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  (Source: Samsung)
Highlights also include Samsung's plans to be the first to 10 nm UV-based lithography; holographic display note

Despite "beating the street", South Korea's Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930), the largest marker of smartphones and second largest tablet maker, has experienced investor scrutiny over fears that sales of high-end smartphones are slowing.  Indeed, the softest part of Samsung's earnings report was Galaxy S4, which failed to crack 7 million units per month.

What did Samsung have to say at its analysts day?  We've attached all the slides below for your reviewing pleasure, and I'll point out some of the highlights.

I. Deck 1 -- Finances

Deck 1 was presented by Samsung's CFO Sang-hoon Lee.  One interesting note comes on page 6, which breaks down where Samsung's revenue came from in H1 2013:
Samsung revenue by region
The following pages show the expected, given Samsung's gains -- less debt, higher profit margins.  Since 2010 Samsung's spending on capital (building new fabs, engineering new smartphones, etc.) has remained essentially flat, yet it's growing its sales and profits on a yearly basis.

Slides 17-19 are interesting in that they show that Samsung's patent efforts are transitioning from hardware (e.g. telecommunications equipment) to software -- where patents tend to be unencumbered by obligatory licensing and more ambiguous.  Samsung now has 3 global patent development centers and hires 600 "IP experts", so expect it to start churning out patents like Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Apple, Inc. (AAPL).  As these patents get granted, we may see the smartphone patent war turn to a nuclear winter as multiple concurrent product bans fall into place, eventually forcing a more cooperative sector.

In S.K. Samsung employs 326,000 people (with $18B USD in spending), while overseas it employs 190,000 ($11B USD in spending).  

Samsung_Analyst_Day_Finances_1.pdf



2. General Outlook -- Vice Chairman
A fun tidbit on slide 3 -- Samsung wants to make $400B USD by 2020.  That's more than double Samsung's 2012 haul of 201T Won ($189.6B USD).  Slide 5 shows Samsung expects OLED and SSD to be the fastest high-tech growth places from 2012-2017.  Samsung also expects modest growth in smartphones and "smart TVs", slowing by 2017.


Samsung next big thing


Slide 12 suggests that Samsung views 4K and foldable displays as "the next big thing" in smartphones.  In semiconductor fabrication, it believes that new structures -- i.e. whatever comes after the FinFET -- could help solve the riddle of poor performance and high leakage at 7-14 nm nodes.  Maybe we'll see that "Christmas tree" transistor after all?

A particularly interesting side note is found on Samsung's IP slide, which hints at an upcoming holographic display.

Samsung holodisplay

Samsung thinks there'll be ~25 billion connected devices by 2020.  Back to patents, Samsung now holds 30,641 patents in the U.S. and over 100k worldwide -- granted, a lot of those are encumbered by obligatory licensing.

Samsung_Analyst_Day_VC_2.pdf



3.  Samsung -- CEO JK Shin Talks Global Business

Samsung's CEO JK Shin emphasized a key landmark -- 100M units of Galaxy S and Note smartphones sold worldwide (this number was hit in January 2013). Apple hit the 100M unit mark in early 2011, after roughly four and a half years on the smartphone market.  The original Galaxy S was made available in mid 2010, so Samsung has achieved Apple's magic number in three years.  Hitting 100M units in only two-thirds of the time it took Apple to reach that mark is a big win, but reminds us that iOS still leads Samsung's Galaxy line in lifetime unit sales.

Samsung moved 17.6 million tablets in H1 2013 (more than Samsung's entire 2012 sales), and expects 40 million tablets to be sold in 2013.  As of Oct. 2012, Apple had sold 100 million iPads.  In other words, Samsung's catching up with rapid tablet sales growth, but it still has a long way to go in terms of installed devices base.

Market research firm TNA says Samsung is now the top smartphone branded, Interbrand calls it the 9th most valuable brand, up from 19th in 2010.  Samsung is pushing for strong tablet and smartphone growth in developing nations.  It's focused on advanced LTE and flexible displays (the latter of which some debate the merits of).

Samsung is standing behind its premise that wearables will become a major future business segment.  It points out an interesting fact -- it actually had a watch phone back in 1999.  So while Seiko (Holdings Corp. (TYO:8050introduced smartwatches in the 1980s, Samsung should be recognized as a legitimate pioneer in this field as well, even if that device didn't make much of a splash in the Americas.


Samsung watches

The company is borrowing a page from Apple's playbook expanding its branded "Samsung Experience" stores this year globally.  The stores first opened in 2011.


differentiators

Above Samsung breaks down what it views as key differentiators in its mobile devices.

This presentation had a lot of predictable stuff, but a bit of meat as well.

