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Guide to Mobile Phone Processors

By Rizwan Ahmad - 13 January 2013 No Comments
Anyone who has ever bought a mobile phone will have heard a lot about the processor.  Each smartphone has one, but what does it do and how important is it?  The truth is that without the processor there are many functions on the phone that would just not be possible.

As smartphone technology has developed, manufacturers are looking more towards the technology that powers computers for their onboard processors as smartphones are becoming more and more like mini computers.  You may have a smartphone that has a single-core, dual-core or quad-core processor.

What is Special about Phone Processors?
The processor has the task of dealing with all the information that it is given and sending it in the right direction. However, unlike standard computers, space is extremely limited in a mobile phone so the technology developed as a ‘system on a chip’, known as SoC.  The processor has a central processing unit and most are based on a system from ARM, although Intel technology is also now making its way into mobile phones.  The CPU is home to the ‘cores’ of the processor.  The more cores there are the more efficient the SoC.

 Mobile Phone Processors

Processor Manufacturers
As well as ARM and Intel as discussed above, Qualcomm is one of the leading manufacturers of processors and they are known for their Snapdragon processors. Alternatively the processor in your phone may come from NVIDIA, a company that developed the Tegra platform. This processor often includes a fifth core which can help to preserve the battery while carrying out a number of tasks such as texting. Texas Instruments also makes processors for smartphones and these come under the title of OMAP phones.  There are plenty of well-known devices which use these processors including the Huawei Ascend D1.

Samsung has recently developed its own processor and this has already been used in several of the firm’s handsets and there are others developed by Samsung which have been employed by Apple.

Do You Need a Quad Core Processor?
You do not necessarily have to opt for a smartphone with a multi-core processor.  It really depends what you want from your phone as to whether or not this matters.  If you want your phone for gaming, apps, surfing the net, emailing and texting then it may be advisable to opt for a more powerful processor. However, if you simply want to call and text with the occasional visit to the internet, then a single core processor is fine.  The more powerful the processor the more expensive the phone, although there are one or two exceptions.

Multi-Core Processors’ Big Disadvantage
They are heavy on battery use. Nokia is a manufacturer which – to date – has chosen to stay with a single core processor throughout its range of phones.   Nokia has taken the view that a phone that has a more powerful processor than is actually needed will see battery life drain away much more quickly.  The processor should reflect what the phone is capable of doing, demonstrating that each manufacturer has a different approach.               

Phil Turner has three questions he asks himself before he upgrades his phone; whether to, when to and which mobile to buy, in that order.

Image is licensed under CC Attribution 
Rizwan Ahmad
About the Author:
This article is contributed by Phil Turner and posted by Rizwan Ahmad Author and founder of, He is a tech blogger from India and he loves to share his thoughts by writing articles on this site to the different topics related to technology world,


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