11-07-2012, 09:54 PM #1
- 478 Posts
As we all know next year we will likely see the debut of quad core WP8 phones, perhaps as early as Q1 2013 with the HTC Zenith.
However, one must wonder, what apps/games will actually use said cores. A reason to ask this is to look at what happened with WP7 - the launch phones were 1ghz single core snapdragons, and 99% of the apps/games designed their performance around that benchmark even when dual core WP7 phones were released.
So, will the same hold true with WP8 & dual core 1.5ghz, or do you think we might see some games that actually take advantage of a quad core in the future?
- 11-07-2012, 10:51 PM #2
Even if we were to get a quad-core SoC certified for WP8, you wouldn't see any apps/games supporting it, at least nothing from professional 3rd party developers, as they are obliged to earn money. Earning money means they must target the largest possible user base, which includes everyone with a dual-core WP8 device. Any app/game specifically targeting a quad-core S4 (and making good use of it) won't run satisfactorily on a dual-core S4. As that would mean fewer sales, 3rd party developers will ignore it. It's similar to Android, where developers tend to target last years mid-range devices for the same reasons.
In the hypothetical case of such a device appearing, Microsoft would probably be our best bet, as they also have in interest in promoting the platform and don't necessarily need to earn money selling apps.
- 11-08-2012, 02:24 PM #6
It'll be a while before 3rd party apps really take advantage of quad-cores. When it comes to smartphones, it really isn't a necessity.
- 11-08-2012, 03:19 PM #7
As I've already said, it's a matter of economics. Due to the low sales prices for apps, any company needs a LOT of sales to make it worth their while, and as long as a notable number of dual-core WP8 devices exist in the market, there is no chance anyone required to earn a living will unnecessarily limit their potential customer base to only those owning quad-core WP8 devices. It's not going to happen.
There is nothing new about that statement. It's how the entire consumer software industry has been run for years, everywhere, on all platforms.
This would be the fastest and most reliable way to get a decent number of apps specifically targeting quad-core WP devices:
- Microsoft specifies a WP9 hardware chassis specification mandating a quad-core SoC
- Microsoft doesn't allow users to install WP9 on WP8 hardware
- Microsoft ensures WP9 can run all WP8 apps, but not the other way around
As the WP9 install base grows, developers would start targeting WP9, and knowing everyone will have a similarly spec'ed quad-core device, there wouldn't be any reasons to not target that hardware configuration specifically.
Last edited by a5cent; 11-08-2012 at 04:33 PM. Reason: Spelling
- 11-08-2012, 03:35 PM #11
One more thing: In my view another such "reboot" isn't impossible, but Microsoft would definitely need to work on changing the way people think about WP and the smartphone update process in general.
For example, that "reboot" is exactly how things work in the console market. Everybody seems fine with that. Youngsters may argue that the comparison is unfair, as consoles have vastly longer shelf lives, but that really only applies to this most recent generation of consoles. Previous generations got updated much faster, and people were fine with the "reboots" at that time... it's just a matter of expectations, and in the case of smartphones, customers understanding what they can expect in return. As it is currently, I agree however, no chance...
11-08-2012, 07:00 PM #12
- 478 Posts
Guys it is not as complicated to support quad core as you think.
The WP8 kernel of the phone supports a number of Microsoft & other APIs. You could simply have the below:
Profile 1: "Budget" (slowest processor available, i.e. Tango of WP8)
Profile 2: "Standard" (majority of launch dual cores)
Profile 3: "Advanced" (quad core SoCs)
Let's say a game supports physics, as the Havok physics engine is on the way to WP8. Game asks OS what 'class' the SoC is. OS tells game it is Profile 3, let's say. Game then automatically enables the most complex physics /graphics available as game knows its a profile 3 phone that can handle it. If OS reported Profile 2 or lower the experience degrades from there, each step getting less advanced physics.
The question is, have/will Microsoft set up profiles such as this for tiered WP8 hardware or will it be a 1-spec platform like WP7? Remember with MS dev tools a multi-tiered platform is not a hard thing to do.
Last edited by Ruined; 11-08-2012 at 07:10 PM.
- 11-08-2012, 08:26 PM #13
Anyway, I know pretty well what is involved in multicore programming. I've been doing it for twenty years and I'm currently designing software for massively parallel systems with thousands of cores.
What you propose is possible, but the approach has a lot of downsides:
Firstly, it is limited to CPU processed eye-candy. That is a very limited scope, as most things related to eye-candy are much more efficiently processed on the GPU. You can't use it for anything related to game play, because doing so would cause game play mechanics to downgrade on CPUs with fewer cores. That would be an industry first (and likely a very unsatisfying game to play).
Secondly, supporting alternate CPU code paths that differ to the extent you are suggesting is far too costly. Not just development time but also testing efforts would go through the roof... in reality you aren't just supporting three profiles either, but one for every SoC (WP8 already supports two and the hypothetical WP8 quad-core would be yet another. The WP7 profile you suggested are actually three). What developers do instead, is ensure their game runs well on what they specified to be the minimal hardware requirements, and let anything more powerful go towards improving frame rates.
There are quite a few more reasons actually, but all you really need to do is look around you. Nobody develops games that gracefully degrade on the CPU in the way you are proposing. Nobody. That should tell you something.