Joshua Burke takes a look at HDmobile by TranSwitch, which is a complete mobility solution that converges standards to offer high definition video connectivity.
Smartphone designers are integrating LED projectors into devices, and the next generation of image projection technologies is looking even more promising. However, the tablet market is lagging in this respect, still hanging on to "thin is in" as their main mantra.
So, when we want to hook up tablets or other devices to a larger screen for viewing video, we begin to run into difficulties. HDMI connectivity on mobile devices has always been problematic — you need an expensive cable, a specialized adapter, a proprietary something-or-other, or you have to use OS-specific technology end-to-end.
As the industry grapples with competing standards, we're left picking up the pieces, quite literally. We could continue with the cable, adapter, proprietary plug solution set. Micro-HDMI is also a good start, but HDMI was never conceived of as a mobile technology, and so somewhat critical items are still amiss (like charging while streaming). Of course, we could start burdening other technologies for video. For example, USB 3.0 will be an industry standard, but is it cut out to handle the ever-expanding resolutions of video on mobile?
TranSwitch is seeking to solve this issue by combining the best of many standards with HDmobile. This is a very exciting new product, because it's not an alternative standard in itself — instead, it's all the important standards rolled up into one. HDmobile is truly a next-generation product that can support 1080p in 10/12 bit color, full 3D, and 4k x 2k. It's been designed from the ground up to be a mobility solution.
Here are just a few comments from TranSwitch CEO, Dr. M. Ali Khatibzadeh:
"HDmobile, a low-power transceiver tailored to the smartphone and tablet market. We think this has the potential to be a very important product, not just for TranSwitch, but for the industry as a whole. Multimedia applications and smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices will see explosive growth over the next few years. High definition video connectivity is only beginning to become a requirement, and the field here is wide open."
"HDmobile brings several key new features to the market. First, it employs TranSwitch's patented HDP technology, meaning it supports the latest versions of both HDMI and DisplayPort. That's going to be a tremendous advantage as both HDMI and DisplayPort are going to be pervasive, but neither one will be truly dominant. So interoperability between the two standards will be very important."
"HDmobile will also feature USB 3.0 data capability for up to 10 times faster data transfer. And you can also charge your phone, of course, through this connection as well. Today, USB, which by the way stands for universal serial bus - USB 2.0 is still the standard data protocol for smartphones, but the first USB 3.0 models should be coming later this year. By 2014, USB 3.0 should be the standard connector on smartphones and tablets."
The current state of streaming video from tablets is messy, to put it nicely, but the future of video on tablets and other mobile platforms is looking much brighter. The convergence of standards to technologies like HDmobile, along with improved projection capabilities, is making mobile a viable choice for ditching the accessory gear. The portable projector and the fist full of adapters may soon be traded for a simple and seamless transition between video on the device to a bigger screen.
Video connectivity for tablets and smartphones is just beginning to emerge, with a clear consensus that mobile video connectivity requirements are about to explode. HDmobile can unify the industry, which also accelerates adoption. It offers every important protocol that users will want. HDmobile may just fit the bill for a simple, converged standard that leverages the best of all of the most important technologies of today.