Top Technologies Android Devices Will Get Before the iPhone

by: Darcy LaCouveeJanuary 28, 2012

Yes, we know. The iPhone is the best selling smartphone in history. Does that make it the best? Does it have the latest and greatest technological innovations inside? Sure, it’s a beautifully crafted device for people that love what technology can do, but perhaps don’t necessarily want it to be too technical. It’s difficult to sum up why it is so popular without being offensive or obtuse, but really, it boils down to marketing, ease of use, and these two things contribute to its overall appeal. That being said, it won’t remain like this forever. Apple has a knack for adding technologies to their portfolio in a way that makes it seem like they are the ones that came up with it. This, however, isn’t the case. For anyone that knows what is inside today’s smartphones, they know that many, many researchers and companies are hard at work coming up with new designs, new technologies, and are working at a furious pace to improve the overall technological landscape. With this in mind, what sort of technological innovations can we look forward to in the months and years ahead? Let’s take a peak, shall we?

Waterproof Devices

Several Japanese manufacturers including Panasonic and Fujitsu are pioneers in this space, and are bringing to market Android devices that are not just water resistant, but actually waterproof. For anyone that has ever lost a $500+ device because of the rain, or because they accidentally dropped it into a toilet, this will come as a huge step forward!


Self Charging Technologies

Dual cores, quad cores – so what? Aside from the absolutely massive battery (3300mAh) in the RAZR MAXX, most devices can run out of juice pretty quickly when put under ultra heavy loads. That being said, a brilliant team of researchers at the University of Cambridge is hard at work on a variety of technologies designed to curtail excessive energy waste and to extend and contribute to overall battery life.

To extend the time between charges, the research group created a prototype device that converts ambient light into electricity using an array of  solar cells made up of super thin film “hydrogenated amorphous” silicon that fits within the phones display. Essentially you can think of it as a solar cell inserted in between the display that collect residual light in between charges. It’s smart because it’s currently an unused venue for harvesting additional power, and because it takes advantage of the smartphone display’s large footprint. The research team went on to say that in a typical organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, most of the light generated actually escapes out of the sides, with only about 36% actually being projected onto the front of the screen. That means that 64% escapes out of the sides. They wanted to take it a step further and harness this wasted light by putting thin-film photo voltaic cells around the display’s edges as well.

 More on this here

Ultra Rapid Charging

Researchers have long aspired to create a battery that is both long lasting, and fast charging. With significant applications for the medical, military, and commercial sectors, battery research is finally yielding some breakthroughs. Findings recently published in the March 20 online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology featured a group that developed a three-dimensional nanostructure for battery cathodes that enables significantly faster charging and discharging without giving up energy storage capacity.

“This system that we have gives you capacitor-like power with battery-like energy,” said Braun, a professor of materials science and engineering. “Most capacitors store very little energy. They can release it very fast, but they can’t hold much. Most batteries store a reasonably large amount of energy, but they can’t provide or receive energy rapidly. This does both.”

The performance of typical nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable batteries typically degrades substantially when they are either charged rapidly or discharged. The research group, led by Professor Braun, wrapped a very thin film into three-dimensional structure, which enable the battery to achieve the holy grail of battery achievement: high active volume (high capacity) and large current. They demonstrated that the battery electrodes can charge or discharge in a few seconds, 10 to 100 times faster than equivalent bulk electrodes, but can can still perform normally in existing consumer devices, like smartphones and tablets, and much more.

Remarkably, this kind of battery technology could soon lead to our smartphones, tablets, and notebooks being able to charge in minutes or even one day, seconds, thus removing the necessity for overnight charging. As our devices get more and more powerful, improvements in the area of battery technology such as this will likely be a very welcome addition, wouldn’t you agree?

