BY DOMINIQUE FRIEDL
We’ve come to take the power of our smartphones for granted, but they’re the result of a decade of amazing innovation. We have watched the advent of new features such as high dynamic range (HDR) photography and 4G/LTE connectivity, and we have seen powerful functionality cascade down to mid-range and even low-end devices.
Here are some examples of how the next-generation of technology is delivering powerful user experiences – from reliable, world-wide connectivity, faster charging, increased battery life and shooting better photos and video, to providing the best audio-visual experience on-the-go.
Systems on a chip
Many of the advances in smartphones are thanks to rapid improvements in systems on a chip, or SoCs, the chipsets that include most of the components a smartphone needs to operate. These tiny chips have evolved significantly over the past few years, becoming smaller, more powerful and more energy-efficient. They contain the smartphone’s processor, the graphics processor, video encoder, and often, even components for navigation and location features.
With the smartphone serving as the primary or only camera for most people today, mobile photography is one of the main areas where chip manufacturers and smartphone makers focus their R&D efforts. Today’s image signal-processing offers advanced camera features to meet today’s photographing needs — outstripping the performance of mid-end digital cameras from just a few years ago.
Some examples of these innovations include:
· Faster focus speed systems
. Ultra-fast and accurate exposure time control for better pictures in any lighting condition
· 4K HDR video with low power consumption
· Advanced image stabilisation for better pics when long exposure times are necessary
· Electronic image stabilisation (EIS) for smoother video
Users want to enjoy their videos and social networking feeds with crisp visuals, whether they’re buying mid-range or premium devices. Technologies such as MediaTek MiraVision automatically improve visual quality by intelligently altering picture attributes such as hue saturation, brightness, resolution and frame-rate.
The beauty of such technologies is that they can intelligently reduce the power consumed by the display while also preserving and even enhancing the picture quality. Other energy-saving technologies help reduce power consumption for both LCD and AMOLED displays while preserving the viewing experience.
Ultra-resolution, meanwhile, enables video streams in 480p to outshine 1440p content with high-fidelity scalers for unmatched signal preservation and content classifiers that restore visual details. Users will not only like what they see, they will also make substantial data and energy savings when streaming videos from mobile networks. And then there’s HDR 10, the latest video High Dynamic Range standard, offering better contrast, greater brightness levels and a wider colour palette.
Other innovations include:
· Display technology that enhance the visual quality of video playback and streaming, using automatic frame-rate conversion to makes video play back smoother
· Smart technologies to optimise display readability while saving power. This context-aware technology ensures the best viewing experience is delivered even in extreme lighting conditions, while optimising energy consumption
· Ultra-dimming technology that improves viewing comfort, especially in a darker environment
We’re accustomed to streaming movies, gaming, or browsing the Internet with 4G LTE modems integrated into our smartphones. Smart antenna technology, advanced envelope tracking and other technologies are enabling us to enjoy high-speed Internet while reducing battery drain and excessive heat production.
Smoother mobile experiences
How people use their smartphones has evolved. Modem users perform a host of computing tasks on mobile devices that require a wide range of computing power. Technologies such as MediaTek CorePilot make smartphones perform better and longer. CorePilot increases power efficiency, and increases the speed for everything from simple browsing to the most intense mobile gaming.
The new premium
Today, end-users expect innovation and invention from every smartphone, regardless of price. Call it the new premium – the expectation that every device will deliver flagship-quality technology, performance and experiences in an affordable package. Mid-tier smartphones are recognised as the new premium, meaning exciting technology growth is happening here and not at the high-end.
Writer is head of corporate sales for South and Sub Saharan Africa