Best dual-core apps
Android, iPhone, iPad and iPad 2 apps primed for the extra processor power
Smoother multitasking, increased speed and better gaming and video; that's just some of the things we can look forward to from a dual-core existence.
The extra processing punch already hiding inside smartphones and tablet devices is also good news for apps. So with that in mind, we've hand-picked the best app offerings to make the most of one of 2011's hottest smartphone features.
See below for T3's pick of the best dual-core apps.
1/ Dead Space
Format: iPad 2
EA launched this version of the hit console game on the same day that the iPad 2 became available, touting the improved graphics and smooth gameplay enabled by the Apple tablet’s bolstered dual core A5 processor, and with good reason.
With graphics that live up to those offered on the popular Xbox 360 and PS3, this gory, survival shooter boasts slick gameplay to match its stunning visuals and an awesome touchscreen control system that almost makes you forget you ever needed a controller.
Dead Space is a sign of things to come for iPad gamers, really making use of the A5 chip (which Apple says offers up to 9x better graphics) to provide some fast, seamless, great looking action.
2/ Samurai II: Vengeance THD
Here’s a game that only works with dual core Android devices, so you’ll need a Motorola Xoom tablet, a Moto Atrix smartphone or an LG Optimus 2X packing the Tegra II chip to install it on your device.
But if you’re looking for a game to showcase the power of that chip, the hack-and-slash action on offer in Samurai II: Vengeance THD will have you contemplating an upgrade from that shabby old Snapdragon.
With console-like graphics running at 60 frames per second, a new virtual D-Pad, dynamic camera and lightning quick gameplay, this is among the best games the Android platform has to offer.
The prospect of running anything Apple’s revolutionary music creation tool on anything other than a MacBook or iMac was unthinkable until the iPad came along.
Announced alongside the iPad 2 back in March, this power-hungry app benefits hugely from the Apple A5 dual-core processor. It allows allow the super-fast switching between instruments and smooth, judder-free eight-track recordings with the minimum of fuss.
This app will also run on the original iPad, but you’ll really feel the difference on the sequel. It’ll run perfectly, even when there are a few other apps running on the device at the same time.
4/ Tiger Lab (Nintendo DS Emulator)
As smartphones continue to get more and more powerful with faster, better equipped processors the possibilities for gamers are going to explode. The early prototype of Tiger Lab is a perfect example of this.
The concept app proves that Nintendo DS roms will run on an Android device, although at this point games can’t be played.
Developers Tiger King think that by 2012 we could be rocking full versions of DS games like Mario Kart on our devices, but that’s going to depend on the power processors like the NVIDIA Tegra chip housed in the LG Optimus 2X.
This is a fully-functional video creation tool that allows users to shoot, edit, add soundtrack and post their home movies in one complete package. It’s a very powerful and demanding application.
The app works well on the iPhone 4’s Apple A4 processor, but comes into its own on the iPad 2 with the A5 chip handling this power-hungry application much more successfully. Gone is the delay when adding a new clip to the timeline and gone is the lag when attempting to trim down a video.
When the iPhone 5 arrives, likely packing the A5 processor, we’ll see a marked improvement in iMovie’s performance.
If this has happened to us once, it has happened to us a hundred times. Shazam is a great tool for finding out the names of new songs we hear on our travels, but the problem with that is that usually we only decide that they’re worth finding out about towards the end of the song.
So the Shazam-ing is always a race against time. Can you tag the song before it finishes? Invariably the app takes too long to load and we end up Googling a lyric we caught to solve the mystery.
Perhaps an optimised Shazam on a dual-core chip packing handset can provide the instant gratification we need to tag the song and end that last bar trauma.
7/ The Daily
Price: 99c a week
This applies to all newspapers and magazines that have made the transition from the newsstand to the App Store. These applications rely on fast loading and rendering times to give us the feel that we’re actually turning the page of our favourite publications rather than prodding at a tablet screen searching for our news.
