Here's a nice, fresh rumor for you: ZTE are said to be working on an eight-core CPU packing smartphone, and they're said to be launching it next year. Yeah, I know what you're thinking: we've only just gotten quad-core phones, let alone phones packing six cores. It's taken a while for the industry to fully realize the potential of the quad-core CPU and the Tegra 3 – while powerful – is solidly beaten by the Snapdragon S4 Pro, thanks to Qualcomm's chip being based around the Cortex-A15 architecture. It's also no secret that quad-core CPUs are really unkind to your battery.
ZTE are apparently looking to up the core-count of everyone else in the market with their "Apache" smartphone that is said to pack eight-cores. The CPU in question will be provided by MediaTek, is said to carry a model number of MT6599 and to be based on TSMC's 28nm manufacturing process. This all sounds pretty exciting but, aside from the rumor of eight-cores and LTE compatibility there is little else known about the device.
Eight-cores might sound powerful but bear in mind that his is coming from MediaTek, the company most known for the processors in those eBay special tablets that go for around 60 bucks. This new processor hasn't even been announced yet but, taking a look at what is said to be a close-sibling to it – the MT6588 a quad-core CPU – the report isn't great. The MT6588 is a quad-core CPU based around the aging Cortex-A7 architecture and with Cortex-A9 in the Tegra 3 and Exynos 4400 CPUs looking old compared to the Cortex-A15 in the Snapdragon S4 Pro, imagine how Cortex-A7 will hold up. The MT6599 is likely to be an eight-core Cortex-A9 processor which still sounds pretty good but, only games full take advantage of four processing threads so, what's the point of adding more threads with less oomph?
I'm interested to see what ZTE can do here but whatever it is I doubt that it's going to be the super-phone that we all want it to be.