We’re all aware that smartphones could potentially replace a lot of the technology we depend on today, but that can’t happen until someone develops some better processors, which is exactly what Qualcomm is claiming to have done. In fact, the chipset maker promises that in the next two years, your smartphone could act as a 3D set-top box, a game console, and a cloud-based computer with way longer battery life than any of us imagined. Sound good? We think so, too.
At last week’s Upling conference in California, Qualcomm demoed what its next generation of processors is capable of, and it’s kind of mind-blowing. First off, the company believes that in two years, its processors will be able to handle pretty heavy 3D tasks. The demo showed a phone relaying high-def 1080p video to both active and passive 3D TVs, as well as converting 2D video to 3D. Of course, a smartphone with support for HDMI out is hardly impressive. We already have a few of those on the market today. The difference here is that, instead of looking at photos and videos taken from the phone, the phone will be processing downloaded or streamed 3D HD films and relaying them to the TV. In other words, your phone could become a micro-PVR.
And if a smartphone can take the place of a 3D set-top box, why can’t it go ahead and replace your game console? According to Qualcomm, it can, in a couple years. At the Upling conference, Qualcomm demoed the streaming game service OnLive on an HTC Flyer, which is powered by a Snapdragon processor. Basically, OnLive works by taking all the heavy lifting off of the shoulders of the processor, so the game is actually being played on OnLive servers, with the results streamed to the phone’s screen.
If that wasn’t enough, go ahead and throw out your Chromebook, too. Apparently Qualcomm is hooking up Android with enough extras to put your mobile web browser on par with your computer’s. In Qualcomm’s demo, an HTML 5 site streamed four different videos simultaneously with 1080p output to a TV monitor through an HDMI connection. For those of you who aren’t yet HTML 5 converts, Flash support will be included on lower-end chipsets, so cheaper Android phones can enjoy as much HomeStarRunner as you can handle.
Still not impressed? A boost in battery life should change your tune, which is exactly what Qualcomm is promising. Apparently the new dual-core and quad-core Snapdragon processors can flip their cores on and off to match the power demands of various apps and games. They call it asynchronous architecture, and in a demo playing a sample game of Ilomilo, power saving hit at the 70 percent mark.