This is the new software that lets smartphones hit 4K resolution without killing their batteries

by on November 24, 2015

Stephan Jukic – November 24, 2015

The new software, developed in Japan via a partnership between Fujitsu and Kogakuin University, let’s newer smartphone cameras scale up their video resolution to 4K UHD levels without affecting the normal level of battery drain. Considering how many smartphones are now more frequently emerging with 4K UHD video shooting built into them, this is a major innovation to a serious little stumbling block in phone recording technology.

Traditionally, the sheer clarity of 4K UHD video shooting came with a major cost to any consumer device that got rigged with it. This was the drain on battery power when it comes to capturing and processing all those millions of extra pixels. This has applied with particular heaviness to tiny recording devices like smartphones and their equally small batteries.

Now, researchers at Japanese technology developer Fujitsu and their colleagues at Kogakuin University are working together to get rid of this major problem.

Both University and photographic electronics manufacturer have been busy working together on a new type of software that lets a smartphone scale video playback up to 3840 x 2160 pixels of 4K at frame rates of up to a very decent 30fps without also ramping up the normal battery drain of a given smartphone. The University side of the research partnership has also claimed that video playback can even be jumped up to as many as 60 frames per second and still save on battery use.

Fujitsu is not stranger to 4K technology, with developments in laptops and camera equipment

Fujitsu is not stranger to 4K technology, with developments in laptops and camera equipment

Of course, the keyword here is 4K video playback, which means that this technology isn’t aimed so much at phones which can simply shoot 4K UHD video (of which there are several) but also at phones which can display their native 4K video on their own 4K UHD screens.

Of these latter types of phones, there’s currently only one in existence on the worldwide market and that is the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium. However, this is a market state that’s virtually guaranteed to change soon now that the basic technology has been sold to actual consumers by one brand. We’re already anticipating the upcoming release of the Samsung S7 to also feature a variation of the phone with 4K display technology and other models from other brands will surely follow in the footsteps of these two major brands.

Thus, at least for the sake of resolving a major detriment that these phones and any successors are going to face with their batteries struggling to handle 8.2 million pixels on their tiny screens, the new software from Fujitsu and the University is likely to be highly welcomed.

The processing method used by the software in question has been under development since back in 2012 and has already been implemented in Keisoku Giken’s FE super-resolution devices, which are designed to convert professional HD camera footage into 4K video. In other words, the software acts as a sort of highly specialized variation of the upscaling systems found in many 4K UHD TVs on the market today.

As such, this new software also has potential applications which go well beyond just phones and their still extremely rare 4K screens. Other possible uses could involve the upscaling of medical imaging video and surveillance footage.

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