Home computers went through a megahertz war and smartphone manufacturers did not learn from that mistake. As early as January 2009 the pocket rockets crossed the 1GHz mark – the Toshiba TG01 got there first. It had a single Scorpion core in its Snapdragon S1 chipset paired with 256MB RAM. It seemed downright excessive at the time.
As with Intel’s NetBurst, physics got in the way of progress – high clock speeds use up too much power. On the desktop side, that resulted in 100+ W TDP chips that needed leaf blowers to cool. On the mobile side, it just killed the battery.
So makers chose another number to increase each year – the number of processor cores. LG produced the first dual-core phone in 2011, the LG Optimus 2X. This time it was Nvidia that supplied the chip, a Tegra 2 AP20H with two Cortex-A9 cores.
They were clocked at 1GHz again, even though the Motorola DROID 2 Global breached the 1GHz barrier in late 2010 (with a single Cortex-A8 core).
We’ll ignore Instructions Per Clock (IPC) – if you’re interested in real world performance, then check out our mobile chipset guide. We’re focusing on bragging rights here – who reached a specific milestone first.
It wouldn’t be until late 2012 when phones clocked up to 2GHz – another Moto, the RAZR i XT890 (one of the early superminis). It was Intel, a veteran of the megahertz wars, that got there with a single Atom core.