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Top smartphone trends of 2011

Posted: 03 Jan 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smartphone technologies? mobile market? phone trends?

Indeed, Nvidia's Tegra 3 quad-core chipset has already made its debut in the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet/laptop hybrid and may find its way into smartphones over the coming months, as will Qualcomm's quad core Snapdragon offerings.

Qualcomm, the first supplier to support Google's Android OS, already boasts over 30 OEM partners which have collectively launched over 225 Android devices based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipsets, which range from single core chips aimed at the lower end, to dual core chips for today's high end and tomorrow's mid-range, while quad core is set to become the high-end of 2012's offerings.

What has become abundantly clear in 2011, however, is that whether one actually needs more cores in a smartphone is no longer a particularly relevant question. As ARM continues to design ever-lower powered chips, which partners are able to squeeze ever more performance from, consumers have made it clear that faster takes precedence over all. Let's just hope this need for speed doesn't come to a grinding halt any time soon.

The need for speed is not restricted to the mobile processor, however, with a fast smartphone being only as useful as the speed of the network it's running on. After all, lag is lag, whether that lag occurs as a result of a phone freeze-up or a network outage.

Thus, 4G has been all the rage in 2011, with mobile marketeers world over attempting to cash in on the hype by arbitrarily dubbing any increase in network speed "next generation 4G", whether it be HSPA+ or otherwise.


4G is also seen as something of a savior for carriers.

The emergence of real 4G LTE, however, does have the ability to fundamentally change the way devices are used, as the increased bandwidth can make on-line and cloud services really perform for users.

4G is also seen as something of a savior for carriers too, as operators world-over struggle with ever growing masses of data traffic, clogging the 3G pipelines and resulting in poor customer experiences.

Of course, with the emergence of metered billing, it may be difficult for users to get all the benefits of the new, faster, unclogged 4G, since they will have to pay a lot to get all the content and service really available.

"Bringing out LTE devices that are in line with the current pricing is challenging," said mobile analyst Chetan Sharma, noting that faux-4G, like T-Mobile's HSPA+, can move things forward for operators who are not jumping onto LTE yet.

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