ARM's big.LITTLE chips, 1080p screens await smartphone buyers in 2013
More operators are also expected to launch Voice-over-LTE services
IDG News Service - Smartphone vendors will rely on upgrades such as full-HD screens and more powerful yet more frugal processors to entice customers to buy new phones in 2013.
Those tactics may work: Processor designer ARM thinks sales will surpass 1 billion units for the first time. But competition will continue to be ruthless as vendors and platforms fight for dominance or just survival.
Earlier this year it became clear that smartphones with 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution were on the way when Sharp and LG Display announced they were working on such screens.
The first phone to be equipped with the higher resolution is the HTC Droid DNA or Butterfly, but next year more high-end smartphones are expected to also get full-HD displays, including the Galaxy S IV from Samsung Electronics.
So far, reviewers have been impressed. "The display looks fantastic, with crisp, sharp details and brilliant colors that delight the eye," Computerworld wrote about the Droid DNA's screen.
The upgrade to full-HD also continues to fuel the trend of even larger smartphone displays; the Droid DNA has a 5-inch screen, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S III, which has one that measures 4.8 inches.
Overall, the Droid DNA has roughly the same width and thickness as the Galaxy S III, but is about 5 millimeters longer.
The one worry with a bigger screen and more pixels is shorter battery life, and the Droid DNA has been getting mixed reviews in that regard. Other smartphone vendors should learn from that and choose a bigger battery than the Droid DNA's 2020 mAh on their 1080p phones.
ARM's big.LITTLE arrives
The arrival of the first phones to use ARM's big.LITTLE processor architecture will be the most interesting hardware upgrade next year.
ARM's goal has been to build processors that allow mobile devices to do more, but at the same time become more efficient at doing small things. The first generation of big.LITTLE does this by combining the powerful Cortex-A15 and the frugal Cortex-A7 on one die.
The A15 is about 50 percent faster than processors powering current smartphones, while the A7 is the most energy-efficient processor ARM has ever developed, according to Laurence Bryant, director of mobile solutions at ARM.
Vendors can choose any configuration with up to four cores of each processor. But the first implementations of big.LITTLE are expected to have a symmetric number of cores, such as two small and two large ones, Bryant said.
Going forward there will be a larger variance. For example, two powerful and four frugal processors would be a good fit for the kinds of workloads smartphones have to handle, according to Bryant.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- ERP in the Cloud and the Modern Business View IDC's White Paper, to review IDC CloudTrack Survey findings, gain expert insight into the challenges and opportunities the cloud presents, and determine...
- Oracle ERP Cloud Service - Back-Office Solutions that Keep You in Front Learn how you can harness the power of the cloud to run your business more effectively and lower upfront costs.
- Integration with Oracle Fusion Financials Cloud Service While moving your financial system to the cloud may seem straightforward, truly realizing the advantages of the cloud requires a complete understanding how...
- Hadoop for Dummies Today, organizations in every industry are being showered with imposing quantities of new information. Along with traditional sources, many more data channels and...
- Live Webcast Best Practices: How to Improve Business Continuity with Virtualization VMware solutions include a range of business continuity capabilities to help ensure availability for applications across your virtualized environment. Learn More>>
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- Endpoint Data Management: Protecting the Perimeter of the Internet of Things Not surprisingly, "Internet of Things" (IoT) and Big Data present new challenges AND opportunities for enterprise IT. Teams need to harness, secure and... All Data Center White Papers | Webcasts