No-one wants to be waiting an age for that beautiful photo gallery to load, while that little icon spins on screen. It needs to feel instant.
So for apps that deliver full magazines and newspapers on a subscription basis, like The Daily and The Times that have struggled to load content at the turn of a page, doubling up on the processing power can only be a good thing.
8/ Backbreaker THD
Backbreaker Football (that’s American Football, you know the one where you don’t have to use your feet) is one of the most popular smartphone apps ever. Pick up the ball in midfield and ride the brutish tackles, get to the endzone and do a stupid dance for the cameras.
The THD-specific (Tegra High Definition) version of the game promises hi-def, console quality graphics, more detailed players, more fluid animations, a live real-time video screen and even enhanced grass and on-field logos.
While these upgrades aren’t mind-blowing it’s another indication of the improvements dual-core Tegra-powered apps can offer devices like the Motorola Xoom or Atrix.
9/ Infinity Blade
Infinity Blade is one of the finest visual achievements in the history of mobile gaming, so it was interesting to see developers Chair claim that the medieval quest was “now optimized for iPad 2” and “includes high-resolution graphics that utilize the enhanced visual capabilities of the iPad 2.”
It turns out that this was no idle boast. The improved graphics showcased by the iPad 2’s A5 chip really come through strongly here displaying cleaner, sharper and more vivid images than on the original iPad’s A4 chip.
While the original iPad struggled to maintain the frame rate, the iPad 2 offers “console-like” gameplay without the judders and skips we’d expect from a mobile device. Now if only the iPad 2 had a Retina Screen…
10/ Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior
Format: Android PlayStation Suite
Price: Pre-installed on Xperia Play
If the PlayStation Suite on the Xperia Play phone from Sony Ericsson is going to live up to the hype then the graphics are going to have to get better and this answer to Tekken is a prime example A year ago the 1GHz Snapdragon processor featured on the device was the gold standard, but in 2011 dual core is taking over.
With the PlayStation Suite focusing on porting PlayStation Certified classics, the graphical capabilities of the Xperia Play line are going to need a boost if they can keep pace with not just Apple and Android but also the forthcoming Sony NGP, which is promising PS3-quality graphics.
11/ T3 for iPad
Price: £5.99 for three issues
Don't get us wrong, the T3 iPad app looks absolutely splendid and works wonderfully on the original iPad model, even if we do say so ourselves, but the extra processing power offered by the iPad 2 is the icing on the cake.
The app features a host of exclusive galleries, interactive 360-degree photography, videos and tonnes of pop-up interactive features and animations. the A5 dual-core chip gives each of those features some extra pep in their step, offering faster loading times and clearer text sooner. What are you waiting for? See for yourself today
12/ Fruit Ninja THD
Having extra processing power and graphical nous at hand can even improve the simplest of mobile games and that's definitely the case with our favourite hack-and-slash game for Android, Fruit Ninja.
The special THD version for those lucky folks boasting a device with an NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip under the bonnet boasts of more detailed fruit design and better visuals than the original version and its iPhone counterpart. Now you'll be able to destroy fruit at will and get a fuzzy sense of warmness inside about just how pretty it looks as you carve it to pieces, Ninja style.
13/ BBC iPlayer
It was the holy grail of iPad apps when it finally arrived on the App Store back in February. The official BBC iPlayer app for iPad brings a beautifully designed mobile version of the incredible catch-up TV service from the Beeb and with the iPad 2 now boasting a little more under the hood, it works that little bit better.
With a much-improved start-up time, the app is more responsive to your commands so it really is like having a TV remote control in your hands when catching up on your favourite shows. We just wish this free app allowed us to download Eastenders to watch on the train every morning.
14/ Real Racing 2 HD
One of the best-reviewed racing games on the App Store, Real Racing 2 returns in HD hoping to set the fastest lap yet with iPad 2 optimised graphics. RR2 HD is one of the first games to promise an improvement especially for the iPad 2's improved hardware and developers Firemint have lived up to their claim with some incredible console-like visuals.
