Smartphone life in 2012: New features explained

Quad-core, qHD, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, we explain some of the key new tablet and smartphone features that are set to land in the next twelve months

If there's one thing that we love about Mobile World Congress aside from being in the warmer climes of Barcelona, it's getting hands-on time with the kind of cutting-edge smartphone and tablet technology that we'd love to smuggle away in our luggage back to the UK.

 

While we get the opportunity to get up close and personal with the slick new hardware, we also have to familiarise ourselves with the new terminology that can comes with it. MWC 2012 has had its fair share of buzzwords flying around the exhibit halls and as you try to decide which of the best new phones and tablets you hope to have in your possession in the near future, T3 explores what some of these new features will mean for your mobile life in 2012.

 

 

Quad-core

Just when you are getting to grips with a dual-core existence, new handsets like the HTC One X, ZTE Era and Huawei Ascend D Quad and  will harness the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor technology. Essentially the brains behind your device, Nvidia’s dual-core processor which is found in devices like the LG Optimus 2X, focused on bringing 1080p HD video support, faster browsing and better multitasking. Now the quad-core processor will do more of the same whilst adding improved touch responsiveness on your tablet or smartphone and 3D stereo sound.

 

Core Companion

If you get your hands on a quad-core packing device then Core Companion technology will also be under the hood which actually adds a fifth core to processor proceedings. This means that while the main four cores will be used to stream your HD video and games, when you are doing simpler tasks like web browsing, these four cores will shut down and use the extra core instead. The main benefit being that your battery does not get sapped so quickly.

 

qHD

We first heard about qHD screen displays when the Motorola Atrix was announced last year, and now upcoming smartphones like the HTC One S and Asus Padfone looks set to embrace the technology, qHD stands for quarter HD and refers to screen resolution. It's essentially a quarter of full HD and while it might not produce the kind of dark, rich blacks that make Super AMOLED Plus displays (Samsung Galaxy S2) so amazing to watch films and video, it has a higher resolution than VGA or WVGA phone displays, so you can still expect a stellar screen performance.

 

Dual-SIM

If you fall into the category of a person who needs to have both a business and personal smartphone at all times, the arrival of Viewsonic’s 4s, 4e and 5e handsets could signal dual-SIM technology landing in more premium smartphones. The principle behind dual SIM card slots is that users will be able to place two separate SIM cards into the same phone and have the option to choose between the two phone numbers and two different sets of text messages and contacts for instance.

 

NFC

Near Field Communication is set to big business this year with the HTC One X and the Orange Santa Clara amongst the smartphones to boast NFC chip support and the likes of Visa and Samsung working to bring mobile payment to the masses. So, what is it? Well, it’s a bit like Bluetooth in the sense that it is a fast way of communication between two close subjects or devices. It means you will be able to transfer information in a contactless and wireless way like bank account details or passport chip details so you can jump the queue and not worry about whether you have any money in your wallet.

 

Android 4.0

Google’s latest mobile operating system which is set to bring the best of Android 3.0 Honeycomb and Android 2.3 Gingerbread into one universal platform, has already been making its way onto devices like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Asus Transformer Prime and looks set to gather pace in 2012. A host of devices unveiled at MWC will have Android 4.0 out of the box or will receive the update at a later date and users can expect improved camera features, app folders, the ability to save content for offline viewing, and more apps that will be optimized for both Android tablets and smartphones.

 

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