Samsung_Analyst_Day_CEO_3.pdf



4. Mobile Displays & Research Outlook

A neat fact from IMS Research on slide 6:

  • Product replacement schedule/lifetime:
  • Mobile -- 1.8 years
  • Note PC -- 5.0 years
  • TV -- 7.0 years
  • Refrigerator -- 14.0 years
  • Washer -- 15.9 years

It's no wonder why Samsung's appliances aren't a major driver of growth.  We truly live in an age of disposable mobile electronics that was once the stuff of science fiction.

On page 12 Samsung predictions an explosion in the UHD (ultra high definition) display segment, e.g. 4K displays.  

Samsung UHD


Samsung expects 1.2 million UHD unit sales in 2013, rising to 5.6 million units in 2014 and 17.1 million units by 2016.  Interestingly Samsung calls > 60-inch flat panel displays as its fastest growing segment, and it emphasizes pickup in "emerging" market regions.  The company predicts 1.9 million units in this segment sold in developing nations in 2013 and 3.6 million in 2016.

Samsung says it will sell 73 million Smart TVs this year and 107 million by 2016.  By 2016 Samsung says "emerging" markets will account for 70 percent of Smart TV sales.  At CES last year, Samsung emphasized trying to push Smart TV product with swappable processor modules, a move that will extend panel life for consumers, while giving Samsung viable ongoing business.  This emphasis was absent from the display talk, though.

Samsung_Analyst_Day_CE_Strat_4.pdf



5. Memory Business
Dong-soo Jun, Samsung's memory business President, gave us a wide view of Samsung's current storage (nonvolatile memory) and DRAM (volatile memory) current business and plans.

The early slides emphasize what we already know -- computing is going mobile, OS releases are going to shorter cycles, and computer components are moving from interchangeable to tightly integrated.

Samsung says going to 20 nm took twice the capital (R&D, fab construction) investment as going to 100 nm a decade ago.  It also took 80% longer to develop.  Samsung points out that with tight integration DRAM/NAND failures become much more costly as you have to RMA (return to manufacturer) the entire device -- a dangerous trend.

Samsung is switching to a "tapered pricing" and "winner takes all" model for mobile memory sales.  Tapering essentially is a way of flattening out volatile spot pricing, but it may require the entire industry to switch to this approach.  Winner takes all means that Samsung won't reserve memory for multiple OEMs, but will allow the first (or best) bidder to buy as much of its total stock as it wants.

Samsung is prepping 6 Gigabit modules for the mobile DRAM market, an industry first.  This will allow smaller 3 GB phone packages (4 chips, instead of 6), or even a 4.5 GB or 6 GB tablet/smartphone packages.

Samsung 6 Gbit

Samsung brags of "Green Fifth Generation Memory" -- 20 nm class (e.g. possibly 22, 28 nm) DDR4 for data centers and 10 nm class (e.g. possibly 14, 19 nm) SSDs.  Samsung predicts that in 1.8 years these technologies will migrate from the data center to mobile space.  It says this will save 45 TWh and $3.1B USD in power consumption annually.

Green memory

Expect LPDDR3 4 Gigabit chips at the 20 nm node to start popping up shortly in Samsung products, according to its slide.  It says this is a non-standardized development, which advances the slower move standard nodes, during interim releases.  From a patent wars perspective, this could mean that if other OEMs adopt the tech, Samsung may be able to sue them without obligatory licensing (as it's not exactly part of a standards spec.).  Samsung also cites AnandTech praise for its 840 Series SSDs, which were the first models to introduce 3-bit NAND flash cells (see slide 24).

Relying on vertical NAND (vNAND, also known as "3D memory") has reduced Samsung's reliance on process development by a factor of 3.  Thus even as Samsung works on its next generation UV process to replace immersion lithography, it is eyeing vNAND to hold down the release cycles in the interim.

The deck also makes it clear that Samsung is exploring multiple next generation storage technologies, including resistive RAM (ReRAM), phase change memory (PRAM), and magnetic RAM (MRAM) and has not decided on one yet, given to all of these technologies being in their nascent stages and having serious tradeoffs.

Slide 39 gives a view of where Samsung's NAND and memory research and engineering centers are.  Samsung is expanding its research in this vital area.  It's based in South Korea, Israel, and America -- developed high-tech hubs -- and also has key facilities in India and China, the world's top two emerging markets.


R&D roadmap


Samsung_Analyst_Day_Memory_5.pdf



6. Semiconductor outlook
Samsung's Dr. Namsung (Stephen) Woo presented a view of Samsung's semiconductor business.  Samsung predicts that premium smartphone unit sales will only grow 9 percent next year, while mid-range and budget units will grow by 22 percent.  This perhaps validates HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) apparent decision to step back from the high end market.  On the tablet front you see a similar story with premium sales growing 25 percent and mid-to-low end models growing 58 percent (slide 4).

