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The brains behind the mobile devices

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We still call them “smartphones” yet we hardly ever use them as telephones anymore. Today, your smartphone has become a powerful computer you rely on daily to use for work and play, to communicate via text or email or Skype. Smartphones allow you to stay social, to navigate around your city, keep informed about the world … and, yes, even to make the occasional phone call.
Just like a laptop or desktop, this handheld computer works so efficiently because of the computing power inside the device. Where smartphones differ significantly from their deskbound predecessors, is that rather than using a variety of different chips and processors, they use a single, tightly integrated and highly optimized processor that powers virtually everything inside your phone.
Because of the need to make phones that are increasingly smaller and more efficient, manufacturers use the most efficient and compact processors that combine support for communications, computing, gaming, graphics, camera and display all together into a single chip. This is the modern “system on chip” mobile processor and its capabilities are truly amazing.
“The processor inside your smartphone can be compared to the brain in the human body,” says James Munn, vice-president: business development at Qualcomm Africa. “The brain controls the workings of the wonderful, complex machine that is the human body and the processor in a smartphone is much the same.”
He explains that today’s mobile processors contain custom computing elements that work together to enhance the features of a smartphone and improve battery life. Like the human brain has areas controlling movement, the senses, memory and so on, a processor contains a Central Processing Unit (CPU), a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), and elements for connectivity, audio, video and more.
“Looking beneath the exterior of a smartphone is really important because the ‘brain’ of the device makes the features work as they should,” says Munn. “For example, a device with a great camera but a poor processor means you won’t be able to capture those award winning photos but instead would have to settle for something blurry or unusable because the ‘brain’ wasn’t fast enough to process it even though the camera (your eye) saw it.”
Thanks to ever-advancing mobile technology, consumers need not pay thousands of rands for a device with a quality processor. In fact, processors that rival those found in high-end devices just five years ago power some of the most affordable smartphones and tablets on shelves today.
“A quality mobile device should offer consumers the best of two worlds, both form and function. In other words, both looks and intelligence,” says Munn. “And it’s not just top-tier smartphones from the most recognisable device brands that fit into that category.
“In fact, Vodacom’s Smart Platinum 7 and Smart Prime 7 – the country’s newest own-branded LTE smartphones – offer consumers amazing value as these newly launched models contain Qualcomm(r) SnapdragonTM processors, the smartest processors around, and usually found in devices sitting in higher price tiers. What this means for consumers is quite simply a better, faster and richer mobile experience when social networking, surfing and capturing special moments.”
When comparing devices before you purchase or upgrade, examine the technical specifications of the device carefully. Information about the processor often appears after details of the display, memory and camera, and your retailer can help explain how the technical specification of one device compares to another.