Ina Fried

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What’s Coming Soon to a Smartphone Near You (Video)

What surprises can we expect to see in the next generation of smartphones and tablets?

One way to answer that question is to visit the companies that make the chips that will power those mobile devices. AllThingsD did that earlier this month, traveling to Qualcomm’s hometown of San Diego. Among the things coming soon are cellphone cameras that can wait until everyone is looking at the camera and tablets that can recognize gestures, a la the Microsoft Kinect.

The gesture recognition can take place through front-facing cameras, ultrasonic detection or a combination of the two. Other things on tap include tablets with improved DTS audio and no-lag multiplayer gaming over LTE.

Those tricks and others are among the capabilities that Qualcomm says will allow Android device makers to try to stand out from the pack in a world of increasingly similar slabs of glass and metal.

“It helps them to stay alive,” said Qualcomm vice president Reiner Klement. “Without differentiation, the question becomes price, and if you are not a Chinese (manufacturer), I don’t know how you survive.”

Qualcomm says that although its latest chip can support all kinds of neat things, different phone makers will choose to incorporate different features.

Some, Klement said, are more focused on having a great camera; others on providing a top-notch gaming experience.

“It’s not one shoe fits all,” he said.

Here’s a video showing some of the new capabilities in action:

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google