More on this here, here, and here

Quad-Core, Octo-Core & More

Over the next few months, there’s going to be a ton of Quad (5 core, actually) Tegra 3 devices hitting the market. We’ve got the Lenovo K2010, with its 2GB of RAM and 1080p display, we’ve got the ASUS Transformer Prime, and the 700T variant with its 1080p display, and the ASUS Memo 370T, which comes in a 7 inch form factor, but is said to launch at the $249 price point. And there’s lots more coming too! In our discussion with NVIDIA and ARM, both are already actively working on octo (8) core SoC’s, which should be arriving in devices sometime in 2013. The thing to remember is that both companies have already demonstrated that they are increasing performance beyond that of Moore’s law, and that the trend is accelerating.

Not too long ago, Samsung disclosed that they were actively working on a dual core 2 Ghz Cortex A15 chip called Exynos 5250.  Despite not being quad or even eight core, this dual core 2 Ghz Cortex A15 chip is reputed to be at least 2.5x as powerful as the current dual core 1.2 Ghz Cortex A9 chip in the Galaxy S2.

Furthermore, Samsung demoed a 10 inch display that featured a resolution of 2560×1600, which blows away current resolution on tablets not even released yet. Our writer Lucian Armasu tracked down some intel on this beast in this post here.

We should all look forward to insanely powerful devices in the years ahead, with this trend unlikely to ever stop. Of course, necessity is the mother of innovation, and in this case, I am confident that display technologies will continually improve, as will the batteries that continue to power the devices we know and love. More on this to come.

Ultra HD Displays – Beyond 1080p

Not too long ago, Toshiba demonstrated what many consider to be the highest resolution display ever created for a mobile device.

Here’s the specs: 

  • 6.1-inch LCD (to be further miniaturized to 4.65inch, and increase up to 10.1 inches, too)
  • 2560×1600 resolution
  • an extremely high density of 498 pixels per inch
  • dubbed “photographic quality,” Toshiba said it even adds a sense of depth in 2D.
  • 1000:1 contrast ratio and wide 176-degree viewing angles.
  • Its color accuracy at 61 percent of the NTSC color range, which is substantially better than any mobile display on the market
  • 3D capable

People always ask me, why do we need quad-core? Why do we need that much power? The truth is, with such extremely high resolution displays coming to our mobile devices in the near future, extremely powerful and responsive hardware will be required to maintain the 60 frames per second we demand as consumers, for smooth performance. Imagine how many pixels need to be changed simultaneously, even with a quick flick of the finger, as the screen has to redraw absolutely everything – at 60 frames per second. That’s a lot of calculations folks.  This particular display created by Toshiba has a resolution four times that of the iPad 1 & 2.

Rumors are persisting that Apple is aggressively courting Toshiba, as they’ve essentially burned a lot of bridges with their largest component supplier, Samsung, and many companies are actually actively withholding their latest and greatest from Apple in the hopes that they can bring their own devices to market, with their own technologies on board. That being said, companies love money, and that’s something Apple has a lot of.

Either way, we can all look forward to glorious HD filled futures, whether the displays are in our smartphones or tablets!

More on this here.

Biometric Authentication Technology

Here we have another design win out of Fujitsu, which looks to radically improve the security of our devices. To any of you that have followed the incorporation of Face Unlock in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, first featured in the Galaxy Nexus, this will likely be something that you are interested in.

Fujitsu has worked very hard to develop a “contactless palm vein pattern authentication technology” that uses our highly unique vascular patterns as personal identification data. Vein recognition technology is pretty much as secure as it gets because the authentication data exists inside the body itself, and is therefore almost impossible to forge. In their tests, they also showed that it is also highly accurate — in testing over 140,000 palm profiles of 70,000 individuals, it had a false acceptance rate of less than 0.00008% and a false rejection rate of 0.01%. Not bad eh? Maybe time to bust out the tinfoil hats, people. Either way, it’s way more secure than Face Unlock, which can be duped by a photo. Finger prints can be read and replicated, thus foiling finger print readers like the one in the Motorola Atrix. Do you feel like your device is already secure enough? Would you welcome this additional security feature on your Android device?

More on this here.

 Ultra Fast Wireless File Transfer Between Devices 

Toshiba has come up with a wireless transfer protocol, called Transfer Jet, which looks like it has potential to revolutionize the way we transfer data in between devices. Got a 1GB 720p movie? Good luck Bluetoothing that. How about Wifi then? No thanks, still too long. Transfer Jet is a 360Mbps wireless transfer protocol that is able to send large files lightning quick.

