Do you need quad-core and LTE in your pocket? Probably not

Quad-core and LTE would give you bragging rights, but not much more.

NVIDIA believes that the future of smartphones is to combine its quad-core Tegra 3 mobile CPU with next-generation LTE technology. But do consumers need quad core, LTE capable smartphones?

NVIDIA is pretty excited about its partnership to combine LTE modems with the Tegra 3 chip:

Number one is that OEM partners can now take their current NVIDIA-powered devices to the next level by creating next-gen LTE products with a fast time to market.

Number two: this will let more users in more markets access the award-winning performance capabilities, next-gen games, and lightning fast apps enabled by Tegra.

Finally, this helps push the envelope on the overall mobile experience. Through fast data access offered by LTE, users get even better multiplayer gaming options, lightning fast web browsing, supercharged app downloads… and the list goes on and on.

NVIDIA has reason to be pleased. It's bringing technology to smartphones that even Apple has yet to make available to iPhone owners. That could give Android handsets a much-needed advantage over Apple's offerings.

But do consumers really need a smartphone with quad-core and LTE? I'm not convinced.

First off, a quad-core processor is going to put enormous pressure on the battery. Technology is a great thing, and faster is better, but when you have to power it from a finite source then it becomes a burden because it reduces the time between recharges.

Same goes for LTE. Again it's easy to jump to the conclusion that faster is better, but when that comes at the price of having to keep a very close eye on the battery meter. I'm certain that the reason Apple hasn't put LTE into the iPhone or iPad is because of battery life, and while there are now more efficient chipsets out there than when the iPhone 4S was in development, they're still far from ideal.

But it's not just battery life that we need to consider. When considering the value of quad-core processors, we need to ask ourselves if the Android OS and apps are ready to take advantage of four cores. In fact, at present there are very few apps that are capable of taking advantage of multi-threaded CPUs.

Same goes for LTE. Sure, it's the latest buzzword among the carriers and handset makers, but it's only available to a small percentage of users, and for many of these it's no faster than current generation technologies. What's the point of paying for technology that you can't take advantage of?

So, bottom line, while a quad-core CPU and LTE in your smartphone would give you bragging rights, it wouldn't give you much more.

Image credit: NVIDIA