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Five components that will rock your next smartphone

Mikael Ricknäs | Jan. 17, 2014
Chip makers like Qualcomm, Nvidia and Samsung Electronics are working on components that will increase processing power, add more memory and increase screen resolution of next-generation smartphones.

The memory increase and performance improvement offered by the 8-gigabit LPDDR4 (low power double data rate) mobile DRAM will result in faster, more responsive applications and will open the door for more advanced features as well as displays with higher resolutions, according to Samsung. The product also consumes less power than current memory chipsets, it said.

The chip will start shipping this year for use in large-screen smartphones, tablets and ultra-slim notebooks, according to Samsung. While 4GB will be possible, it's more likely that new high-end smartphones will instead get a more modest upgrade to 3GB.

Samsung also offers eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard) memory to increase integrated storage to 128GB. That has been possible for some time, but vendors don't seem very interested.

LG Display's 2560 by 1440 pixel screen
Larger screens with higher resolutions have been one of the biggest smartphone trends in the last couple of years, and that shows few signs of abating. For example, LG Electronics' Display unit has developed a 5.5-inch screen for next generation smartphones with a 2560 by 1440 pixel resolution.

That combination equals a density of 538 ppi (pixels-per-inch). Current smartphones like the HTC One has 468 ppi on a 4.7-inch screen and the Samsung's Galaxy S4 has 441 ppi on a 5-inch screen.

The higher resolution allows users to see a full view of a PC-version Web page without any image distortion, according to LG. As is often the case, LG doesn't seem to be alone among the major smartphone makers working on screens with this resolution — Samsung and Sony are rumored to be doing the same.

STMicroelectronics' 9-Axis movement and position sensor
Today's smartphones aren't just about raw performance. They also have a multitude of different sensors to help with navigation, for example.

STMicroelectronics has announced a new 9-axis movement and position sensor, which combines a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis magnetometer. Its improved performance can be used to enhance features such as gesture controls, indoor navigation, and augmented reality, the company said.

The sensor measures 3.5 by 3 millimeters, which is almost 35 percent smaller than previous generations. It also uses less power than previous models. In addition to smartphones, it can be used in remote controls, game controllers, and sports or medical wearables, STM said.

The company is shipping small volumes of the sensor, but isn't saying when it will show up in smartphones.


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