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Smartphones in 2012 The power of smartphones has increased by leaps and bounds ever since the first smartphone, the Apple iPhone, was launched in 2007. The cheap smartphone segment, especially, has witnessed a phenomenal growth in 2011. Faster processors, superb displays, high quality cameras and other features fuelled the popularity of smartphones in 2011. Most cheap smartphones, however, were found lacking in the battery department. Most of these phones, even today, require a battery recharge within 24 hours. But improved performance has been the scoring point for most of these phones.

But that doesn't mean that smartphones, and the cheap smartphone in particular, has no room for innovation and improvement in 2012. Here's a look at what manufacturers are likely to incorporate in their products in the coming year.

Quad-core processors

While 2011 was the year of the dual core, 2012 is expected to usher in the quad-core processor even in cheap smartphones. Tegra 3 by Nvidia, is touted to be nearly five times faster compared to the dual core Tegra 2. Qualcomm, meanwhile, plans to launch its quad-core Snapdragon CPUs with speeds in the 2.5 GHz range. It also plans to launch the quad-core Adreno graphics processor for gaming.

Near-field communication

Near-field communication (NFC) is the technology which enables the smartphone user to wave his handset in front of a payment kiosk, instead of swiping his credit card, while making payments. To make that a reality, wireless carriers and cheap smartphone makers must incorporate the NFC capability in their handsets and retail outlets must set up kiosks that accept such payments. 2012 may finally see NFC being implemented.

Displays with 720 pixel resolution

The HTC Rezound and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus were the first phones to boast of true 720 pixel resolution i.e. 1280 x 720 pixel displays. This is likely to become the norm for display even in cheap smartphones the next year and handset manufacturers may even figure out how to comprise the pixels into a smaller screen. The result would be beautiful smartphone screens where individual pixels will be impossible to differentiate.

Voice control

After the introduction of Siri in the iPhone 4S by Apple, Microsoft and Google are trying to out-score each other to incorporate more voice commands in their respective cheap smartphone platforms. As for Siri, there's a slim chance that Apple may open up its virtual personal assistant to third-party applications in 2012. In the same way, the company would expand the functionality of Siri by the time the year is over.

Better phones to cost less

As cutting edge and state-of-the art smartphone technology improves, the average stuff also toes the same line. This means that more cheap smartphones will be introduced in the market and a greater number of people would start sporting such handsets. In fact, Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft, has already forecast that Android smartphones will be the cheapest and companies will have to scour for ways to bring down the cost of their products.

Whatever it is, you can expect to see a flurry of cheap smartphones invading the market in 2012.

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Smartphones in 2012  

Near-field communication (NFC) is the technology which enables the smartphone user to wave his handset in front of a payment kiosk, instead...