Mobile component technology will continue to evolve in ways that defy expectations about what smartphones can or cannot do. To date, some of the most popular –as well as potentially revolutionary— technologies include flexible OLED displays, which allow mobile devices to potentially assume flat, bendable forms, and Near Field Communications (NFC), which impart on smartphones the functions typical of credit cards, ticket passes, and other security-management tools.
A good variety of similarly intriguing, albeit less extensively covered, component technologies abound within the industry. Below, we’ve listed out five recently announced ones that managed to not only garner a respectable amount of attention within the tech industry, but are also potentially likely to be applied to a future wave of promising mobile devices.
1. Aptina’s 4K-enabling Sensor and Mobile HDR Component
For those not aware of the technology, “4K” refers to a high quality display format offering a resolution about twice that of 1080p HD televisions. Through a series of its recently developed 1.1-micron pixel-based sensory components, and with the combined use of the 3rd gen A-PixHand and 4th gen Mobile HDR technologies, Aptina promises to make such high quality content available on any ordinary smartphone device. With the aforementioned components equipped, consumers will allegedly be able to snap pictures, record videos, and download content in resolutions that are up to 3840×2160.
In addition to its promising 4K offerings, Aptina is said to also be in the process of promoting AR0833 sensors that provide high-dynamic range (HDR) and enable users to enjoy a fluid “filming” experience. Sony is expected to be one of the earliest adopters of the aforementioned component technology, given its recent cross license agreement with the image-solution company. It is reasonable to expect more and more future smartphones to offer exceptional multimedia content as Aptina’s 1.1 sensors become more widely used within the mobile device industry.
2. Atmel’s enhanced and resilient touch displays
Known for developing micro-controller and touch screen solutions, Atmel made the notable announcement last month that it would be releasing maXtouch S controller touch displays with a performance unmatched by any other competing product. The benefits offered by the company’s unique brand of components, as implied in its recent press statements, include their environmental resistance, low power consumption, impressive touch-screen accuracy, and brighter displays.
In the event that they become fully developed, Atmel’s maXtouch S controllers are expected to be featured in Kyocera’s Torque E6710, which will be released at some point during the second half of 2013. Should the technology undergo further adoption (as well as gain a much wider recognition), stronger and more resilient mobile devices can be expected in the periods to come.
3. Molex’s Projected Capacitive Touch Screens
Molex, a US company specializing specifically in touch-screen based technologies, announced recently that it would be developing a new, flexible form of touch-display known as “Projected Capacitive Touch screen.” On the technical side, the display offers a wide array of impressive features, including long use life (up to 200 million total actuations) and advanced 10 point multi-touch capability.
What ultimately sets Molex’s component technology apart from the others, as far as practicality is concerned, is its high degree of customizability: the company’s touch screen is said to be the highly flexible sort, enough to be able to suit mobile devices of varying screen sizes (2.00 inches to 32.00 inches), materials (glass-and-glass, glass-and-film, film-and-film), and budget. According to the company’s press statement, the touch screen can also be applied to both industry-based and mainstream market devices, indicating that its impact will be visible in both the business and consumer segments.
4. CEVA’s Energy Efficient “AMF” Chips (for Android devices)
Using its manufacturing resources and unique DSP core technology, CEVA recently came up with an energy efficient software framework intended specifically for Android-based operating systems. Labelled “Android Multimedia Framework,” the technology “offloads” multimedia and other “power hungry” tasks from a typical processor to CEVA’s DSPs, which in effect allows audio, imaging, and vision-related tasks to be performed more seamlessly. With CEVA’s practical and efficient design, Android system program developers have the freedom and flexibility to create high-performance multimedia applications without having to worry about draining a smartphone’s power. In the near future, it is believed that mid-end, and even low-cost, Android devices may eventually be able to take advantage of such technology.
5. Texas Instruments’ Windows 8-based processor
One of Texas Instruments’ most recent and noteworthy announcements is the TCA8424, a Windows-based scan device targeted towards Microsoft’s new operating system. Key features include pre-coded HID specifications (as required by Microsoft), a preprogrammed keyboard map, the ability to generate INPUT reports of standard 8-byte length, and the ability to detect and report as many as six simultaneous key presses.