Pixelworks, Nokia Are Stepping Up Displays For Affordable Phones

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San Jose-based Pixelworks, Inc and Nokia OEM HMD Global took advantage of IFA 2019 this year to continue pushing back the boundaries on mobile display in the affordable bracket. The companies partnership this year resulted in two devices, the Nokia 7.2 and Nokia 6.2. In both devices, Pixelworks' visual processor underpins one of the new devices' best features. That's their respective displays and specifically Nokia PureDisplay technology.

As a result of Pixelworks' solution, the companies say, the two gadgets were able to make relatively massive display improvements over others in the same price bracket. That includes a "64-fold" increase in color tonality through full 10-bit, certified HDR. The combined effort produces up to 3-times better video contrast via dynamic backlight controlling and Pixelworks tone mapping technology.

What is Pixelworks and what does it do for Nokia PureDisplay?

Breaking down what Pixelworks solution actually delivers for Nokia PureDisplay and end-users, explicitly on LCD display panels, the technology's biggest step forward might be in the "Always-on HDR."

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With that, HDR-ready videos can deliver up to a billion shades of color on the more budget-friendly panels. Content that isn't in HDR by default can be upscaled in real-time. The wider gamut of shades and backlighting control mean that the pixel-off state created by OLED panels can be emulated. Summarily, that means that tones shine through how they are meant to, complete with deeper blacks and brighter whites.

The enhanced picture quality carries over in terms of sharpness and clarity too, without over-saturation. So edges and finer detail can be brought forward.

Conversely, TrueView Auto-adaptive Display utilizes light sensors and other Android hardware to adjust brightness and tone to the ambient lighting in users' surroundings. In effect, that's precisely what high-end televisions do as well. That prevents washout in bright environments or visuals that are too bright in darker ones. The adjustments ensure a consistent experience across viewing environments.

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Leading the charge to make affordable "premium"

Nokia and Pixelworks have worked together before on the Nokia 7.2's predecessor, the Nokia 7.1. Pixelworks has also worked with Xiaomi on its Black Shark gaming phones. But this year's two-device announcement comes with fresh implications for the mobile industry. That's because the Nokia 7.2 is priced at $349. The Nokia 6.2 will be even more affordable.

Both bring plenty to the table in terms of internal specifications, features, cameras, and other components, showcasing how far Android has come over the past few years. Display technology is one of the key components holding devices back. That's because the cost of OLED panels, with higher contrasts, brightness, and saturation, are still just out of reach.

Pixelworks display processing technologies were initially created for high-end TVs but partnerships with mobile OEMs appear to be on the rise. Arguably, that technology is going to serve mobile better since smartphones are portable. That means they are subject to a wider variety of ambient lighting. Their size also means that details and contrast are more important.

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By bringing HDR-like features to the more affordable end of the spectrum, Pixelworks and Nokia aren't only showing that demand and interest in high-end experiences for mobile are high. The devices revealed at IFA 2019 show that displays don't have to be a weak point in the budget segment going forward.