Qualcomm missed the dual-core craze in a way, since NVIDIA Tegra 2 managed to get in to phones and tablets by the time the third generation Snapdragon entered the sampling stage. Granted, nothing says system-on-a-chip better than Snapdragon, which integrates every radio you can think of, including the baseband modems in the silicon, but the Scorpion core is still heavily-modified Cortex-A8, unlike the Cortex-A9 chipsets of NVIDIA, Samsung or Texas Instruments.
NVIDIA will be beating everyone to the punch again at the end of this summer, with a quad-core Kal-El chipset, which got demoed on video at Computex 2011 today. Qualcomm, however, is pushing along with a new core, called Krait, for the fourth generation Snapdragon, which should go against chipset with the next Cortex-A15 architecture from ARM. Qualcomm said that this chipset is on track to start sampling in June, and should be available by the end of this year.
Qualcomm’s version is remarkable with its 28nm production process, and will probably be the first mobile chipset to break that threshold. Such an efficient method allows for more transistors and less power at the same time. Qualcomm claims 65% reduction in the chipset’s power consumption, compared to current chipsets, which is jaw-dropping, and should go a long way towards squeezing extra working hours out of our smartphones. Not to mention 2.5GHz maximum clock speed, 150% increase in performance, and the fact that the Krait core will appear in single, dual, and, yes, quad-core APQ8064 version. We can’t wait.
Given the aggressive 28nm goal, Qualcomm might mean the chipset will be available to manufacturers by year-end, rather than go in actual devices you can buy, but we’ll wait for more clarity on that matter. For more information on the currrent and future multicore mobile chipsets you can read our in-depth article here.
There’s nothing quite as reassuring about typing as the clicking sound of a typewriter marking every keystroke. So while smartphones have become the most quiet method of text input using touchscreens, you can’t quite reach that level of blind typing helped not only by seeing what you’re typing, but also by feeling and hearing. Second-largest Japanese carrier KDDI took on this issue and is working on bringing physical dimension to typing – haptic feedback and a clicking sensation should all contribute to faster, more intuitive operation of a handset.
To achieve that, KDDI developed a touchscreen in concert with Kyocera, but while that’s only a prototype, it promises a lot. Currently, the screen doesn’t support multitouch, which means that you can’t input text using two fingers simultaneously, but that will be fixed in the final version. The impressive demo below shows how you can get a different feeling and make use of the new technology not only when typing, but when navigating through a menu with different haptic feedback when you hover over or press an icon. Feel free to check out the video below and share your opinion about the technology.
So you’ve bought a dual-core tablet and you think you have the latest of cutting-edge silicon on your slate? You certainly do, but if you’re the type of geek caring about state-of-the-art hardware, you’d already be thinking about the mind-blowing graphics coming with NVIDIA’s upcoming quad-core chip Kal-El after watching the video demo below. It showcases graphics from the future with dynamic lighting, plenty of realistic physics and buttery smooth gaming, only possible on mobile devices due to the united efforts of four separate processing cores. While gaming will be one of the main beneficiaries of the 12 GPU cores in NVIDIA’s upcoming chip, the speed boost will be noticeable all around as the NVIDIA Kal-El outscored the Core 2 Duo in terms of processing power.
The Glowball game below runs on a Honeycomb tablet with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. But it’s not just the pretty picture that is rendered – you can adjust the light source and even change it which instantly reflects on the surroundings. All of the objects around you respond naturally, so even the slightest touch of the glowing ball to the drapes causes a realistically beautiful reaction. Just as you would expect, game controls are fully accelerometer-optimized.
NVIDIA also promises to make the Glowball demo app available in the Android Market, so you can check it out on your quad-core tablet, but even if it’s also available for dual-core devices don’t expect them to manage the task as drop rates when reducing the operational cores to two dropped to choppy instantly. What’s even more impressive is that the NVIDIA used pre-production silicon for the demo and expects the final chip to be 25%-30% faster. The other benefits the chip brings include:
- Support for “Extreme HD” videos with resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels,
- Five times faster performance than Tegra 2.