The game boasts 30 officially licensed cars, 15 real tracks, a 10 hour plus career mode and online multi-player that'll keep you going for ages.
For £5.99, it's definitely worth a download. Feel the force of the new iPad 2's dual-core processor in all its glory.
15/ Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD
But hold on a second, cool your jets Real Racing HD, you're not the only driving game to boast dramatically improved performance on iPad 2. The new version Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD was released this month and brings with it a host of graphical improvements enabled by Apple's A5 chip.
Developers Gameloft promises "the thrill of racing like never before in the newest adrenaline-pumping edition of the Asphalt series with new features specially designed to show off the full potential of the iPad 2.
"Asphalt has never looked so breathtaking thanks to real time reflections on cars, specular and bump mapping for richer surface textures, more realistic shadows, cinematic blur effects for boosts and crashes, deeper draw distances, improved particle effects for smoke, collisions & more, and anti aliasing for smoother edges on all 3D objects."
16/ Dungeon Defenders: First Wave Deluxe HD
The Epic Online Action Role Playing Game (or EOARPG) is one of the finest co-op games available on the Android Market, with a taste of the much-loved Tower Defense thrown in for good measure.
The game allows you to battle the creatures seeking to oust you from your stronghold, but stragetically setting traps throughout the castle. As with any good RPG, you can level-up, gather swap, upgrade your gear and develop your abilities.
If you're lucky enough to be boasting a dual-core smartphone from Motorola or LG, the Deluxe HD version of the game contains a bunch of new Tegra-exclusive missions, enemies, bosses, pets, and weapons.
It's probably better to have a fast processor because this is one power hungry game. It demands that you have 600MB of spare memory on your device before you download.
17/ Monster Madness
These NVIDIA Tegra 2 exclusive games are piling up and there's no doubt that dual core powered devices will take Android gaming to the next level. If you already have a Motorola Xoom or an LG Optimus 2X you can experience the future now with Monster Madness.
Powered by the Unreal 3 engine and the Tegra 2 chip it showcases some of the best-looking graphics ever seen on an Android device, and according to developers SouthPeak games "a full console experience in the palm of your hand."
The game see four suburban take on wave-after-wave of Zombie attackers using upgradable weapons and vehicular assault. There's five beautifully designed environments, 70 disgusting-looking creatures of the undead and a two players co-op mode so two players can slay together over Wi-Fi. It's almost reason enough to upgrade today.
18/ Hardwood Solitaire IV
"Why do we need a dual-core processor on our phones to play Solitaire, even some Symbian flavoured-Nokia phones can do that?" we hear you cry.
Well, in all honestly you don't, but if you can find a better looking Solitaire app than this one then we'll go bare-assed for a month. Hardwood Solitaire, which is a Tegra 2 exclusive download for Android phones and tablets. It promises real-time lighting and shadows in the game environments, ocean waves breaking in the distance and new 1080p high-resolution textures for the card faces and backs. See. Told ya so.
19/ Riptide GP
Coming this May, Riptide GP is the "first console-quality water racing game developed specifically to be played on NVIDIA Tegra-powered mobile devices." We can't imagine there were too many contenders for that mantle.
Regardless, developers Vector Unit says it uses the dual-core processor to make real-time physics calculations for the water effects, while delivering higher-resolution textures and console-class visuals. With 16 courses and six watercraft to unlock this watercross racer one we're really looking forward to seeing on the Motorola Xoom tablet.
20/ History: Great Battles Medieval
Arriving on the Android Market for NVIDIA Tegra powered Android devices like the Dell Streak 7, this splendid looking RPG allows you to re-fight some of the biggest battles in history, with you in the General's seat.
The dual-core processor comes in handy here thanks to the sheer scale of this game. Each battle features hundreds of individual soldiers engaging in a bloody battle on a massively detailed medieval. The game boats 20 different fighting units all decked out in unique detail, while there are 100 different skills to equip your battalions with. This is definitely one we're anxious to play on the 10.1-inch screen of the Motorola Xoom.