Qualcomm teases amazing changes to smartphones and tablets

Posted by Rob Enderle

I’m at Qualcomm’s analyst briefing this week, an event full of tech goodies that will make you lust after the next cell phone and tablet generations. From magic pens to massively improved sound and connectivity, your next cell phone will likely make your current cell phone look really lame.  

So let me walk you through a number of the highlights.

Built In Noise Cancellation

This will be in Sony's next high-end phone, a fact that makes me seriously consider the device. Typically, noise cancellation technology is both expensive and bulky - meaning it difficult to get to work in a set of ear buds which are easy to carry in a pocket. Well, Qualcomm managed to figure out a way to get the processor in the phone to handle the load - only adding a second microphone to the ear buds to get this technology to work.   Meaning, you get a massively better music experience in places where there is lots of noise (like on a plane), along with the portability of small buds. The new Sony Xperia phone isn’t selling yet - but be sure check out the handset when it does.  

Magic Pen

This was really cool. Stylus input works OK on some products, although not as well on others (depending on the touch screen technology). But do you really want to write on your tablet screen?  What is cool about the Qualcomm implementation is that the pen also works on paper. And not just writeing on paper, I mean the tablet captures what you write while you are writing on paper as if you were writing on the tablet.  They use some kind of sonic positioning technology (I wonder if it’ll drive dogs nuts) to do this and, particularly if you have kids that like to color on your tablet, this could not only save your screen it is also wicked cool to watch.

4K

Qualcomm is making a huge deal about pushing 4K content on tablets and phones.   This is well beyond the Apple Retina screen which supposedly is at the limit of what you can see - except perhaps it isn’t. When it comes to straight lines you can actually see a significantly higher resolution. And for text? When it comes to certain types of images the higher resolution actually does make a difference. Truthfully, I had to actually see it to believe it. In areas like China, where complex characters are used, this could be a big deal. The other big advantage? Pushing content to that new 4K TV you don’t yet know you’re going to want. Given the lack of 4K content, a phone that can capture in 4K may become a must have if you buy one of the TVs.

Oodles of Bandwidth

One of the biggest problems with having everything connected is that when bandwidth sucks, as it often does, or you aren’t near a WiFi access point you can’t get anything done. Well, behind the scenes Qualcomm has been working to make a huge number of access points more effectively handle far more users - granting users access to far more access points automatically.  Imagine, for instance, being able to access any WiFi point that was handled by your Cable Carrier, with each access point capable of handling far more users concurrently and successfully. This combination should massively improve not only how successfully you connect - but how good the connection actually is. 

Wrapping Up:  More Power and Battery Life

As one would expect, the next generations of smartphones will have both more power to run apps and games, with improved battery life and an increasing number of device that will also be inductively charged. They’ll be bigger too, I’ve learned from experience that once you go big, you don’t go back.  

Now be aware that most of the stuff that Qualcomm is bringing to market will likely show up first on high-end phones and tablets - and not on every one of them. But if you decide you want one of these features (I really want those headphones), it may drive you to a smartphone and vendor you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. One thing is for sure though, if you are into tech, your next personal device could be amazing.