updated 01:50 pm EST, Wed December 5, 2007
Nokia on HD Video Capture
Cellphones will have the option of not just playing but also recording high-definition video in as little as two years, Nokia chief technology officer Tero Ojanpera said in an interview today. The senior official explains that the technology strong enough to encode the sharper video on a handset in real-time is "a couple of years away" for practical purposes given the current state of video. The Finnish company only began shipping phones with NTSC (640x480) video capture late last year with the release of the N95, which is considerably smaller than the minimum 720p (1280x720) often considered the baseline for HD.
Other companies have since released devices with similar or better video capture features. LG's KU990 "Viewty" records at similar resolutions but has the option of a unique 120 frames per second mode that enables slow motion videos and more precise frame-by-frame editing, including basic editing from the phone itself.
Much of the challenge associated with introducing HD relates to increasing the performance of the mobile chipsets inside to handle the content without significantly reducing battery life. Companies such as Broadcom have recently introduced chipsets such as the BCM2727 that can encode 720p video in real-time but are not likely to reach shipping products until sometime in 2008 at the earliest. Storage is also a concern as even compressed HD can consume dozens of megabytes per minute, demanding multi-gigabyte flash cards and internal drives to achieve the same results possible with today's removable memory.