet employee demand, the White House seeks one comprehensive mobile strategy. Also in the new Going Mobile issue of InformationWeek Government: Find out how the National Security Agency is developing technologies to make commercial devices suitable for intelligence work. (Free registration required.)

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