Smartphones introduced at the IFA trade show in Berlin this week highlight trends that will grow more apparent over the next year, including the use of 64-bit processors, LTE-Advanced and super high-resolution screens.
With smartphone makers all having access to the same components it’s a good bet that features and technologies that show up on one device will make their way to other products as well. These were the hardware trends at IFA this year:
Just as 64-bit processing has taken over from 32-bit in PCs, they are poised to do the same in smartphones. They’ll bring better graphics performance with the ability to decode and encode high-resolution video more quickly, according to Intel, and should help speed up features like encryption.
The processors are just becoming available now, and HTC’s Desire 510 and Lenovo’s Vibe Z2 use the 64-bit capable Snapdragon 410 from Qualcomm. HTC has also launched the Desire 820, which uses the Snapdragon 615.
The smartphones won’t take full advantage of the processors until Google launches the 64-bit compatible Android L later this year. Until then, they will use the standard 32-bit version of Android, which Qualcomm’s processors can also run.
In addition to Intel and Qualcomm, Nvidia and MediaTek are also developing 64-bit processors. Apple started the changeover when it launched the iPhone 5s with a 64-bit A7 chip last year.
One advantage with the Snapdragon 805 is support for LTE-Advanced, a network technology that offers speeds up to 300Mbps by sending data over multiple frequency bands at the same time.
For it to work, mobile operators have to upgrade their networks, but that’s slowly becoming a reality. As of the end of the first quarter, ABI Research estimated there were about 60 trials, commitments and commercial deployments worldwide.
The Note 4 and Huawei’s Ascend Mate7, which uses one of the company’s own Kirin processors, both work with the technology.
Quad HD screens
Larger screens with higher resolutions have been one of the biggest smartphone trends in the last couple years. While screen sizes have reached a point where making them bigger doesn’t make sense, the resolution still has room for improvement.
LG started the trend with the launch of the G3, which has an impressive 5.5-inch screen with 2560 by 1440 pixel resolution, or quad HD. Samsung followed suit with the Note 4’s 5.7-inch quad HD screen, which is also superb.
Next year it’s likely that we’ll see more smartphones with the higher resolution, as vendors come under pressure to set their flagship devices apart from increasingly competent and much cheaper models.