Samsung tells us to expect WQHD (2,560x1,440 pixel) smartphone displays to replace FHD (1920x1080) next year as the high end standard.  And Samsung predicts UHD (aka 4K) (3,840x2,160) display availability in the mobile market in 2015.  The question we must ask ourselves is "why"?  Oh well, 4K displays in 4-to-5 inch phones may benefit those few genetic freaks with better than 20/20 vision.

 
Samsung analyst


After image stabilization (2009), face detection (2010), and wide dynamic range (e.g. the HDR+ features in Android 4.4 Kit Kat) firmware has played a key role in Samsung's camera efforts.  Samsung is planning to increase sensor resolution from 13 MP in 2013 to 20 MP in 2015.  Of course, Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) and Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) already are using 20 MP+ sensors in many phones.

A key piece of data is found on slide 15 which clarifies Samsung's die shrink schedule on the system-on-a-chip side somewhat.  Samsung next year will move from a high-K dielectric, metal gate (HK/MG) 2nd generation 28 nm process to a 20 nm first last-gate HK/MG process next year, with a 0.9 V threshold voltage (down from 1.0 V at 28 nm).  Expect 14 nm to arrive possibly sometime in 2015 or 2016, which will be a major update, introducing Samsung's first FinFET based design (e.g. "3D transistors").  Samsung is also working on a second generation, 10 nm FinFET, according to its roadmap.  That tiny 3D transistor will have a threshold voltage of 0.7 V.

samsung die shrinks

Samsung is using back-side illumination (moving to a transparent metal layer over the photodiode to reduce reflection), gapless pixels, light guides, and deeper deposition to increase the sensitive and reduce noise in its photosensors for digital camera units.

Camera sensor

Samsung is currently using 1.12 µm (micron) or 1.34 µm pixels [source, not in the slide], in 16 MP sensors for its smartphones.  These small pixels absorb less light but there're more of them.  Apple currently uses a sensor 1.5 µm pixel, 8 MP sensor in the iPhone [source], while Nokia uses a 41 MP, 1.12 µm pixel.  HTC uses a 4 MP, 2.0 µm  sensor.  Generally the Lumia 1020 is cited as producing the "best" pictures, followed by the HTC One and iPhone 5S, followed by the Galaxy S4.  Samsung's efforts seem to be falling a bit behind here; it's unclear how 20 MP sensors in 2014 will allow it to catch up camera-wise with its competitors. 

Samsung, like Intel Corp. (INTC), is moving aggressively to embed DRAM in its Exynos systems-on-a-chip, connecting the processor and DRAM module via through-silicon-vias (TSVs).

Widecon

Another very important note is Samsung's plan for 64-bit ARM CPUs.  It reveals it plans to first release a 64-bit chip using optimized IP cores from ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM) (i.e. the Cortex-A53/A57 cores), but is also working on a longer term plan to make its own 64-bit ARM cores based on the A64/ARMv8 instruction sets (also licensed from ARM).


Samsung 64-bit


Also interesting is Samsung's "Foundry 2.0" slides:



Samsung seems to be suggesting it will license its first-party ARM cores as possibly second-hand IP cores, which would be pretty interesting.  Its "10 nm leadership" also appears to suggest it plans to at least beat GlobalFoundries and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Comp., Ltd. (TPE:2330) (TSMC) to this node -- and possibly Intel as well.

Samsung leadership

Samsung IP licensing


Intel will reach 10 nm (ostensibly) in 2016.  Samsung deployed 45 nm in 2010, 32 nm in 2012 (with a new process), and 28 nm this year.  Extrapolating, Samsung will likely release 14 nm in 2015 (as it is a new process) and 10 nm in 2016 (as it's just a die shrink).  It appears Samsung may catch up with Intel by 2016 in process side, according to this more detailed account.

FinFET 14 nm

Of course that involves a lot of "IFs" as it assumes no delays -- and recall even the mighty Intel suffered delays moving to 14 nm -- and it already had production FinFETs.  Samsung adding FinFETs and jumping to 14 nm may be targeting 2015, but it could easily slide to 2016, leaving Intel a little ahead once more.
 

Samsung_Analyst_Day_LSI_6.pdf



7. The Future of Displays


Kinam Kim, Ph.D, Samsung Display CEO, gave a preview of what's going on in Samsung's display manufacturing unit.  

Currently at $128B USD, Samsung Display earned 38 percent of that from mobile applications, up substantially from 2010 (17 percent).  That smartphone leadership has helped Samsung score a 10 percent gain in profit in 2012 (YoY) versus a 5 percent decline in profit that the industry on average experienced.  AMOLED is also displacing LCD, slowly, in Samsung's portfolio; this year it is expected to account for nearly half of displays sold.