More on Transfer Jet here!

Smudge Proof Displays

We know, we know. You’ve got a beautiful device, but you’ve got greasy hands, right? Well, everyone does. It’s always a nuisance to to have to rub it clean, but it’s looking like this won’t always be the case. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have released some findings on an inexpensive way to coat displays with a “liquid-droplet” repellent. Check out the video below.

They discovered that by collecting soot from a burning candle that they could further heat the soot to enable calcination to occur, thus making the soot transparent. After testing this surface, the researchers found out that it was extremely durable, and could even withstand sandblasting. Most importantly though, they realized it had other unique properties, and when the surface was sprayed with different liquids and water, the droplets “bounced up and down on the surface, became spherical, rolled off and left absolutely nothing behind”. Pretty cool, right? Hopefully, we can all look forward to touchscreen displays that are water resistant, oil resistant, and soon – smudge proof!

What Are You Most Excited About? 

We’ve got a lot to look forward to, folks. Whether it’s faster processing, more intuitive software with Android 5.0 Jelly Bean, brighter and more astonishing displays, more RAM, increased storage, self charging devices, thinner devices, waterproof, dust proof, smudge proof, you name it, it’s coming. It’s a lot to take in, I know. IF we know one thing about the pace of innovation is that it’s not slowing down any time soon. Which Android device manufacturer is best positioned to take advantage of all of these amazing technological developments? Which one are you most excited about?

  • Chris Mark Jenkins

    Definatly self charging quick charge devices for me. Being a heavy user 5min charge for a day would be awesome.

  • Chris Mark Jenkins

    Definatly self charging quick charge devices for me. Being a heavy user 5min charge for a day would be awesome.

  • I’m definitely looking forward to the self charging and the quick wireless transfer we saw at CES from Toshiba this year.

  • Jamesfrwthr

    can’t wait for my car to be resprayed with this smudge resistant stuff…. The savings on water and car- washes will be massive

  • Raj Sharma

    Mother of all tech articles since the CES 2012 plus developments on battery front aswell. One should keep this article in mind while buying a tablet or mobile. Tech world is getting so interesting. Now it is like reading a thriller. Just consider Samsung withholding supplies of components to Apple. Harnessing solar power from sun is OK. But now now we will not let the
    light of within the handset go stray. It will be converted to power. Mobile tech is joining the main stream science.

  • Raj Sharma

    Folks feast on an excellent post by Darcy LaCouvee, founder editor of AndroidAuthority.

  • Johnson

    Very cool article, those are awesome videos and pictures… its like we were all at CES with ya!

  • Broodypics

    Wow, what a great article! I can feel the Apple hate in your writing! Let’s get more informative articles like this on your site.

  • Don’t forget about NFC, Android had that since the Nexus S.

  • Anonymous

    I love how you just make extrapolations from research being conducted and assume it’s going to be added to Android devices and not any other devices.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Android got more “features” first (as is the general trend), but I would expect Apple to implement them significantly more effectively.

    • alex2792

      Lol, yeah that logic is brilliant.

      On a side note, the type of propaganda that passes for journalism on android authority would make Himmler blush.

      • He meant market it more effectively, and I think you meant Goebbels.

      • AlexMoron

        alex dont you have a latte to drink whilst flashing your aesthetically pleasing but cookie cuttered phonepod off to anyone whos looking?

        Apple is for simpletons who find technology hard to understand.

        Apple says “Shhhh little sheep we lock it all down and we wil do it for you…Shhhh”

  • shimano

    The thing I would be most excited about is seamless syncing with a macbook!

    • someinternetdude

      Spanning Sync does a great job of two way syncing of iCal to Google cal and Address book to Google contacts.

  • Peter J

    Somewhere out there an Apple fanboy is screaming “But….but….iPhone has SIRI!!!”

    • Mcstraun69

      SIRI runs like its in beta, really deceiving adverts by apple. I heard that a lawyer is suing them because he bought the iphone just to use siri, turns out its crap. when google makes a siri like app thats when you’ll see quality cause they’ll integrate it with their ever so excellent search.

