Published in Mobiles

Pixelworks reaches strategic agreement with HMD Global

by on04 February 2019

Cooperation extended to Future Nokia smartphones

Pixelworks is a company with quite remarkable mobile display processing technology packed into rather small chips that enables some high-end video and display features at very low cost and power. After working with HMD to help make the mainstream-priced Nokia 7.1 really pop with high end HDR display features, the two companies announced strategic partnership to extend the cooperation.

Their goal is to bring high-quality display and premium video performance, branded by HMD as PureDisplay, to a wider range of future Nokia smartphones.

Peter Carson, an industry veteran who did some technical marketing miracles at Qualcomm on many fronts, especially in mobile, 4G and 5G, has joined Pixelworks to help these folks tell their story. Peter joined in October 2018 as a Vice president of Marketing and we had a chance to meet with him and Anthony Gioeli, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Video Devices at Pixelworks’ offices in San Jose. That was when we had a chance to see a live Nokia 7.1 demo versus an iPhone Xs Max.

HMD Nokia 7.1 HDR demo

HMD Nokia 7.1 demo was fairly disruptive, given its Pure Display with the Pixelworks visual processor looked so good that it was hard to see the difference compared to a high-end iPhone. That is – until we viewed standard SDR photos and videos, where the Pixelworks SDR to HDR conversion feature kicked in and the Nokia 7.1 wowed us with various videos, including an ocean beach at sunset that showed noticeably superior edge detail and color tonality.

Nokia 7.1 is a mainstream phone powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 platform, but it still managed to deliver stunning visual performance on an LCD display thanks to by Pixelworks’ 4th generation processor. Snapdragon 636 doesn’t have the video and HDR capabilities of its big 800 series brothers, as it has to be a cost effective solution for a mainstream phones.

Playing an HDR10 4K video on more than 1000 USD iPhone compared to a Nokia 7.1 that is about one third of that price resulted in a subjective experience that was almost indistinguishable. The fact that with good processing one can get results that can get LCD to look almost as good as OLED is an amazing achievement and apart of some minor details, the overall picture quality was very similar.

This mid-tier phone is getting premium video processing with a help of tiny, cost and power effective chip. HMD Global clearly recognized the potential early on for its Nokia products. Repeat business lends stability to a chip manufacturer and gives the OEM a stronger voice with its ideas about the roadmap and feature directions. The next generation Pixelworks visual processor will do more with less power, and that is expected in the chip industry. 


It is all about the superior HDR tone mapping that enables cinematic viewing experience when viewing HDR 10 videos and pictures. Iris enables HDR 10 with Iris tone mapping, always on HDR experience with SDR to HDR upscaling, smooth blur free motion (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation - MEMC), as well as True View tone adaptive displays as well as sharp images at any light and color calibration with a delta E of less than 1.

HMD Global’s Chief Product Officer, Juho Sarvikas said:

“As mobile becomes the go-to destination for content viewing, consumers worldwide seek a premium display and video performance. We’ve been delighted by the response to Nokia 7.1 from our fans. The PureDisplay with Pixelworks technology was a significant part of our promise. Superior HDR tone mapping enables cinematic viewing experience when viewing HDR 10 videos or pictures, real-time SDR to HDR conversion technology for an Always HDR experience and local contrast and sharpness enhancement for better viewing experience in all lighting conditions elevates the viewing experience on the Nokia 7.1. We are pleased to continue working with Pixelworks and look forward to bringing this experience to future Nokia smartphones.”

Anthony Gioeli, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Video Devices at Pixelworks, added,

“Around the globe, more people are watching video on their smartphones, requiring OEMs to improve the visual experience for consumers across all product tiers. HMD Global is significantly advancing the mobile industry by differentiating its PureDisplay solution with our video processing innovations. The Nokia 7.1 with Pixelworks’ enhancements has set a new bar for visual quality in mid-tier smartphones. As imaging and mobile video consumption continue to reach new heights, together HMD Global and Pixelworks are making a premium visual experience more accessible to the masses.”

Last modified on 04 February 2019
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Read more about: