The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
Trefis) -- If you have been planning on buying a smartphone with a quad-core processor right now,
(QCOM) just asked you to wait.
The company recently launched the latest in the line of its Snapdragon processors, a dual-core S4 mobile System-on-a-Chip (SoC). Not only is the S4 significantly faster than other dual-core chipsets, but it also beats
(NVDA) quad-core Tegra 3 processor in many aspects. It is also the first-ever SoC to integrate a 28nm LTE capable modem, paving the way for thinner, lighter and more power-efficient LTE devices.
Our $67.50 price estimate for Qualcomm
stock is about 6% ahead of the market price.
See our complete analysis for Qualcomm stock
The S4 boasts of as many cores as its predecessor, the S3, but is powered by a newly designed Krait core. With two 1.5 GHz Krait cores, the S4 easily puts other dual-core chipsets to shame. But more importantly, the S4 even beats the quad-core Tegra 3 processor in most benchmarks that do not require multi-core optimization, as tests performed by AnandTech show.
But shouldn't we be focusing on the tests that put all the many cores of a processor to test? Isn't more the better, you ask.
Of course, it is. Moreover the number of cores a processor has, the greater the number of processes that it can run. Multi-tasking becomes easier and multi-threaded apps run faster.
However, there are a very few tablet apps and even fewer smartphone apps that can utilize the full power of a quad-core processor. Given the right multi-threaded application, the Tegra 3 processor will definitely be faster than the S4, but for a majority of smartphone users' purposes, a dual-core processor is more than adequate.
The S4 has shown that a lot of optimization remains to be achieved with dual-core processors and that the customer affinity for multiple cores is misplaced. By developing an architecture that sets a new benchmark for dual-core processors, Qualcomm has done the smartphone industry a huge favor by not joining the meaningless race for multiple cores.