Nokia's CEO, Stephen Elop, has previously stated that dual and quad-core processors on mobile phones waste battery more than anything else. Now, Intel's GM of Intel's Mobile and Communications Group, Mike Bell, chimes in saying that Android just isn't ready for multi-core CPUs.
While Elop's statement sounded more like PR talk (Lumia phones are exclusively single-core), Bell says that Intel have run in-house tests to reach the conclusion. Apparently, it's the thread scheduler that needs work.
Simply put, the thread scheduler is the part of the operating system that decides which CPU core executes which app. It's not a simple decision - the scheduler figures out if it needs to activate more cores to cope with the load or keep the extra cores asleep to preserve power (a major consideration for a mobile device).
Bell points the finger at chipset makers - "The way it's implemented right now, Android does not make as effective use of multiple cores as it could, and I think - frankly - some of this work could be done by the vendors who create the SoCs, but they just haven't bothered to do it. Right now the lack of software effort by some of the folks who have done their hardware implementation is a bigger disadvantage than anything else."
Intel's sole (for now) processor aimed at the mobile phone space is a single-core unit with admittedly excellent performance for just one core, but we still get a feel that Intel is on the defensive. They are developing a dual-core SoC, though, and Mike Bell confirmed that Intel is working on Android's thread scheduler, so the performance race should soon become even more hotly contested.