Qualcomm Demonstrates HEVC / H.265 Video Codec on Android Tablet

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At the Mobile World Congress 2012 show in Barcelona, Qualcomm, demonstrated a preliminary version of H.265 or HEVC, video on an Android tablet powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon, a current-generation S4 dual-core the processor running at 1.5GHz.

H.264 is today’s leader when it comes to mainstream video encoding technologies, but it will have to share the stage in 2013 with a successor called H.265 that can squeeze a video into nearly half the file size. H.264, also known as the Advanced Video Codec (AVC), defines how a video can be compressed for reduced storage requirements and – very importantly given the online video explosion – for streaming across networks. H.265, also called High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) , the uses new techniques to compress video even more.

The H.265 codec is likely to gain widespread support, but it and H.264 competes with a royalty-free alternative called VP8 that Google has released. Qualcomm competitor Nvidia has built VP8 decoding support into its newer Tegra 3 chips alongside H.264 support.

Qualcomm is bullish about the codec. If a given network capacity can sustain higher-quality video, that means mobile devices are better for entertainment. And because H.265 ‘s efficiencies come at the cost of a significantly higher need for processing power, mobile device makers have a new reason to buy the latest chips.

Qualcomm showed a software based encoded demo video, showing race cars peeling around a track, played at a bit rate of 610 kilobits per second on H.265 compared to 1,183 Kbps for H.264. The size of the video file itself was 3.10MB for H.265 vs 6.01MB for H.264. Each video had 800×480-pixel resolution. Qualcomm will build H.265 encoding into its chips, though it is not promised when or in which processor model.

Source CNET report

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Barometers in Android Smartphone

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Before we go into details of how a barometer in a Smartphone can be useful to the consumer, let us first understand what a barometer is. Typically it is said to be an instrument that evaluates atmospheric pressure. The reading thus got can be utilized to predict interim weather changes and also to get a fair idea of altitude.

The primary purpose of the barometer is (at least, I’ve been told) to make GPS lockons faster. Locking on to a GPS involves numerically solving a 4-dimensional set of linear equations — 3 dimensions in space, and time. (Yes, you get accurate time for free if you lock on to GPS.) Because of the way GPS works, this can take a few minutes. This goes much faster if you already have an estimate of your location. This is why “aGPS” (assisted GPS) services are so popular: by starting with a rough city-level coordinate fix through something like cell-tower network location, you can reduce the amount of math you have to do to lock on. This is where the barometer comes in. The 3 dimensions in space are latitude, longitude… and altitude. The barometer gives you a reasonable first-cut estimate for altitude. This gives you a bit of a leg up on one of the dimensions — especially combined with “2D” aGPS — which can help speed up lock-on in general. Now of course, the barometer can also be used for things like, well, determining atmospheric pressure (although I’m not sure it’s really weather grade.) But the main reason it’s in your phone is to help with GPS.