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What's at the core of this smartphone war?

By Zhu Shenshen (Shanghai Daily)

09:13, December 05, 2012

(Xinhua Photo)

HOLIDAY shoppers with a smartphone on their gift list may face a dilemma of choice. The latest iPhone with dual-core chip costs about 5,000 yuan (US$806), while a Lenovo-brand smartphone with quad-core recommended by many shop owners costs only half as much.

The number of cores on the chip creates a new battlefront in the Chinese mobile phone market that is probably unique in the world. It has been dubbed the "core war."

Industry experts, however, warn that more cores on the chip do not necessarily equate to a better quality phone. Instead, it looks more like a marketing strategy for chip and phone vendors to expand their market share.

In the past two months, about a dozen quad-core smartphones have debuted in China, offered by Samsung, Lenovo, Xiaomi, ZTE, Huawei and Meizu. Compared with Samsung's Galaxy Note 2, priced at about 5,000 yuan, most China-brand models cost about 2,000 yuan each.

"Chinese consumers are crazy about the cores of phones even if they don't know exactly what they mean," said Li Yi, secretary-general of China's Mobile Internet Industry Alliance. "But quad-core strategy works here."

A multi-core processor is a single computing component (chip) with two or more independent actual central processing units (cores). Generally speaking, the multiple cores can run multiple instructions at the same time, increasing overall speed for programs amenable to parallel computing.

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