Separated by birth: Hidden differences between seemingly-identical smartphone CPUs

Guru Prasad Srinivasa, Rizwana Begum, Scott Haseley, Mark Hempstead, Geoffrey Challen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Smartphone consumers, app developers, and even mobile systems researchers operate under the assumption that performance differences between identical smartphones should be small. Consumers pick a model to purchase and don't consider that the specific device they leave the store with may vary quite dramatically from the identical models it sat next to on the shelf. App rating systems typically collect the model from reviewers, but not more detailed information-again, assuming that all instances of a particular model perform similarly. Even mobile systems researchers will conduct studies using small numbers of devices that fail to account or control for inherent differences between identical phones. Unfortunately seemingly-identical smartphones can in fact have very different performance characteristics. Note that we are not referring to differences in battery or Flash performance caused over time by wear. Inherent differences would separate two brand-new phones still in the original packaging. Our experiments show up to 20% performance and energy consumption differences between otherwise identical devices. These differences result from process variation in the manufacture of smartphone CPUs, which causes some CPUs to perform much more poorly than others. This paper explains the causes of this variation, measures its impacts, and discusses implications for smartphone researchers, software developers, and consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHotMobile 2017 - Proceedings of the 18th International Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages103-108
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450349079
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 21 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event18th International Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications, HotMobile 2017 - Sonoma, United States
Duration: Feb 21 2017Feb 22 2017

Publication series

NameHotMobile 2017 - Proceedings of the 18th International Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications

Other

Other18th International Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications, HotMobile 2017
CountryUnited States
CitySonoma
Period2/21/172/22/17

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications

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  • Cite this

    Srinivasa, G. P., Begum, R., Haseley, S., Hempstead, M., & Challen, G. (2017). Separated by birth: Hidden differences between seemingly-identical smartphone CPUs. In HotMobile 2017 - Proceedings of the 18th International Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications (pp. 103-108). [3032982] (HotMobile 2017 - Proceedings of the 18th International Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/3032970.3032982