If libretro's snes9x runs at 20fps on my phone, it's not because of Android.
It can if it's loaded full of crapware Java apps and services that are triggering the garbage collector like no tomorrow, and if you don't properly set your refreshrate right - since we use static syncing (with audio rate control).
You can bash Android if you want, that doesn't change the fact that it's not the problem there.
It is son. It says enough about your 'coding credentials' that you haven't figured out that basic part yet.
Go fix your code, kid.
OK 'dad', but before I consider that, are you sure you're even talking about the right core here? There are two 'cores' in RetroArch - one is regular SNES9x (bleeding-edge from Git), and the other is a speedhacked equivalent (Next) based on 1.52.
By the way, you say that libretro was not designed with "really super crap" devices in mind. Just remember the Zero has more or less the power of an Xperia Play.
If you say you are getting 20fps with a game on SNES9x Next (I presume it is Next at least) with your Xperia Play, then that means you are getting at least 5x less the performance that I am getting with my Cortex A8 Android tablet, and at least 7x slower than a Gamecube.
If you somehow manage to make your GCW Zero run just as crap as your 'favored' device (the Xperia Play), then hell yeah, you have a problem alright - but then, if it can't even match a Gamecube in terms of computational power, I don't see how many people will be interested in your device to begin with - especially with no GL ES hardware acceleration which is pretty much a core requirement these days.
In the end, it really doesn't matter if you don't like RetroArch or not - we already have the vast majority of the userbases in all console/mobile scenes. If you guys don't like it, that's no big deal - we will continue existing and rocking on.
If you want to be a part of this ever-growing ecosystem and build up your own project in the process, do let me know. But last thing I'm going to do is grovel and beg for this thing when I've got major players like Nvidia offering way better devices than this one without having to convince them on 'jack'. I have the momentum, I have the credentials and I don't need to start grovelling to any bit-player startups anytime soon. Guess what you have? Nothing much and everything to prove. That is your basic dilemma there.
Sorry for trying to reach an extending hand and for trying to be nice and willing to help I guess. It is not my problem if a Gamecube and Wii runs better than your piece of shit phone - don't take it out on me - don't shoot the messenger (RetroArch) - it is trying to rid you of your delusions that you actually have something resembling a 'powerful device'.