    • C. Alex Wilsted

      funny thing about Siri as a data assistant; I have had Vlingo on my evo since mid 2010 and it out performs Siri for accuracy and speed in every independent test i have ever seen. only thing Vlingo lacks is a cheeky voice to backtalk to you…either way i dont use either of them much. once you get past the novelty they arent that useful.

    • Maybe Siri sounds sexier than me but I’m not that impressed with her, she just like an ordinary voice assistant to me. :)

  • AJH1993

    Android software and hardware is already years ahead of any iPhailure.

    • alex2792

      Really now? So how come the mighty Tegra 3 gets destroyed by the crusty A5 in all graphical benches?

      • AJH1993

        Did you get lost on your way to Macrumors?

      • Tegra losing to A5? Marketing bullshit.

      • Will you believe anything that is shown on an apple slide. Read the fine print next time. He said “graphically” the gpu of the A5X out performs the Tegra 3 in “APPLE’s” bench marks. Benchmarks that will be clung to by apple fanboy’s every where, but Apple will never release.

        Show the benchmarks or it did not happen. Apple needed to be able to say something else because all they did on this ipad was enhance the screen quality with help from Sammy. Instead of making a quad core processor just say the GPU is quad core and call it a day.

        There is no way in hell that a core 2 quad will trump an I7 and there is no way an a5 will trump a Tegra 3 in performance. That said maybe the ipad has a good GPU, but as any PC gaming aficionado will tell you it takes more than a GFX card to make a good gaming pc. Likewise for your Ipad.

        Im betting Nvidia will crap on the claims once they get their hands on the new Ipad.

      • Alexisashill

        get off an Android website you little Apple pleb!

      • Gearman234

        Excuse me, but do i hear an ifag in my presence? Well, your special “crusty” A5 apple shit doesn’t even have flash!

  • alex2792

    It’s ironic that you mention high definition screens seeing how it will be available shortly on the iPad3 that no Android tablets will match for a while.

    • Hugh

      This article mentions uber high defenition displays, which will be about 498ppi, Apple cannot use the iPhones retina display (which is 326ppi), the iPad 3 actually has a display showing 264ppi. So while the iPad may, finally, be HD, it’s actually only down to the fact that it’s got a much larger screen than an iPhone.

      Though as a fanboi, I’m sure you have absolutely no technicaly knowledge to even comprehend what I’ve just schooled you in

      • alex2792

        Ok,can you point me to one of those uber HD Android devices that are in the pipeline. Actually, I’ll save you the trouble, they don’t exist.

        • Hugh

          That part of the article was with regard to a prototype screen, so it’s actually a screen in development, not an “in use” part yet. I’m sure it’ll be something Samsung, one of the best display manufacturers in the world, and an Android device producer, will be developing.

          By the way, this iPad screen that no Android device will get near “for a while”, is actually made for Apple by Sharp, LG, and Samsung, so I can’t see how Samsung and LG will be behind Apple with regard to displays, when Apple are coming to them for their displays to use in their products.

          • Lets not forget they fancy Samsung processors also.

          • Cole Raney

            Well, it happened with the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 (and later the iPhone 4S) remained the phone with the highest display until the galaxy nexus was released. qHD displays got close, but the iPhone still had more pixels on the screen. and this article is wrong in that Apple did beat android to the punch in displays beyond HD since the display on the new iPad has a million more pixels than any HDTV and no android device has that many pixels yet.

          • C. Alex Wilsted

            i love reading people rant about ppi as though it means something beyond certain point. pixel depth doesnt translate to better picture and review after review says the new ipads display ‘rivals’ Samsung’s super AMOLED for picture quality, clarity and color. AMOLED which has been out far longer and apple is just now catching up. iZombies also like to rave about Siri and yet test after test show that Vlingo (available on androids since mid 2010) is faster and more accurate than Siri.

          • Cole Raney

            This was talking about resolution. No android device has the resolution of the iPad yet. I’m not being a fanboy, just stating facts.

