Mar 17 AT 6:04 PM Taylor Wimberly 42 Comments

Yes, 4K UltraHD video is coming to Android devices this year


“4K video recording? LMAO yeah, ok,” said the internet in response to this weekend’s rumor that LG might product the Nexus 5. We could argue for hours if 4K video capture and playback is really necessary, but the reality is that Qualcomm will bring this impressive spec to mobile devices with their upcoming Snapdragon 800 chip.

Qualcomm has already demonstrated their Snapdragon 800 chip capturing 4K UltraHD video and playing it back at trade shows like CES and MWC, and the company says they expect it to be “available in commercial devices by mid-2013.” I had the chance to witness this new technology at MWC in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 Theater and it was simply amazing.

For those new to 4K UltraHD video, the technology got its name because the resolution has four times as many pixels as 1080p. That’s 4096×2304 resolution vs the 1920×1080 resolution that we find in many of today’s high-end smartphones. If you want to see 4K video capture in action, check out the video below from MWC 2013.

So while we are still waiting for someone to debunk the Nexus 5 leak, you can be certain that 4K video capture and playback will be featured in Android devices later this year.

Source: Qualcomm

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • redraider133

    Lets hope they keep sd slots recording videos that large. At least Samsung will hopefully keep the sd slot.

  • PhaseBurn

    While I’m all for progress, I question if we need 4K video recording capabilities in phones this early. There are so few devices that can support 4K playback on the market today, that it might make more sense to wait for more compatible end units to be available for consumers as right now it’s more akin to a gimmick that is pointless.

    I think the fine folks in the marketing department are gonna have a difficult time making this feature relevant for the next few years, where as holding it back for a few years could have ushered in a lot more potential sales as the “missing link” in the 4K chain (TV, media playback device, video capture source, etc).

    Just my $0.02 of course, but it’s likely something I’ll not have any use for (due to not being able to play it back at its native resolution) for 2 to 3 years, minimum. I have no plans to upgrade to a 4K TV any time soon.

    • Dave Kratter

      I think 2-3 years is being very optimistic. No one’s going to care about 4K for many years, certainly not on mobile.

      • Charles

        Not too many will need 4K on mobile but the detail it can record is always nice. I have taken photos that are near 4K resolution in size and the only bad thing about viewing them on a 1080p TV is that it squeezes it down to fit the screen and it is very blocky looking. You won’t have that problem on a PC or Mac. Many of my photos are 4000 x 3000 pixels and that is a very large picture and many good cameras take photos that size. The nice thing about it is that you can blow up and crop the photo better if you want to because you will not loose as much detail as with a smaller photo. It is possible to extract frames from a video and that is nice if you are looking for a small detail that is somewhere in the video but is not easily visible due to motion. That helps alot with dash camera videos, the license plate may look like a blur sometimes but there is often a few good frames or more that can show that much detail. You just don’t see those small details otherwise. The idea of 4K video recording is to capture a sharper, more visually pleasing, and easier on the eyes video to watch. If you think 4K is too much resolution there are cameras out there that record 18K video but they would be insanely expensive I imagine. Cameras capable of 4K are finally coming down to a point where more people can begin to afford them. They will get cheaper but that is when they are yesterdays news.

    • reddragonman

      Pretty much exactly what I was thinking. It’s not whether they can do it, it’s more if they should do it. If it won’t increase the costs significantly, it’s really not an issue, but it is more of a gimmick at this point, since there isn’t enough widespread adoption of the 4k displays, and by the time most people get them, they’ll have new phones anyways. Definitely won’t be a selling feature for me, especially if it comes with a significant price difference.

    • c1liu

      yeah it’s about as useful as nfc is at this point.

      • JohnMAc

        I use NFC every single day at ever store I buy things at. I use Google Wallet for 99% of my purchases.

  • Chip5y

    4k would be awesome but keep in mind that just because the chip supports the resolution that it’s not a given that it would be immediately integrated in the phone. Just the 4k support from the chip does not make a camera/phone 4k capable. But it’s certainly a possibility. We’ll have to wait and see.