The system-on-a-chip was first leaked in February, but its promised release this fall seemed hard to believe. NVIDIA’s aggressive timing however gets the company results as most of today’s dual-core smartphones run on its Tegra 2 chip. If it pushes the chips so first quad-core tablets arrive this August and smartphones around Christmas, the path to success of the new SoC by NVIDIA seems paved. Oh, and that Hollywood Amazon tablet in the works might just be the first one to ride the quad-core waves.
There may be a new mobile strategy to consider: come up with interesting concepts that never make it to market, go bankrupt, then sell your patent portfolio to pay off your debts. It may not be the sexiest strategy, but it has been the path taken by modu. Modu was an Israeli company that had pioneered the idea of mini-mobile devices that could be swapped into multiple “jackets”. So, rather than having a full-mobile device with various docks, like the Motorola ATRIX 4G, you would have a miniature device that could be swapped into a phone jacket, speaker system jacket, picture frame jacket, etc. The modu phone even made the Guinness Book of World Records as the lightest cell phone.
The idea was that you have the very basics – phone+storage – in the modu phone, and that could be swapped into various hardware, or even newer devices. This would mean data portability for a fast moving ecosystem, much like the combination of Google’s cloud sync and your personal SD storage card, or iTunes sync. The idea also plays into an increasingly niche-driven market where all of the solutions are one-size-fits-all. Smartphones, media players and tablets are designed to appeal to the widest swath of consumers, but modu wanted to offer a customizeable solution which could fit into each niche without adding unnecessary features, and therefore cost.
Unfortunately, modu, which was started in 2007, could never get the idea off the ground and was forced to shut its doors in February of this year due to mounting debts and back salaries. Modu had been searching for investors since November 2010 to stave off this fate, but hadn’t found anyone willing. Last month, Google stepped in, offering to buy the company’s patent portfolio for $2 million. Now, it has been reported that Google will pay $4.9 million for the portfolio, and modu will be using that money to settle its debts and pay its former employees. The question then becomes: why would Google do this?…
Read the whole article at PhoneArena.com!
In the U.S. alone, a person has a heart attack every 34 seconds. And, heart disease costs the U.S. $316.4 billion every year. So a small telehealth startup, SHL, is seeking to improve those statistics with the Smartheart device and app.
The Smartheart device, which is estimated to cost US$499, hooks around the user’s chest, much like a heart rate monitor. The device then records a hospital-grade electrocardiogram (ECG). Smartheart connects to your iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android device via Bluetooth, allowing you to view your ECG in detail, and email it to your physician.
While there is no substitute for an in-hospital ECG, Smartheart could be a great resource for people with cardiovascular diseases. Rather than having to go to the hospital and endure a tedious ECG, they can record them from home, and send them to their physicians. And if the physician finds something irregular, then the user can go to the hospital.
In addition to saving time, Smartheart could also save people a lot of money. While the $499 price tag sounds expensive, it’s still better than frequent visits to the doctor. And, in time, healthcare plans might cover at least part of the device’s cost.
Our only concern is that people might rely too much on this homebrew solution. We don’t know how effective it really is by comparison, but we think it’s safe to assume that people with serious conditions should continue their traditional ECGs.
Verizon’s unlimited 4G Mobile Hotspot was introduced in a trial version with the HTC ThunderBolt allowing the user to tether up to 8 devices on the carrier’s blazing fast LTE network and the trial was extended through June 16th to cover the Samsung DROID Charge, but come June 16th the trial feature will be disabled through a software update, according to an anonymous tipster.
Currently, Big Red offers a $20 for 2GB of mobile data plan for its 3G smartphones and while our tipster didn’t know about the exact pricing of the 4G Mobile Hotspot, he quoted “a hot news and announcement” page confirming that the cost for 4G phones will not be the same.
Users who wish to continue using the service will receive a message requiring them to contact their system administrator in case they want to continue using the service. We’ve heard rumors about a $29.99 price tag for unlimited use of the feature, considerably cheaper than the MiFi plans running at $50 for 5GB and $80 for 10GB. Could it be true and would you use it at such a price? Feel free to give us your two cents in the comments below.
