The folks from the Nokia Research Center in Germany are working on a very exciting prospect called the “noBounds”. The project aims to provide a low-power solution for mobile users to extend Smartphone and Internet Tablet screens and project them to higher resolution external displays such as high definition TV’s, projectors and near-to-eye displays (NED). Via USB or WLAN the project aims to let those devices output video at Full HD (1920×1080p) – 30 FPS. This opens up tremendous possibilities, currently TV out capable phones such as the N95, N82 can only output at QVGA resolution (apart from the Gallery) and the ability to output at HD will certainly make the the current smartphone a portable computer.
Although now much is known about how this will work, one big positive is that all that is required for it to work is a software update. The Application is currently running on a N810 Maemo Internet Tablet and apparently uses very little battery. Internet Tablet Talk received an email announcement which you can find after the break.
noBounds! – blast Smartphones display bounds!
Available mobile devices are now empowered to utilize huge external displays with native high definition efficiently and seamlessly via USB or WLAN. The noBounds project of the Nokia Research Center Bochum in Germany enables this breakthrough in mobile usability.
Smartphones have a tiny display, since they need to be pocketable. PCs and Notebook do not suffer from this restriction, but they are by far not that mobile. Since many years PCs are shrinking: Notebooks, UMPC and MID have been introduced.
The opposite trend has started in the Smartphone world. The desire is to have more content, more details, thus more pixels on the display. The human eyes, especially of elderly people are limited in useable pixel-density. Thus, the size of the display increases. The physical dimensions of mobile devices are not allowed to increase further due to the pocketability constraint. Therefore the display resolution of the built-in display will remain limited. This leads in comparison Smartphone to PC to a disappointing feeling: Overview is still too limited! Alternative form factors such as rollable, foldable and any other kind of flexible display still need to mature for future deployment.
noBounds demonstrates the optimal way out of this dilemma to have a tiny Smartphone, AND utilize high definition (HD) displays by introducing a versatile and highly efficient interaction with external high resolution displays!
This intelligent object on demand transport based approach uses not modified USB / WLAN hardware and provides a fully interactive link even for very high resolutions (e.g. HD-Ready FullHD, 1920×1080p or more). The solution can sustain high frame rates (30 frames/sec or more) and has a very low power consumption. It outperforms other solutions significantly even in worst case conditions. This lead increases even more for partial display content changes. We have negligible latency (<30 ms, i.e less than a frame) also for previously problematic screen export use cases such as GUI, office applications, web browsing, and 3D scene rendering for gaming.
This evaluation concentrated on mobile Linux devices (e.g. Nokia N800, N810) having comparable performance to recent Smartphones, which feature a similar powerful CPU (OMAP2420, ARM11) and USB / WLAN hardware architecture. noBounds requires the installation of our SW in the mobiles and a firmware update for the display devices, provided that USB or WLAN is available. Alternatively, the mobile devices can connect to a dongle accessory via USB or WLAN. The dongle is attached to existing external displays via traditional display interfaces such as DVI, or SubD VGA.
noBounds allows not only to attach an external high resolution display to a mobile device very efficiently, but allows also to seamlessly use available input devices such as a keyboard or a USB mouse. Thus, it can act as a complete Laptop or PC replacement for the majority of PC applications. Since the solution has a ultra low power dissipation (no fans needed & longtime battery powered) it has the potential to revolutionize the classical IT environment (Green IT): The users have all their data and processing capabilities in a mobile device, yet are able to use the ergonomic peripherals they are used to in a PC environment.
A fully mobile usage with a single 1200mAh phone battery powering the phone, USB and an Near to Eye Display (NED) estimates to allow more than 6 hours typical office application usage time without a power supply.
A huge network of several world market leaders in Flat panel, Projector and Smartphone industry has been established by noBounds (~20 companies). The USB standardisation is initiated.