23
Mar
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Something that surprised me at the CTIA conference yesterday was the connector port used in both the HTC EVO 3D and View 4G. Instead of 2 distinct standards, like on the EVO 4G - MicroUSB and MicroHDMI - the new EVO devices have only 1 port that uses the brand new MHL technology (Mobile High-Definition Link). And it is brilliant.

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The MHL 1.0 standard, finalized a few months ago, uses a single port to connect both HDMI and MicroUSB, and get this - it is able to charge via HDMI as well. Your MHL-enabled TV, connected to your mobile device via an MHL-HDMI cable, will be able to charge it much faster than MicroUSB.

The MHL port itself is backwards compatible with any MicroUSB cable you plug into it and automatically detects whether it should transfer data or audio/video. Speaking of the latter, MHL natively supports 8-channel audio and full 1080P HD video. Not bad, eh?

The first and only device that supported MHL until today's EVO announcement was the Samsung Galaxy S II, and TVs with built-in MHL support should be arriving sometime in Q2 2011. It's not exactly ideal, but don't rush out to buy a new TV just yet. You can either do away without charging or get a special adaptor that allows connecting both HDMI and MicroUSB cables into a single MHL port, thus enabling charging (watch the video below to see what the adaptor looks like).

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Here is a great video explaining the MHL technology, courtesy of ARMDevices.net - I recommend, you watch it in full:

As you can see, the new EVOs are not just about the next-gen CPUs, 3D capabilities, and beefed up memory/storage - sometimes the changes are much more subtle but, nevertheless, quite useful and, frankly, simply cool.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • http://ARMdevices.net Charbax

    That's cool. I hope the MHL standard allows for at least full USB 2.0 OTG performance at the same time as the HDMI video output stuff is going on, this way that single connector could do as much as both HDMI output and USB OTG connectors of the Motorola Atrix 4G, thus potentially turning every MHL device into a full Motorola Atrix 4G type of device when docked to the right types of accessories.

  • Oliver

    Being forced to buy new-fangled adapters for unique ports isn't "simply cool" when Apple requires it; but, it's especially NOT COOL when Android devices follow suit!!!1

    Seriously, this f'n sucks.

    I'd like to see someone provide a link to a MHL->HDMI cable for sale today... Good luck!

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      MHL is different from proprietary connectors - it's actually a very well thought out standard that helps unifies 2 plugs into 1, kind of like HDMI helped unify 2, 3, or even 5 plugs into 1. At some point new standards come out, and we have new devices that implement that - otherwise, we'd still be stuck with PS/2 and S-Video connectors.

      As for MHL->HDMI cable today, why would you need one right now? There are now devices out that use the technology, and I'm sure the adapter will show up once such devices are released.

      Really, it's not that big of a deal, considering it's backwards compatible with MicroUSB.

  • Evo Owner

    So wait... When you say my tv will charge it, you are actually talking about some theoretical tv that doesn't exist yet? Or will my 1 year old HDTV charge it?

    It's pretty lame if my current tv won't charge it. Perhaps they should have waited to put this port on phones until tv's that actually support the standard had already been shipped.

  • give me HDMI

    There are NO TVs on the market yet that support this and since there's only a single very expensive HDMI receiver chip that supports it, I'd expect only a very few TVs EVER support MHL. So, no, your TV (and my TV and everyone else's TV) cannot charge over this port when the phone's connected to the TV. But worse yet, you don't even have a charging port available anymore. Why don't they just put a separate HDMI port on there like everyone else!?

    • ??

      Are you sure? From the video I was under the impression that you needed the MHL adapter BECAUSE you don't have an MHL capable t.v. The adapter makes it possible to use the t.v. that you already own to plug in your phone and charge it while using it.

      • larry

        I have purchased the adapter that should allow you to charge and view. It does not work. The tech at the sprint store is currently trying to figure it out.

  • Alex

    I bought the HTC view I'm using at the moment from a local sprint store manager. New in the box including the pen/stylus for $250; he claimed it to be his personal item & used only a few times. I also own an Ainol Novo 7 Advanced which I got for $139 shipped from China. The EVO View 4G has a better build quality for sure including better kernel and OS. One thing though that is lacking from the View is the Mini HDMI. It would have been nice if wireless audio/video were possible with this device. I know some devices and smart tv's are using the new protocol to transfer audio/video wireless to the tv can't remember what its called though.. As well as access to the battery & a TF slot. I'm still thinking about rooting & possibly overclocking it as well... Another thing I almost forgot about was from my understanding you can't make typical 3g/4g cell calls from this device, which was done on purpose so as to force extra data and cell plans on people, wasting more money. Way to go SPRINT & HTC, FOR LOOKING OUT FOR THE CONSUMERS AND NOT YOURSELVES... "yeah right!" LMAO!