Thanks, phonearena user!
For Google Talk’s video chat to work, you need an Android handset with a front-facing camera and the 2.3.4 build of Google’s open source OS. That limits the possible choices right now to the T-Mobile Nexus S and the Sprint Nexus S 4G. If you want to use the feature anywhere where your carrier has coverage, you’re limited to just the Sprint model. Why? Because T-Mobile is blocking the video chat feature over its 3G pipelines.
When a T-Mobile Nexus S user tries to use the Google Talk video chat, he/she gets a message that says, “You must be connected to a WiFi network to start a video chat.”
As the latest batch of Android phones gets launched, most are coming equipped with front-facing cameras. Once the new devices are launched with Android 2.3.4 and the other models receive upgrades to that build, the number of phones able to use Google Talk’s video chat will grow in number tremendously.
The only way to share your smartphone’s internet connection with another device, a laptop for example, is to sign up for a tethering service with your carrier and get the feature enabled. Or is it? Some of you may be aware that applications, which allow internet sharing without opting in for an additional subscription, do exist and can spare you from that extra fee. Needless to say, carriers are not too happy about that and have now taken measures against unauthorized tethering.
It seems like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have started blocking wireless tethering applications from the Android Market in an effort to prevent users from sharing their internet wirelessly without paying for that. There is no word whether Sprint will follow their steps soon or not, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the carrier springs into action as well. The very existence of such apps is nothing out of the ordinary since subscribers can be charged anything from $10 to $45 monthly for the premium service. On the other hand, some third-party tethering applications come for free and their only major drawback is that they require a rooted device in order to run.
So, what do you think about carriers implying restrictions on unauthorized wireless tethering? Don’t you think that when subscribers pay for data, they should be able to use it in any way they please? Feel free to let us know in the comments.
Thanks to the availability of new Android devices for its customers, like the LTE-enabled Samsung Indulge, pre-paid carrier MetroPCS reported a very strong first quarter. The carrier added a record 725,000 new subscribers in the period, an increase of 21% year-over-year. For the quarter, MetroPCS reported a 149% increase in net profit to $56 million dollars from the 2010 quarter. On an earnings per share basis, MetroPCS reported 15 cents a share in profit, up from 6 cents a share in 2010.
Commenting on the earnings report, MetroPCS Chairman, President and CEO, Roger D. Lindquist, said, “We reported record net subscriber additions of over seven hundred twenty-five thousand this quarter, the highest in company history. Building on the strong momentum we had throughout 2010, continued interest in our Wireless for All plans and in the significant uptake of our Android Smartphones, total subscriber growth was 21% year over year. We also reported churn of 3.1% representing a significant year over year reduction from first quarter 2010 churn of 3.7%. We believe we are well positioned in this competitive marketplace by providing mobile broadband on cutting-edge Smartphones for an affordable price to our subscribers,”
The pre-paid carrier now offers 4G LTE service in all of its metropolitan areas with the majority expected to be built out by the end of this year. Lindquist added, “The Internet is going mobile and we believe our subscribers’ demand for multimedia and video will continue to increase, specifically within the Android platform…With an exceptional first quarter, we are off to a great start this year and we will continue to be focused on profitable growth and building long term value for our shareholders.” And with a good report like this, who can say he’s wrong?
One might argue whether smartphones are all that powerful, theorize if they can replace computers in the future, but one thing seems universally true – the smartphone has become an indispensible part of our daily lives. We not only need it – we want it, any time, any place, and the urge is stronger than chocolate. At least, if we are to believe a survey carried among some 5,000 respondents, a third of which claimed they’d give up the pleasure of chocolate for the sweetness of being able to keep on using their smartphone.
And while targetted at Google Mobile Ads customers, this video gives an interesting insight at just how addictive our handsets have become. The sheer numbers? Take a look below to see the details of the intimate relationship between the human race and the smartphone.
Out of 5,013 U.S. adult smartphone users:
What do you use your smartphone for? Don’t hesitate to share your smartphone experience in the comments below!