The managing director of a Korean consumer electronics firm has told PC Magazine that the next version of Android, nicknamed "Honeycomb," will need a dual-core ARM-9 processor to run "properly."

Let us note a few things here: Honeycomb, which has yet to be announced by Google but was previewed by Andy Rubin last month on a dual-core Motorola tablet, will run on smarpthones as well as tablets. Rubin said as much. And we know that dual-core smartphones are about to hit the mainstream, with LG having already announced the dual-core Optimus 2X.

So will Honeycomb "require" a dual-core processor? Google hasn't said anything, and we wouldn't bet the farm on it. We need to be a bit careful when talking about what is and isn't required to run Android. Why, it was only a month ago when Googlers had to dispel rumors that there was any hard minimum processor requirement for Gingerbread. Had this story come from anyone other than Sascha Segan and PC Mag, we'd toss it out on merit alone. But it is entirely possible that Enspert managing director Bobby Cha misspoke or was referring to recommended minimum requirements -- not a hard line between whether hardware will actually run Gingerbread or not. We all know that hardware well past its prime will run current Android software.

What hardware is required to run Honeycomb well is another matter, however, and we're all going to have to be just a tiny bit patient here, folks. All things in due time. [PCMag]

 
There are 32 comments

Honestly, I don't like the route Google is going with Android and requiring faster hardware. Unless they stretch out the 2.x path to span a few years with improvements...?

I'd prefer they keep the requirements low but up the goodies and features for those that have the faster devices.

pseudoelf says:

Because "goodies" & "features", which are often embedded in the core OS, require processing power. And for a "free" OS it doesn't make sense to purposely fragment the OS more then necessary in using extra man-hours on development of a second OS line. That will support "old" and "outdated" hardware.

enzofall says:

Theres an up side and a down side. Up side, we advance our technology faster. Down side, our phones are outdated quicker. Catch 20-20 if i have ever seen one.

lol. 20-20?

embails says:

Yeah, pretty sure it's "Catch 22"... 20-20 is what I pretend that my vision is rated at.

crxssi says:

There can be no logical reason why any OS would "require" any particular number of cores. It might require a certain amount of processing power to run smoothly, but that doesn't mean two cores.

And I can't imagine what they would do to Android that would have it suddenly require tremendously more processing power.

happajay says:

This is great news for people who recently bought phones and are locked into contracts.

tuxdude says:

How do you say people with contracts are safer ? Getting an upgrade unless it is free puts anyone else in the same position right ?

iPwn says:

I think, just maybe, that happajay was being sarcastic.

mattchew86 says:

I think, just maybe, you are correct.

Roshizzle731 says:

I think, just maybe, you are correct, that he is correct.

sic0048 says:

Haven't we heard similar "minimum requirements" virtually every major release and they all end up bring wrong?

tuxdude says:

Dual core doesn't translate to 2x the performance of a single core system especially when it comes to embedded devices... My bet is that Google just has put a recommended hardware requirements as Dual Core...

If it is just another one of Google/manufacturer strategies where it is a means to push out new devices and stop supporting older ones, many Android users would feel bad and neglected for their devices having such short lifetime software support...

icebike says:

Dual core historically translates into 1.4 time single core in Windows, and something approaching 1.9 time single core in Linux.

So its not unreasonable to assume something in the neighborhood of 1.9 in a smartphone which is closer to a computer than to an "embedded device" (such as routers or NAS or something).

rippley05 says:

Although it would be very lame to require such a crazy thing as dual core.

I don't think minimum specs are a bad thing... there are some incredibly bad/cheap android phones out there that are giving android a very bad name/rep.

My mom and one of my friends both have the samsung phone that was the first android on us cellular (name slips my mind) but both of them swear they won't ever buy another phone with that OS on it. The phone, besides being a craptasic typical samsung phone.. runs laggy, choppy.. is always out of memory.. battery sucks.. its just a horrible phone.

Iphone bound they are, sadly =(

sic0048 says:

Get them 1st generation iPhones and see how they like them.

cporier91 says:

Kind of fearing that the NS will be stuck on GB, but hopefully Google will optimize it for the NS.

Mobius360 says:

Why would they have released the Nexus S without a dual core cpu if they have a new OS right around the corner that will require a dual core cpu, it just would not make any sense.

icebike says:

There are a lot of us that don't think the nexus S made any sense at all.

Google needed a NFC test bed. Only reason I can find.

ilongbored says:

Thanks for this article. The way Engadget presented this information was bugging me. It's nice to hear it from someone with some sense and experience.

Daniel0418 says:

I think everyone is overeacting and misreading the story. If said rumor is true, it will only be for the tablet version of honeycomb. I think google will put a light weight more phone friendly version of honeycomb with less or no hardware requirementsOut for smartphones, however if a manufacturer wants to make a honeycomb tablet. It will require a more strict set of specifications. The Nexus S is a perfect example. It simply wouldn't make sense for Google to put out a new phone and a month later just have it obsolete by their update. This will be for tablets only if even a requirement at all.

(sorry for misspellings I typed this on an iPad)

deadp1xel says:

I highly doubt that Android will require dual core for Honeycomb. Unless Honeycomb is going to be tablet only, it wouldn't have made much sense for Google to make the Nexus S with Samsung. Think about it. The Nexus S is a developer phone, as is the Nexus One. Would they really make an update to Android, for current Android phones, that the Nexus S couldn't handle?

El Jefe says:

I have thought all along that Honeycomb is for tablets only.

icebike says:

So you are predicting a fork in the road for Android then? Two versions going forward, one for phones and one for tabs?

I don't think so.

DenverRalphy says:

I'd bet that somebody heard something akin to "Honeycomb will be built to utilize Dual Core devices and increased screen resolution" but somehow only heard "Honeycomb will require Dual Core"

Happens all the time, and that's how nasty rumors spread.

msgnyc says:

Seeing as the Nexus S is now the current Dev phone replacing the Nexus 1 and doesn't even meet those requirements....
Im going to have to call BS on this one. Seriously, just think about it a little bit. Just a little....
Wouldn't make any sense in the least (not that the NS made much sense to begin with). That would mean their brand spanking new dev phone is pretty much already obsolete.
Rumors and speculation as always when new build is around the bend. We've been here a few times havn't we?

Baconator says:

Okay, here is what I have been finding. Honeycomb is supposed to be Tablet only. Thus, these requirements are ONLY for tablets. There will be a mobile version of Honeycomb but with different requirements. The Nexus S wouldn't have been made if it wouldn't be able to get Honeycomb. So these specs are Tablet ONLY. This is what I found out in my research.

Total BS the only way this makes sense is if there are two versions of honeycomb one for phones and phone for tablets and I don't see that happening either. There is no way the NEXUS S becomes obsolete not happening

Plus, wouldn't Google have made Samsung utilize a dual core in the Nexus S? Surely they are not going to release a phone with their name on it and it not be able to run the next two to three updates.

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Honeycomb? I'm still waiting for Gingerbread. When Gingerbread is releases for the adroid ax and I can enjoy it for a while then I will worry about Honeycomb. But it isn't even on my radar at this point.

Adam8756 says:

Gingerbread? I'm still waiting for froyo.