Results of 2020. Technologies and developments that have changed our devices – key events part two

Since most of the applications are written for x86 processors, they can be run on the M1 through the compiler, they mostly work, the performance is more than satisfactory. The advantage in the form of operating time from one charge remains. In fact, Apple has pushed the entire market for other manufacturers to build their ARM solutions on Windows in 2021, and we will see dozens of such models.

Everyday, everyday something happened that threatens Intel’s position, consumer computers will begin to creep over to the ARM architecture, which will increase Qualcomm’s sales, but Wintel will put the bundle on the brink of survival. This will not happen tomorrow, the process will be gradual, but thanks to Apple it is accelerating. What cannot be taken away from the company is the ability to popularize certain technological solutions. Therefore, 2020 can be safely called the year when ARM processors came to computers in large quantities and ceased to be just an experiment. This is a key technological shift in the processor market, an event that cannot be ignored, it changes the entire balance of power.

AI algorithms, tensor and scalar computing

When people start talking about the existence of artificial intelligence in devices, I involuntarily frown, this statement is so sore. What is called artificial intelligence is a huge class of mathematical problems and algorithms that have become possible due to the emergence of new hardware, and it is being improved every year.

Now it is important for the processor not only how many mathematical operations it can perform in a unit of time, but how quickly it processes AI algorithms. To do this, manufacturers introduce separate cores that are responsible for AI and evaluate performance based on them.

Engineering thought follows the usual route, there are even more processor cores, each core becomes more powerful. But beyond that, in 2020 we see a shift towards a general-purpose architecture where memory for AI computing is pooled, as well as new technical gimmicks.

You can read more about this on the example of the Snapdragon 888 processor and a separate coprocessor for AI computing here.

The next generation of hardware opens up a wonderful new world for services and hardware features. For example, in 2020, standby voice recognition has appeared in mainstream models, all thanks to the AI ​​capabilities of processors. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, because computational photography became possible thanks to the same developments. At least in the next decade, AI algorithms will develop very quickly, which will give us fundamentally new opportunities, and with the arrival of ARM processors in computers, this will become possible for them as well. Both Intel and AMD are lagging behind in this race so far.

Flexible Smartphone Screens – From Experiment to Mass Products

In 2019, the Galaxy Fold appeared on the market, this smartphone with a flexible screen became the first commercial device, although the company emphasized that this is an experiment, even singled it out in the Z series. IN the past, the letter Z stood for experimental models. But in 2020, the experiment was recognized as successful, the technology of flexible screens is developing, the whole series now has the letter Z, it is associated with this type of product.

In the world, on the fingers of one hand, you can count those who are able to create flexible screens, Samsung has been creating the technology for about ten years, they have achieved that it is economically viable. But the segment itself, due to the cost of the devices, remains rather small (in money it is noticeable, in pieces it is negligible on a global scale). The main competitor is Huawei, but the sales of their Mate X solution are negligible, although there are stories in the press about millions of smartphones sold, they do not find confirmation. Other players produce negligible volumes of devices, sell them at a negative rate (look at the Moto RAZR, the device does not find demand in the market, and the price is constantly being reduced for it).

Samsung’s top-down strategy is familiar to the company. First, expensive solutions are created at the maximum cost, at their expense models in the lower price segments are financed. The first Fold is sold in Russia at a price of 160 thousand, the women’s clamshell Z Flip comes out in March at a cost of 120 thousand rubles. A small flexible screen, forgotten by many clamshell form factor. The device instantly becomes popular as a fashion device, sales are higher than expected. We can say that smartphones with flexible screens have entered the mass market. At the same time, the technology has matured, in the second Fold, the hinge has changed, new use cases have appeared. A rare case for the modern electronics market, when devices that are one year apart are so strikingly different, progress is visible to the naked eye. Customers are aware of this, and the Z Fold2 is becoming more popular, the model is selling twice as fast as its predecessor. There are no direct competitors, other companies are stuck in this market, since they are not ready to sell such devices even at a cost price, it exceeds $ 2,000, and they are also not ready to sell by subsidizing the devices. Therefore, flexible screens for everyone except Samsung are the lot of exhibition devices that are shown with great fanfare. The Moto example demonstrates that, even with a small lineup to attract attention, there is no way to sell such devices widely.

Displays with a high refresh rate – 120 Hz as a mainstream product

It seems that screens in mobile devices have reached their peak of development, a huge amount of technology has been invested in them, they are akin to a work of engineering art. In 2020, for the first time, a high refresh rate of the screen becomes available to the general public, it makes scrolling through lists, and the interface is much more comfortable to work with. It is difficult to visually determine the difference, but turning off 120 Hz, you immediately feel that something is wrong, the smartphone starts to “slow down”. This technology affects the senses, it is almost impossible to measure the difference in a domestic environment, but flagships should have a higher refresh rate than regular models.