Samsung display market share

Samsung says that in every major market segment its displays have at least a 30 percent stake in global devices sold to consumers.  Notably, nearly half of all smartphones made have a Samsung-produced screen.

The key to Samsung's plans for flexible and foldable displays lies in thin film encapsulation (TFE) that builds on Samsung's AMOLED evaporation-based production method that debuted in 2007.  Much like Apple, Samsung essentially bought this (TFE) technology, via the acquisition of Vitex Systems in Sept. 2010.  For a flexible substrate compatible with evaporation processes, Samsung turned to Japanese chemical company Ube Industries, Ltd. (TYO:4208), whom it launched a joint venture (Samsung Ube Materials (SUM)) in Aug. 2011.

AMOLED

The first results only support modest static bends, but Samsung has working prototypes that are fully flexible and foldable, which it will look to bring to market within a few years.  Samsung predicts that by 2015 12 percent of smartphones will be flexible and that by 2018 40 percent will be.

Samsung will be introducing a new oxide LCD manufacturing process, which it says will bump traditional TFT LCDs up to 250 ppi (pixels per inch) -- good enough for the mid-range.  

Samsung strategy

Meanwhile it's planning to expand its flexible and rigid AMOLED production, which uses a low temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) production process. 
 
Samsung_Analyst_Day_Display_7.pdf




Did we miss anything?? Let us know.  This was quite a preview, so there's a lot ot absorb.

Source: Samsung



Comments     Threshold


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I'd rather pay less and..
By piroroadkill on 11/6/2013 6:04:09 PM , Rating: 4
.. Stick with 1280x720 on a phone.

Hell, I think 4.3" 800x480 still looks more than fine.

I actively don't want a 1080p screen on a phone. Or above. It seems like we're constantly taking gains in SoC power and cost of production and throwing it all away so we can blow more power on pixels we can't see, and pay out the ass for it. Not interested.




RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By nikon133 on 11/6/2013 8:24:55 PM , Rating: 1
I'm with you.

Not that much for price - it will go down - but for power consumption; I'd rather have longer lasting battery than more pixels, for the same device specs.

Of course this is highly individual, but for me - after playing with S4 and HTC One (they are both 1080, right?) I returned to my Lumia 920 and cannot say I noticed difference. I didn't put them next to each other and pixel-peek, didn't "dive" into screens - I simply used them same way I use my phone, some 30cm away from my eyes.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By Reclaimer77 on 11/6/2013 9:05:51 PM , Rating: 3
Zinc Oxide screens are already on the market and will become prevalent soon. The power savings on the IGZO process are amazing, so you don't have to worry about battery life.

Now if you can't tell the difference between 720p and 1080p, well no offense, but it's time to go see your Optometrist. And the OP too, 480p is honestly horrible.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By ClownPuncher on 11/7/2013 12:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, but 4k is pretty much completely useless for anything smaller than a 10" tablet.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By Reclaimer77 on 11/7/2013 12:45:54 PM , Rating: 2
Oh I agree. I was just being general.

There might be some benefit beyond 1080, but 4k is overkill.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By CyberAngel on 11/7/2013 9:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
I got Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Urban Grey
and Netgear 3000 Push2TV
FullHD display mirroring in any FHDTV

Lumia 920 Red, sold
no Miracast
no 1920 x 1080

Waiting for Lumia 1520 Red & Nokia Beamer
and Android USB-stick Tablet with FHD support
to get the same


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By Visual on 11/11/2013 9:05:57 AM , Rating: 2
I refuse to believe that the pixel control logic has a noticeable power-draw compared to its backlight. And from that, the power-draw of a display should be more or less independent on the resolution, only dependent on brightness and area.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By ritualm on 11/7/2013 1:39:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I actively don't want a 1080p screen on a phone. Or above.

By the time Ivy Bridge was launched, I had a growing distaste of 1080p screens on anything bigger than a 5" phone. Put it simply - if a laptop has that res, it better be extremely good or I'm not buying one. Only one laptop out of that IvB and Kepler releasefest has something better than bog-standard 1080p.

While I prefer 1080p on a phone, I don't mind 720p at all, however I do care when that 720p phone is being sold with premium pricing in tow e.g. Moto X.

You think you don't need even 720p right now. Give a few more years. A 3.5" 960x640 display is positively horrid for web browsing on the go, and I don't want to go back to that experience again.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By retrospooty on 11/7/2013 6:53:44 AM , Rating: 3
"You think you don't need even 720p right now. Give a few more years. "

If he cant see the difference now, time wont change it unless he gets his eyes fixed. If you cannot see the difference on a 5 inch 720p phone and a 1080p phone then there is something wrong with your near term vision. Apparently alot of people cant tell the difference, many get angry when you tell them there is one LOL.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By augiem on 11/7/2013 5:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe some people don't care about the difference.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By Reclaimer77 on 11/7/2013 5:43:31 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Maybe some people don't care about the difference.


