Smarter Smart Phones

Article excerpt

A mechanism that accelerates personal computers' performance might work wonders if placed inside new cell phones, according to a European Union funded research team, eMuCo Project.

The multi-core processing unit, as the mechanism is called, consists of a computer chip that has two or more processing cores, which calculate data. Multi-core processing units are common in desktop computers today since they have double the power of their single-core predecessors. The eMuCo Project hopes to give the same upgrade to smart phones, the highly popular category of cell phones that feature Web-based amenities like Internet access and MP3 players. The finished products might give consumers more features while requiring less battery power.

"With the recent advances in wireless networks and the exponential growth in the usage of multimedia applications, multi-core platforms point to be the solution of future mobile devices. With them, a new paradigm has emerged," says Maria Elizabeth Gonzales de Izarra, a researcher with the eMuCo Project.

Unlike present-day smart phones, whose single-core chips all work overtime to power both the phone and its Web-browser applications, the multiprocessors' cores split up work--one core will maintain phone service while another enables Web browsing, and each powers down when not in use.

There are currently many Web pages that smart phones are just not powerful enough to display, notes Jason Parker, senior project manager for smart-phone manufacturer Symbian. …