Big screens have the unfortunate side effect of using lots of power, but announcements made next year will focus around advancements in making displays more energy efficient, as well, according to Geoff Blaber, an analyst at CCS Insight.
Along with larger displays, dual-core processors were a big hardware trend in 2011. But, again, vendors need to convince consumers that it makes sense to buy a new phone, and products with quad-core processors will be on the menu in 2012.
Upgrading from two to four cores will improve the overall experience when using a phone, as well as improve video performance and help phones keep up with faster 4G networks, according to ARM spokesman Andy Phillips. The company's Cortex-A9 will power many such phones.
Clock speeds will also increase next year.
But improved smartphone performance won't come from just faster main processors. The GPU (graphics processing unit) will also play a more important role in upcoming products, according to Blaber.
ARMs Mali-T604 is one of the GPUs that will be used in high-end smartphones next year. It can also use four cores and offers five times the performance of previous Mali graphics processors, according to ARM.
Smartphone trends for 2012 will be a highlight of the Consumers Electronics Show, which starts on Jan. 10 in Las Vegas, and the Mobile World Congress, which takes place at the end of February in Barcelona.
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