Then why are they constantly bitching about high res? If they don't care about the difference, then how does it effect them?

But no, they have to bring this absurd "not in my backyard" mentality and ruin it for the rest of us.

Either don't buy that phone or just be happy with it even if you can't see the difference. Either way they can shut up, it's NOT like they're being negatively impacted!


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By retrospooty on 11/7/2013 9:30:11 PM , Rating: 2
I get if they don't care. But anyone that can't tell has eye issues. Here is any easy one anyone can do. Go into your local wireless store and pick up a Note2 and a Note3 and compare side by side. Goto any given website, even this one and look at some text... If you can't see a difference, there is a problem with your eyes. If you don't care, save some money and buy something cheaper, but stop whining about others that do.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By flyingpants1 on 11/7/2013 8:27:06 AM , Rating: 2
What the hell?


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By Motoman on 11/7/2013 9:57:21 AM , Rating: 3
Exactly. Anyone possessed of rational thoughts can see right through the emperor's new clothes here.

Aside from the 1337 few who get all soggy over spec sheets, there's nothing happening from your 800x480 on up that actually helps anyone.

You can use the march of technology in 2 fundamental ways - to continually increase specifications, or to drive down costs. We passed the time to focus on driving down costs a LONG time ago.

Instead of wasting all their effort on spec sheets, it would be nice if they'd instead focus on making smartphones affordable. No one *needs* a $600 phone. And if you think you do...you're wrong.

What we need is something with the specs of, say, a Galaxy S2 for like $50 at full retail. 99% of all smartphone users on the planet would be perfectly happy with that phone. And for the spec-sheet rubbers out there, there'll always be some ridiculous halo device being made by somebody, so they can still run out and play e-peen wars with their buddies.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By retrospooty on 11/7/2013 10:13:44 AM , Rating: 1
"there's nothing happening from your 800x480 on up that actually helps anyone."

We have discussed this in depth before, so I wont get into it again... This is just a friendly reminder to please have your eyes checked because they aren't seeing clearly at the 8-16 inch range where people hold their phones. Not even a little bit clearly.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By Motoman on 11/7/2013 10:49:59 AM , Rating: 3
We have, so *again* I'll remind you that I have had my eyes checked recently. 20/20 - the expected average.

I'll also remind you that I personally have put my money where my mouth is, doing "taste tests" with a "low-res" phone next to a "high-res" phone and asking random people in an office, who aren't phone nerds, which display gives the best picture.

Comparing a Galaxy S Relay (800x480) to either an iPhone 5 (1136x640) or a Galaxy S III (1280x20) - I've done this multiple times - this is what normal people do:

1. If you set an expectation that one screen is higher-quality than the other, people agree with you - even when you do so with the lower-quality screen. For example, I'll point to the Relay and say something like "technically this screen is superior, but I don't think you can tell the difference...can you?" People will tend to prefer whichever device you presented that way. The majority of people will say that the Relay display does indeed look better - even when it's woefully behind the other screens, technically.

2. If you set no expectation, it pretty much boils down to 50/50 - or you'll get a glimmer of marketing recognition "oh, the Apple one is supposed to be better right?" or "Oh, this is a Samsung Galaxy? Those are better, right?"

Once again, you're fooling yourself, and I've proven it in the real world with tests that you yourself can repeat if you want to learn the truth. There are vanishingly few people, statistically speaking, who give a rat's a$s about high-res screens on a smartphone. The fact that they tend to collect here in higher proportions on a tech website doesn't change that natural fact.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By retrospooty on 11/7/2013 11:09:06 AM , Rating: 1
You may have 20/20 vision, indicating that ou see what the average person sees at 20 feet, but you have a problem at 1/1 my friend. Sorry you cant admit it. If the random people you tested with in your office cant see it then they have an issue too. Sorry you cant see it in order to see it. It's like explaining the colors purple, blue and red to a color blind person. It just doesn't make sense to him.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By Motoman on 11/7/2013 11:36:54 AM , Rating: 2
If you want to continue to believe that you're right while the vast majority of people are wrong, that's your thing. Trying to convince you otherwise is like, well, like trying to describe colors to a blind person.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By retrospooty on 11/7/2013 11:37:55 AM , Rating: 2
LOL... OK man, I am not going to argue with you on this any more, if you cant see it, you cant see it and me typing words on a web page isn't going to help your vision. You and I are totally cool as far as I am concerned. You are wrong on that and that is that, but we are cool. +1


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By ven1ger on 11/7/2013 1:14:12 PM , Rating: 2
Sample testing for just what people think at first glance may not be sufficient in determining if one res is better than another over use for a lengthy period of time. If you read a screen for a minute at a lower res vs a higher res screen for the same minute, it may not be significant for the user. But, if you view the lower res screen over time vs the higher res, the higher res will most likely win over because it will be easier to discern text & pics a lot easier thereby being a lot less strain on the eyes.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By jamescox on 11/8/2013 4:08:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sample testing for just what people think at first glance may not be sufficient in determining if one res is better than another over use for a lengthy period of time. If you read a screen for a minute at a lower res vs a higher res screen for the same minute, it may not be significant for the user. But, if you view the lower res screen over time vs the higher res, the higher res will most likely win over because it will be easier to discern text & pics a lot easier thereby being a lot less strain on the eyes.


