The frequency estimated by the Phasor Measurement Unit (PMU) is a critical index of power system status and supports many smart grid applications. The future smart grid features high penetration of renewables and more fast-moving power electronics inverters but raises challenges to the reliable frequency estimation. This article presents three methods to address these challenges. First, an enhanced zero-crossing algorithm was developed to track the fast-changing frequency in system dynamics. Second, we propose a technology that can tolerate the system transient and suppress the outliers. Third, an algorithm was developed to export high time-resolution frequency estimations with minimum computational effort. All of the proposed methods are realized in hardware and compared with classical frequency estimation methods. The testing results indicate that the proposed methods have excellent performance. They can be used in future PMUs and provide reliable and high time resolution data for smart grid applications.