Smartphone Silicon: The 2010 CTIA Wireless Show Roundupby Ganesh T S on March 31, 2010 11:11 AM EST
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The Cellular Telecommunication Industry Association concluded its wireless show in Las Vegas on March 25th, and provided the tech community with a couple of interesting platforms to ponder over and analyze. In this article, we will go over two major announcements and their ramifications for the smartphone industry. The first one is a path breaking product, while the second one is yet another iPhone wannabe. However, it is really the silicon behind these two products which deserves analysis.
Sprint is the leading US wireless service provider as far as the race to next-generation high bandwidth wireless data infrastructure (4G) is concerned. After merging with Clearwire, it adopted WiMAX as its 4G strategy, while the others hopped on to the LTE / HSPA+ bandwagon. Though none of these technologies have gained widespread acceptance in the US yet (due to the lack of infrastructure / devices capable of utilizing these technologies), the 2010 CTIA show saw the introduction of a smartphone which could represent the first step towards making 4G a reality for the American consumer. As the first US smartphone to take advantage of WiMAX, the announcement of the Sprint HTC EVO 4G is indeed a landmark.
The capabilities of the innovations on display in the HTC EVO depend largely on the quality of the WiMAX networks and the loads it would be subjected to. On the other hand, the application processor in a smartphone is directly responsible for the quality of user interaction. It is in this area that the Samsung Galaxy S scores. With an user interface bearing an uncanny resemblance to the iPhone, it is excusable if one pushes it to the side as yet another knockoff, albeit, from a reputable brand. However, a little digging reveals that the app processor used is the Samsung S5PC110, the next generation version of the S5PC100. If you'll remember, a derivative of the S5PC100 was used in the iPhone 3GS.
In the rest of this article, we will analyze these two platforms and finally draw some conclusions as to where the smartphone silicon market is headed, based on the products which went on display at the 2010 CTIA wireless show.
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ksherman - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - linkThat HTC EVO 4G phone is looking AWESOME. I live near Chicago, one of the home bases for Clear/Sprint's WiMAX areas. First phone I've seen yet that will make me drop my iPhone 3G to get. Really excited about it's ability to become a local WiFi access point for my laptop which will be extremely valuable to me as a photojournalist. I won't have to have two separate plans.
JonnyBlaze - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - linkYou can make almost any current Android phone act as a wireless access point right now.
ksherman - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - linkSure, but none have WiMax. I used to tether my iPhone 3G's 3G signal to upload pictures and it was virtually useless.
sinchesterjenkins - Thursday, April 1, 2010 - linkNot a 4G wireless hotspot for up to 8 devices. This phone is a game changer.
jordanclock - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - linkWhy are their so many mentions of whether these platforms support HD encoding/decoding? The encoding makes a little sense, but who is really going to take HD video clips with their phone? And I'm really not concerned that I won't be able to watch HD videos on my 480x800 screen. There isn't even a video output (unless you count USB?) to hook it up to an external monitor.
I'm GLAD when they don't waste silicon on being able to handle HD from my phone. I want that silicon used to make the user interface quick and be able to render web pages faster.
ganeshts - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - linkWhile HD encode (recording HD video) remains a checklist feature for app processors, HD decode (playback) has become much more than that. The reason is the abundance of media that people want to store on the go / playback. The rise of media streamers as a market is a case in point.
Now, cell phone manufacturers have realized that people really do not need a separate media streamer at home. All they need is a dock to which the cell phone can be connected, and this may connect to the TV through HDMI for video playback.
That said, the Sprint HTC EVO 4G does have a mini HDMI port at the bottom which may enable HD video output to a TV. Also, the Samsung Galaxy S has an optional cradle dock which enables it to be tabled and used for a multitude of purposes other than just wireless communication. Samsung also announced in its press release for this phone that they are planning to team up with content providers to enable downloading of full length movies and other media onto the device. Also, it sports an 'AllShare' feature utilizing the DLNA standard to communicate with other devices (including TVs). So, we might be able to playback HD video on a separate big screen, after all! How well this would work remains to be seen.
jah1subs - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - linkSprint is showing off their 4G network by emphasizing 720p video for this device. I am using the Sprint 3G/4G modem for work. We're saving a little bit of money right now by using only 3G speeds (I can see a 4G enabled tower by looking out the window) because I am using this primarily for email and browsing, not multimedia.
RaistlinZ - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - linkAndand/Mods,
Can you guys please be on the lookout for that xoloot poster and others like him that try to advertise their businesses here? Thanks.
Adul - Thursday, April 1, 2010 - linkblock their damn ip address this is getting annoying
Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 1, 2010 - linkThey usually come back regardless of what IP we block. We have implemented some fixes though :-P