This is the real test. Try reading black text on a white back ground for a half hour. Something like the original ipad (132 PPI) is definitely way too low resolution. Also, I find reading text on a small screen phone for extended periods causes me eye strain, even with a high-res device. I used a 4th generation ipod touch for a while (326 PPI), and this works okay for pages optimized for mobile. For pages not optimized for mobile, these usually have text way to small, even with zooming in on individual frames. For images or video, you can get away with a much lower resolution without noticing it much. Also, different character sets (such as japanese or chinese characters) do not display well on low dpi screens.

I don't think there is much of a reason to go over 300 or 400 ppi. About the only place it would make any sense is on a >= 10 inch tablet. Manufactures may then want to bring that resolution down to smaller screen devices for consistency though. For Samsung specifically, going 4K may make more sense when using a non-RGB sub-pixel layout.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By jamescox on 11/8/2013 4:16:30 AM , Rating: 2

I meant to say that the only place 4k resolution would make any sense is in the larger tablets.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By Reclaimer77 on 11/8/2013 2:58:23 PM , Rating: 2
...wow!

Like I've literally never seen such rubbish.

First off I think you're full if it. You don't go around testing peoples opinions that way. But let's say you do, what is your methodology?

This debate is silly. If you can tell the difference between a Bluray and DVD from several feet away, you can damn sure tell that same difference with a phone right up to your face.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By Solandri on 12/2/2013 12:24:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
1. If you set an expectation that one screen is higher-quality than the other, people agree with you - even when you do so with the lower-quality screen. For example, I'll point to the Relay and say something like "technically this screen is superior, but I don't think you can tell the difference...can you?"

What are you displaying in your tests?

I use my tablet (and prior to that, tablet PC) to haul around my sheet music collection (beats a 3 foot stack of music books). When I first got the idea, I tested the different screen resolutions I could buy for this application. The 1024x768 screens were just awful. 1280x800 was marginal. e.g. I couldn't make out the little flags and tails which distinguish an eighth note from a sixteenth note, and I couldn't tell if that was a grace note or dirt on the screen.

The tablet PC I ended up getting was 12.1" and 1400x1050 (144 ppi), which I considered just barely acceptable. The tablet I got is 1920x1280 and 9" (256 ppi), and mostly good enough though I can still see a little room for improvement.

A 4.3" 800x480 phone is 217 ppi, so only slightly better than what I'd consider marginal. 1280x720 at 4.3" (341 ppi) or 5" (294 ppi) is about perfect. I agree the 1920x1080 screens at 5" (441 ppi) are just overkill. The main reason for going to this resolution on a phone IMHO is so you can play back HD movies without having to scale the picture.

So I disagree with you that 800x480 is sufficient on a phone, but agree that 1920x1080 is overkill. If you're just watching movies or playing around with icons, yeah 800x480 is good enough. But it's insufficient if you're viewing something which requires discrimination of detail. You can tell the difference.

This matches with the long-standing rule of thumb for printer resolution. 150 dpi was considered the threshold for "high quality" print, while 300 dpi was considered the the point where your eyes could no longer see the dots when reading the paper at a comfortable distance. The move to 600 and 1200 dpi was more about high quality dithering to allow laser printers (which can only print black or white) to print greyscale, which isn't an issue with LCDs or AMOLED.


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By Assimilator87 on 11/7/2013 8:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
Nokia Lumia 520


RE: I'd rather pay less and..
By CyberAngel on 11/7/2013 9:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
You are so right!
No one needs a 600$ cheapo phone
That's why there is Vertu
and it can be custom ordered
if you budget is 1,000,000.00 USD


By blue_urban_sky on 11/8/2013 11:08:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You can use the march of technology in 2 fundamental ways - to continually increase specifications, or to drive down costs. We passed the time to focus on driving down costs a LONG time ago.


Doesn't one lead to the other? Will the cutting edge not trickle down to mid and low end devices of next year?

With screen res on a phone I had presumed that this was the easiest to develop. Samsung will be able to produce small screens without defects and sell them and slowly increase into the larger sizes?


