The next Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the de facto chip for flagship Android handsets, will support the Ultra-HD standard, while the next Intel chips will bring 64-bit processing to tablets.
Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 805 could start appearing in new phones and tablets as soon as next year and will bring a host of processing performance upgrades.
And while many tech-savvy and film-loving consumers could well be won over by being able to view ultra-high definition content on a tablet, it's not clear how the same feature would enhance smartphone use. However, if mobile devices are able to capture and play UHD content, it could be the solution to kick-starting the UHDTV market. At the moment the television sets are sold at a premium and there is very little native content available for them.
Not to be outdone, Intel has also this week announced that it has started building 64-bit Bay Trail processors optimized for Android tablets and that the first devices will be hitting the shelves in 2014. To make this happen, Intel is having to develop a 64-bit version of the Android operating system, but the company claims that the new devices could retail for as little as $150 US.
Currently, with the exception of Apple's iPhone 5S -- the world's first 64-bit phone -- smartphones and tablets have 32-bit processors and run 32-bit software. And for the moment, that's not a problem. But, as consumers start to expect more from their devices -- i.e., creation rather than just consumption or just running lots of apps side by side, current phones and tablets are going to struggle to perform.
A 64-bit processor -- a standard piece of kit on a desktop or notebook computer -- can address and use more RAM, and RAM is what's needed for running heavier software such as photo and video editing packages and for using multiple apps simultaneously. And of course, more RAM means more speed too, but as with ultra-high definition support, this speed and performance needs more energy.
Now, if only a company would make a similar announcement about a smartphone or tablet with a two-day battery life.