  • CTown

    What exactly is the purpose of 4k displays? Will anyone besides the movie theathers actually need it? It’s not like I have a 70 inch tv over hear…

    • reddragonman

      When 1080p first came out, that was the reaction of a lot of people as well. As the technology develops more and becomes more widespread, prices will come down and who knows, maybe one day, you will have a 70″ tv.

      • snowbdr89

        There is a big difference from 720 to 1080 but from 1080 to 4k I can only see having 4k tech on larger TVs but anything less then say 60 inches it seems a bit much unless u like watching TV from less then 5 ft from your tv

      • Charles

        Technology is moving along very quick. I am already seeing 4K TVs and monitors sold. Notice how they are pushing the plain old HDTVs for black Friday? They might be starting to try to clear out the old inventories to make way for the 4K Ultra high definition TVs. The same thing happened to the old glass CRT TVs. They cleared out that old technology and made way for the 720p and 1080p displays that are now everywhere. I still have a 32 inch glass CRT TV in one room in my house. There is not a damned thing wrong with it except that it is old. It still has a good picture. The only thing that was ever wrong with them was that many of them were very heavy and difficult to move or carry. The reason I like the old glass TVs is that they are not soft. You will not scratch them as easily as a flat LCD TV. They were indestructible as long as you don’t drop them will carrying them to another room or worse up one or more flights of stairs. Sure they had lead in them but it can not harm you if you don’t break em. I know they are bad in landfills and similar places, lead is not a metal you would want to mess with. It causes all sorts of problems some of which are neurological and lead poisoning can result in a slow death. It is nasty toxic stuff!

    • SGB101

      No way, your missing out big time man. You need to get one. Scrap that get one for each room

      I want a 4k display, 6″ note3 ;o)

      • Richard Yarrell

        This snowbdr89 is just as bad as that other pecker head squiddy20. Neither of these dweebs purchase anything. Barf on both of those guys. And i do use the term guys very loosely in their case.

        • squiddy20

          You once defined a “real man” as someone who “has the balls to tell people to fuck off”. I’ve done that repeatedly to you (though in not such vulgar language). So according to you, I am a “real man”. What a joke.
          Also, congratulations on replying to the wrong person. Snowbdr89 is the comment above this one. You must have some fat, grubby fingers to screw up which “reply” button you hit…

    • Paul Sanders

      It’s about the viewing distance. If you sat 10m away from a 55 inch TV you wouldn’t notice a difference. Much closer and you can

  • Bb

    People saying this tech is useless need to look at the bigger picture here…

    Innovation drives innovation, once there’s enough market saturation companies will start producing panels for hdtv’s and monitors that are cheap enough for mass market. Much like how apple started the PPI war with their iPhone 4 and its amazing retina display.

    Stuff like digital zoom, video editing and motion judder will also benefit. Much like how you can blow up and crop high res pictures that seem to capture details your eyes never could, I mean who here has a 14 megapixel display?

    This is the future guys….embrace it! :D

    • ags29

      With Qualcomm chipset technology moving this fast, I vote to see them go into battery and smartphone camera sensor production industries!

      Whose with me?

      • thel0nerang3r

        Those are different industries. I don’t believe they have the knowledge to jump into those fields.

    • Charles

      They need to look at the 4K picture hehehe ;^)

    • Charles

      Don’t try to fight it. Your attempts will be futile! One day when I am old, gray and grumpy 4K will be obsolete! Just wait a very long time and you will see that I am right.

  • snowbdr89

    Well if the prices on a 4k I saw are correct then it will be a couple years before most can even afford one so to me its pointless until 4k TVs become cheaper!! Remember when blue ray players and 1080p TVs first hit the market.

  • Sameer

    So high quality video is not required for now with screen of 5 inch. But i am curious to see how it will look like..

  • Nathan D.

    Dam, that is cool, but at the same time it really isn’t necessary. I would much rather have a better image quality then this. 1080p is perfectly fine still and doesn’t take as much memory to.