2,560x1,440 in a 5 inch phone?
By retrospooty on 11/6/2013 4:07:28 PM , Rating: 1
I am all for higher res, and I can definitely tell the difference from 720p and 1080p on a 5 inch screen... I have even been in many arguments right here about it with people that tell my I cant see it (and I clearly CAN) but that is plenty. 2,560x1,440 pixel on a smartphone just seems to be a waste. In a few years 3,840x2,160 ? Ugh. Why?




RE: 2,560x1,440 in a 5 inch phone?
By JasonMick (blog) on 11/6/2013 4:19:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I am all for higher res, and I can definitely tell the difference from 720p and 1080p on a 5 inch screen... I have even been in many arguments right here about it with people that tell my I cant see it (and I clearly CAN) but that is plenty. 2,560x1,440 pixel on a smartphone just seems to be a waste. In a few years 3,840x2,160 ? Ugh. Why?
I'm interested to see if I can tell the difference.

For a long time my vision was 20/20 in one eye and between 20/10 and 20/15 in another eye (meaning that I could see @ 20 feet what you were supposed to be able to read @ somewhere between 10 to 15 ft with "perfect" vision). Kind of odd because my parents both needed glasses by the time I was a teen... maybe I was secretly adopted... but I digress.

Anyhow, iirc, 1080p is about the limit for useful resolution for people of "average" vision (20/20) @ the 4-5 inch smartphone display size (and usage distance). My vision has deteriorated slightly... last time I was tested it was 20/25 in one eye and a solid 20/15 in the other (versus before where it was marginally better than 20/15). But as my one eye is above average, I wonder if I'll be able to use the higher res display more enjoyably.

I've use Apple's Retina displays and to me they feel very natural (where as I've seen others complain about eyestrain). So I think that might indicate my eyes can handle resolving these finer pixels.

My one eye is above average, but by no means is it the best... some have been tested with up to 20/8 vision.

As for people with standard or poorer than standard vision, if I understand there's still some improvements at higher resolutions when it comes to anti-aliasing in games and text rendering. I realize these may be handled algorithmically with sub-pixel rendering currently in the firmware, but I think the higher res display will render slightly smoother as it allows true full-res implementations, not an interpolation.


RE: 2,560x1,440 in a 5 inch phone?
By Reclaimer77 on 11/6/2013 4:58:31 PM , Rating: 2
Jason I want to extend an apology to you.

This was a great article that really highlights the depth and commitment Samsung has in technology R&D. A lot of the times Samsung is only written about as some kind of vampire that feeds off others. Hopefully this goes a long way to dispelling this absurd myth.

Back to the discussion, for the typical distances you view a smartphone at, your eye can discern around 4k res. So in my opinion 2k isn't a waste and it's not too much.


RE: 2,560x1,440 in a 5 inch phone?
By retrospooty on 11/6/2013 5:01:06 PM , Rating: 2
That is actually a good point. I was looking at the part that struck me as odd going to 4k res on a phone, but glossed over the whole "jist" of the article. Samsung actually does push alot of boundaries and drive things forward. I hope they can take a good amount of that profit they have been making lately and drive even harder.


By ven1ger on 11/6/2013 5:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, they have to push the boundaries and what may not seem needed currently, in the next year or two, it'll be the must have thing. That's true innovation, pushing the technology beyond what everyone is used to. Samsung may not see much profit or commercially viable products in these sorts of technology, but eventually as the technology improves and costs drop, they may make the consumer wish list.


By Solandri on 12/2/2013 12:48:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Back to the discussion, for the typical distances you view a smartphone at, your eye can discern around 4k res. So in my opinion 2k isn't a waste and it's not too much.

20/20 vision is the ability to distinguish two lines 1 arc-minute apart (i.e. 0.5 arc-min white line between two black lines).

At a distance of 2 feet, 1 arc-minute corresponds to 143 line pairs per inch. Or 286 ppi.

A 16:9 1080p 5" screen is 441 ppi.
A 16:9 4k res on a 5" screen would be 881 ppi.

Both of these far exceed your eye's resolving power. Their only use on a phone is when you squint and pull the screen closer to your eye.

The maximum hypothetical resolving limit of the eye is 0.4 arc-minutes. That's the width of the cones in your fovea. To reach this resolution, you have to bypass your (imperfect) optical system and use a laser to directly paint light onto your retina.

0.4 arc minutes at 24" corresponds to 716 ppi.


RE: 2,560x1,440 in a 5 inch phone?
By retrospooty on 11/6/2013 4:58:32 PM , Rating: 2
"For a long time my vision was 20/20 in one eye and between 20/10 and 20/15 in another eye"

Another thing to consider is near term vision. 1/1 so to speak. People may see 20/20 at 20 feet, but have problems close up, or vise versa.