        • TenshiNo

          Um… Actually, there were several Android tablet unveiled as CES and MWC this year that will have HD screens. ASUS has a refresh of the Transformer Prime sporting a 1920×1200 screen. That’s about 32ppi less than the iPad 3, but still more than the human eye can actually discern. There were several others shown as well, so you should really check facts before you start trying to bash and sounding like an idiot.

    • republic84

      Lets also keep in mind, that iPad 3 your having wet dreams over launched already and is, as every crApple device, riddled with bugs, over heating, horribly high power consumption, terrible WIFI, Id go on, but saying things negative about Apple to fanboys tends to send them into shock, i don’t want to be responsible for (further) brain damage. And FYI, its not called an iPad 3, its called an iPad – 3rd generation, at least know what device your talking about prior to attempting to talk about it.

      • alex2792

        Lol that comment is like 2 weeks old I’ve had the new iPad since 16th no issues with wifi or overheating here. It’s amazing btw much better than Android POS.

  • Guest

    I NEVER need any display that forms pixels that are far, far smaller than my eyeball can ever see.

    Another 1 of many false “more and more will always be better” marketing tricks.
    Waste of money, battery, ram, and CPU.

    • I actually agree to this.

    • C. Alex Wilsted

      very true. used to work in displays and it was always funny the way we marketed this crap to people. you give people a bunch of numbers they dont understand to tell them about a technology they really dont understand and they roll with it and tell all their friends. before you know it everyone wanted a tv with 10 million colors and 1080p ect ect and still getting a mediocre picture for thousands more than tvs with better picture quality but not so awesome on the heavily marketed crap.

  • Michael Long

    I doubt that JP Morgan will allow self charging on mobile devices. Tesla will be rolling inside his grave if that happens.

    • I think Edison will be rolling in his grave, and Tesla will be screaming patent infringement.

    • Sdfsdf

      Tesla was all for open source and free power.

      JP Morgan was the evil of this world that made sure that wasnt going to happen.
      He also made sure the titanic sank and killed 3 of the loudest opponents of the Federal Reserve being approved by Congress.

  • why would apple want to make their phone water proof if you break it they get to sell you another. Am i the only one that’s seen the pictures of the cracked displays.

    • C. Alex Wilsted

      Seen the pictures? Im in the USNavy and roughly a third of the guys on this ship have iPhone4s and i have only met one guy who hasnt shattered his screen at least once. Another guy has made a small fortune fixing the damn things for them. i doubt apple will waterproof them, them make bank on iLemmings ever willingness to purchase a new one when their old one breaks or a slightly newer model comes out.

  • guest2

    I hope Google spends some time prioritizing the robustness and UI responsiveness of Android over adding features.

  • republic84

    Great article, now if we can get Sammy on board with a water proof, smudge proof, oct core, 10″ tablet with a 400ppi screen that can charge in 5min, ill gladly buy 1000 of them and walk through crApple stores using them on the shoppers like flyswatters! Better yet, Ill use them to build a giant touch screen android shaped monument on a hill overlooking Stevies resting place.

  • sabrina D

    Nice video’s and nice presentation…

  • This shows how hard predicting the future is. Obviously Apple won the hi-res race, but I think Android has the edge on being first to the rest of these.

    • CelticBrewer

      how’s that? They don’t even make the hardware.

    • Android isn’t even a company, let alone a manufacturer.

  • Manov rao

    Nice configuration.

  • Good article under good info.

  • Great Article! I believe that Apple fans forgot that there were smart devices years before whatever devices Apple came up with. Sadly some people think only Apple makes products, and are lost when you tell them that there are other choices. Many of them are even better.

  • BTW, I had an i-pod classic and I-touch 2nd.ed. Sure they were nice, but they didn’t give me a “OMG, this is so awesome.” feeling.

  • SamsaraGuru

    Really wonderful collection of interesting and exciting stuff. Good reviews; the lenvo tablet would be wonderful to use for presentations of art.

  • SamsaraGuru

    Really good article. Oh so many things to tempt one – almost makes your mouth water in anticipation of what is to come.

    What a tough job you have; but somebody has to do it.