  • Max Barlow

    Friend – “Hey, you know what would be good?”
    CEO of Qualcomm – “What?”
    Friend – “You should troll the world by giving them 4K and nothing to play it on!”
    CEO – “That’s awesome!”

  • YUOP

    LOL good luck getting 4k on a mobile display

    Also good luck trying to stream 4k content over your mobile network and even wifi limited bandwidth

  • YUOP


    Also good luck trying to stream QUALITY 4k content over your mobile network and even wifi limited bandwidth

    • Charles

      You mean with your” unlimited data” plan? They have been caught numerous times throttling people’s speed to the point that it is useless. How is that for unlimited? Sounds more like false advertising to me. Even ISPs are starting to cap data but some let you pay extra if you must use more than so much per month? I wonder if they still call it unlimited so that I can sue them out of existence for false advertising. There was a time when there were no data caps on an internet account. It is getting to the point that they would make us pay by the hour to have the internet always on. I wonder what the great comedian George Carlin would say if he was still around? Much of his comedy was true. Comedy is often insulting to the subject of it because it is a funny way to point of things that are odd or just not right.

  • Mark

    wow i can record 4k and play it back to my 1080 screen

    or even better i can go out spend 20 grand on a tv so i can play unscaled 1080p content and 1080i TV content.

    Screw 4K i want an OLED TV

  • kelltrash14

    I can only imagine how crappy it will work, given how crappy 1080p recording was on my phone 2 years ago =D

  • brady

    i think it’s great. ideally, i can record in 4K and play it on any other device besides my phone … aint nobody trying to watch videos on their phone.
    i want to edit them then watch them on my blu ray player or tv.

  • aranea

    4K TVs are very expensive. I don’t know if my phone can record it but I can’t watch it!

  • vasra

    4K on phone optics and Aptiva small sensor is silly.

    Why, because in terms of actual recorded resolution, the best mobile phone cannot resolve more than 600-700 lines vertical per picture height.

    That’s 720p, barely.

    Not a SINGLE mobile phone actually resolves 1080 lines.

    Not one.

    Yes, they record in 1080p, but they don’t resolve it.

    So, there isn’t a true HD-quality mobile videocam out there. One that resolves full HD quality.

    Once we get there, and once we are able to use both H.265 compression AND higher bitrates, then, perhaps then, does it make any sense to cram 4K onto mobile phone.

    Until then, it’s not progress. It’s just specsmanship and pure marketing,

    Nowhere near 4K resolved resolution.

    • donger

      Agreed with this fellow.

    • Charles

      iPhones also record in 1080p but they don’t have the screen resolution to show it the same as a 1080p TV. Their screens are just very good as view finders. it sure beats the view finders on classic cameras any time while they still work fine digital technology is slowly killing the old tech.

  • Raptor

    Finally i see aggressive IT industry guys in almost dead hi-tech America besides Steve Jobs.

  • Bhavesh Joshi

    take a look at here also –, a place to share tutorials and ideas related to technology…

  • KRS_Won

    4k would be horrible with the current lens and sensors in today’s smartphones. I’d be more than happy with 1080 recording, just work on better sensors.

    • Charles

      4K is only horrible to people who are ugly. It records even better detail than 1080p. Ugly people will never leave the house when 4K cameras are more widespread knowing that every wrinkle and gray hair will show in crisp, razor sharp detail.

  • Daniel

    Yay! Now I can see my camera failing to find focus at 4K!!! :D

    Which, apart from being a joke, was exactly what we saw in his demo ;)

    • Charles

      4K is still new to us. Any good 4K camera will cost more than some peoples cars but as a new technology comes along to replace it 4K will become cheaper.

  • Haha

    Hahahahaha! :D :D There’s no such thing as Full Ultra HD :D :D That man had almost* no idea what he was talking about. It’s Ultra HD without the full preceding it. You have HD, Full HD and Ultra HD. Plus, I love his accent which makes every stupid thing he says, sound even stupider.