"As for people with standard or poorer than standard vision, if I understand there's still some improvements at higher resolutions when it comes to anti-aliasing in games and text rendering."

Yup. The "acid" test I use is to zoom way in on black text on a white background... Look at rounded letters like O's and C's. If you cant see jaggies there, you wont see them anywhere. I have really good eyes and I cease to see any pixels or jaggies at somewhere around 400PPI. I see them on the iPhone and all other 720p Android and WP phones, getting to 1080p going over 400PPI does the trick.


RE: 2,560x1,440 in a 5 inch phone?
By Spuke on 11/6/2013 5:28:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
getting to 1080p going over 400PPI does the trick
Sounds like you need a G2. :)


By retrospooty on 11/6/2013 5:42:00 PM , Rating: 2
RE: 2,560x1,440 in a 5 inch phone?
By elleehswon on 11/7/2013 10:42:58 AM , Rating: 2
i have zero regrets getting my G2. i can confirm the display is amazing.


By retrospooty on 11/7/2013 11:45:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yup... It's a beautiful thing. I have had it for almost 2 monhts now and I still cant get over how great the screen is and how long the battery lasts and how speedy it is... A Truly great phone.


RE: 2,560x1,440 in a 5 inch phone?
By Flunk on 11/6/2013 10:15:07 PM , Rating: 2
The big thing is, is the extra resolution worth the battery drain? We'll know what the majority think soon. I honestly think 1080p at 5" is overkill.

This whole thing about "being able to see it" is a totally pointless metric. Does the phone actually do anything more for you? It just seems to be a war of the nearly meaningless specs at this point. It will end eventually.


By Reclaimer77 on 11/6/2013 10:36:54 PM , Rating: 2
Improvements in screen technology efficiency far outstrip the added drain from pushing a few more pixels.

quote:
This whole thing about "being able to see it" is a totally pointless metric. Does the phone actually do anything more for you? It just seems to be a war of the nearly meaningless specs at this point. It will end eventually.


People said the same thing about quad core CPU's for phones. "Nobody needs that, it's crazy, bla bla bla". Now they are standard, and are MORE efficient.


By augiem on 11/7/2013 4:47:54 AM , Rating: 2
Your eye being above average might make your use of these ultra-high-res screens less, not more enjoyable than people with less than average vision, assuming they have myopia and not hyperopia. Someone with a large amount of nearsightedness can see very fine details up close a lot better than people with 20/20 vision because their relaxed focal point is nearer.


RE: 2,560x1,440 in a 5 inch phone?
By Da W on 11/7/2013 8:11:02 AM , Rating: 3
They even talk of 4K on a phone.
Why on earth would i want that?
A Nvidia Titan or an AMD 290X are barely able to push games at that resolution. What kind of GPU do they hope to put in a phone to actually USE their stated resolution?


By haukionkannel on 11/7/2013 2:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
Just put external GPU module to your Smasumg Galaxy6 and enjoy 4K resolution on your phone :-)
Well, actually I think that only text and UI will be drawn in 4K and games will run upscaled in 720p or 1080p...


64-bit
By jamescox on 11/8/2013 4:58:36 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Samsung is prepping 6 Gigabit modules for the mobile DRAM market, an industry first. This will allow smaller 3 GB phone packages (4 chips, instead of 6), or even a 4.5 GB or 6 GB tablet/smartphone packages.


Well, looks like 64-bit will be needed relatively soon. I have to wonder if apple is going to do a sudden jump to larger memory, and obsolete all of the 1 GB or less devices sooner than people would expect. I was surprised that they left the iPhone 5s at 1 GB with samsung moving to 2 to 3 GB now.




That's all great but...
By deltaend on 11/8/2013 10:22:17 AM , Rating: 3
Samsung needs to take a little bit of time and spend it on new battery technologies. While they have one department making the phone more energy efficient, they need another department coming up with a better battery design. Add that to a better antenna design that is able to cut through interference better, and you have a phone that is superior, no matter how low or high the price point is.




LPDDR4?
By purerice on 11/7/2013 10:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
Other than the title, I didn't see anything on LPDDR4. Maybe I missed the timeline in the article/slides.
DDR4 keeps getting delayed and alternative RAM styles keep coming up in articles. It makes me wonder if DDR4 won't just get canned altogether.
I have trouble as it is seeing the value in LPDDR3. It requires 50% more power for hardly any extra performance than LPDDR2. For PCs they make sense because they still use way less power than DDR3 or DDR3L, but for cell phones, the negligible performance boost hardly justifies the loss of battery life.




By knightspawn1138 on 12/3/2013 7:06:14 PM , Rating: 2
3D. A 4K screen with some kind of 3D polarization or 3DS-like gimmick. It might be enough of a high-res solution that it eliminates the eye-strain.




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