On July 9, Korea will be the first country in the world to get the best of both worlds when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy S3, as the best-selling device will launch as the Galaxy S3 LTE with both a quad-core Exynos processor and 4G LTE connectivity.
Elsewhere in the world, it’s one or the other for the Galaxy S3. In Europe, the phone is powered by Samsung’s 1.4Ghz quad-core Exynos chip, but makes do with a 3G connection, while in the USA the phone connects to 4G LTE networks, but comes with a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor.
It’s not alone either, as it’s the same story for the HTC One X, while LG has released several variations on the Optimus 4X HD around the world, all with dual-core and LTE instead of the Tegra 3 and 3G.
Like LG in these cases, Samsung has also chosen to boost the RAM from 1GB to 2GB for the Galaxy S3 LTE, a spec change that’s also seen in the US and Canadian versions too.
Other than a TV tuner, the specification remains the same, right down to the standard 2100mAh battery. Any phone with a 4.8-inch screen and either a quad-core processor or 4G LTE is going to be a power hungry beast, but put the three together and it’s going to put quite a strain on that poor battery. It’ll be interesting to see how it fares.
Quad-core and LTE together in the future
So how long will it be before quad-core LTE phones are as commonplace as dual-core LTE devices? It’s only a matter of time, as besides Korea’s Galaxy S3, there are several other similar phones pushing the tech forward.
Late last week, Fujitsu announced the Arrows X for the Japanese market, and it has an LTE radio along with the Tegra 3 processor, making it one of the first devices to use a separate, third-party LTE radio with Nvidia’s quad-core chip.
On dual-core LTE phones, the chip and radio are integrated, but this isn’t possible with a quad-core chip just yet. Increased power consumption and a higher manufacturing cost makes the alternative a less than ideal setup, but as a Tegra 3 with integrated 4G radio isn’t expected to arrive until next year, it’s better than nothing.
LG also has been rumored to be producing a quad-core LTE phone, the LS970, also known as the D1L or LG Eclipse. Instead of a Tegra 3 though, leaked spec sheets link it with a quad-core Snapdragon S4. Qualcomm’s Tim McDonough told CNet Asia in May that a quad-core S4 would be coming later this year, and that it would have a separate LTE radio.
He added that “we’re perfectly able to build LTE into a quad-core phone chip,” but the “huge benefits” of having LTE built into dual-core chips, means any decision to deviate would have to be motivated by customer demand.
Quad-core LTE phones are certainly attractive, but as performance differences are minimal and more smartphone owners are complaining about poor battery life already, does upsetting the dual-core LTE status quo really need to be done before the technology has been perfected?