It seems that we're going to see a new generation of smartphone chips every year or so. In January this year we saw the Nexus One with a Snapdragon CPU of 1 Ghz, and by early next year we're going to see dual core CPU's of up to 1 Ghz each core, and with 1080p video playback and recording.
Since a lot of people change their smartphones every year now, we're going to witness how most of the 2010's smartphone buyers are going to buy these new generation smartphones, but we should also witness a lot more people getting excited about the new phones and becoming new smartphone buyers, too.
One of the reasons for attracting new people to these powerful smartphones will be that it will also coincide with the launching of LTE networks from Verizon and AT&T. Maybe not everyone will care about faster smartphones since they are already fast enough, but a lot of people will care about getting faster Internet on their mobile phones, since 3G speeds are too slow compared to what they are used to on a desktop. LTE should close that gap.
Along with dual core CPU's and LTE, we should also see 720p capable display resolutions, somewhere between 1280x720 and 1280x800. This will also improve the browsing experience, and reading as well, because the displays will be a lot sharper. In fact for a 4" mobile screen, you should already have a "retina display" like the iPhone 4.
Gamers should also be excited because this new generation of chips will come with 3D graphics that should be about 3x better than what is already available in most Android smartphones. This will be a wake up call for game developers and it should get them to start building some serious games for the Android platform.
All this extra performance is nice but what about battery life? Even though the new chips are more powerful, they should be at least as power efficient as previous chips. The new chips are built with a new manufacturing process of 45 nm (as opposed to 65 nm right now), and they are also composed of multiple specialty cores that activate depending on what a certain task requires on the smartphone. All these should keep the battery life in check.
We can expect this new generation of chips from Qualcomm, TI and Nvidia by early next year, but if we're lucky we might even see one or two dual-core smartphones by Christmas time this year.