Qualcomm was a major player behind the scenes at MWC this year. For starters, their Snapdragon processor is powering practically all of the hottest phones that have been announced at the show – that includes everything from the Samsung Galaxy S5, to the Xperia Z2. But beyond the hardware announcements, Qualcomm had several other new technologies to show off and announce, many of which are about to have major impacts on our mobile lives in 2014 and beyond.
1. Universal and Faster LTE
Everyone wants LTE support in their phone, but the state of LTE support has been extremely fractured until now, with different smartphones supporting different LTE networks in different parts of the world. Fortunately, at MWC, Qualcomm announced LTE Advanced Category 6. this technology will enable a single smartphone to have support for all LTE networks around the world. That means you can travel with your phone and always be able to take advantage of the fastest data speeds available on the local network. For an example, Qualcomm was busy showing off this technology running on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor and a Qualcomm Gobi 9×35 modem. In addition, this new technology will also enable faster downloads speeds of up to 300Mbps. Now it’s just up to carriers and smartphone makers to play nicely together to support LTE Advanced Category 6.
2. A Smarter Connected Home with AllJoin
At Qualcomm’s booth at MWC, the company was showing off their vision of the connected smart home, and it’s all held together by their AllJoin technology. AllJoin lets different manufacturers build different devices, which regardless of their differences, can communicate with one another. So for example, with AllJoin, you can receive a notification on your TV that the food in your oven is ready. Or you could use AllJoin to get notified on your smart watch if your kid is up late watching YouTube on their tablet. This is good news for parents, and the connected household, but not such good news for kids.
3. LTE Direct
LTE direct is a new peer to peer network system that Qualcomm has been working on, that lets devices communicate with one another and take advantage of social networking – even if there is no active internet connection available. Theoretically, this means that an app like Foursquare could continue to work to notify you of good eats nearby, even if your internet connection is turned off. LTE Direct will be available in most future phones from Qualcomm, including phones running on the 801 and 805 Snapdragon processors. But will LTE Direct be the next big standard or at least a better replacement to Wi-Fi direct? Only time will tell.
The 801 Snapdragon processor was announced and it can be found inside of the soon-to-be-released Galaxy s5. This processor is an upgrade to the 800 which features support for larger, faster camera sensors, improved image post-processing, improved mobile graphics and gaming, higher speed SD card memory, dedicated hardware for dual-SIM/dual active (DSDA) service in China, and enhanced overall performance.
5. Qualcomm’s Reference Design for Windows Phone
At MWC, Microsoft announced that they were going to make it much easier for more manufacturers to build Windows Phones. This means that not only will more companies be making Windows Phone devices, but also that there will be a lot more budget Windows Phones available. Over 15 partners have already signed up, and to help expedite the process, Qualcomm is providing a QRD (Qualcomm Reference Device) for manufacturers to use. This is good news for Windows Phone because it means that they now stand a better chance of competing with Android and its mass of budget handsets.
6. Qualcomm inside Formula One
You might be wondering what Qualcomm is doing inside of a Formula One race car, and so were we. It turns out that Qualcomm’s technology is powering the wireless charging, HD video recording, and video streaming, inside of many of these vehicles.
7. LTE Broadcast
LTE broadcast lets carriers simultaneously broadcast 5 video streams to a smartphone or tablet. It’s designed so that people can watch HD streams in places where they aren’t able to watch TV. Verizon is currently testing this tech and plans to make it live this summer, in time for football season.
8. 4k on your Tablet
4K is coming, and we’re not just talking about 4K video recording like the kind that can be found on the Xperia Z2. But we are talking about 4k Ultra HD displays that will be available on tablets, thanks to the upcoming 805 Snapdragon processor.
Furthermore, the upcoming 805 Snapdragon processor is powerful enough to handle upscaling from 1080p to 4k. That means, that an 805 powered tablet can be connected to a 4K TV and it’s powerful enough to handle upscaling the content to the TV.