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New display will vie with LG, Samsung, and others for dominance

While Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930currently dominates the thriving smartphone commodity display market, a number of Asian rivals are aiming to unseat the South Korean giant.  Among them is Japan's Sharp Corp. (TYO:6753).

Sharp announced this week that it would be mass-producing a monstrous 443 ppi (pixels-per-inch) 1920x1080 pixel smartphone screen.  The 5-inch screen could appear in devices as early as the holiday season, but will likely show up in greater quantities next year.  The new display features a brand new pixel technology dubbed CG-Silicon, which Sharp promises brings smartphone displays in line with their full-size counterparts.  Sharp's display likely makes use of the company's new "Igzo" power efficient thin-display tech, as well.

The release marks the latest round in a game of brinksmanship by Japan and South Korea's top display makers.  Early this year South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. (KSC:066570) announced production of a similar 5-inch 440 ppi unit, which will likely launch in a similar window.  LG calls its display technology "Retina" displays.

Sharp Aquos
Sharp is thinking small with its latest 5-inch 1080 display. [Image Source: IntoMobile]

Sharp is reportedly looking to displace LG in Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) coveted iPhone, using a slightly smaller display unit.  The company announced in August that it would be shipping displays for the iPhone 5 en masse.  LG announced similar shipments, indicating that Apple would split its demand between the two manufacturers.

A third player is Japan's Toshiba Corp. (TYO:6502), which recently demoed a 498 ppi 6-inch display.  Toshiba's display could be the most impressive of the bunch -- unfortunately it's not yet quite ready for the market.  

Sources: Sharp, UnWired View

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RE: Pointless
By FaceMaster on 10/1/2012 11:41:34 AM , Rating: 2
I always assumed it was so that you could double the size of everything and have much smoother text. The jump had to be made some time between now and that perfect vision of the future that we all have in our mind. Why not make the jump and encourage them to make faster hardware to keep up? It's about time these benefits lead to 4K screens on PCs.

RE: Pointless
By Flunk on 10/1/2012 11:51:15 AM , Rating: 2
Is a 15" 4k screen even practical? Would we be able to see a difference? Does anyone care? (it seems not seeing as low res 1360 x 768 screens are apparently the norm on notebooks).

I'm all for improved technology but it seems like we're just about to hit the wall on display technology (just like we did with sound) where people just stop caring. If you can make a sound system that can produce 99% of the range of possible sounds for $2 and one that produces 99.5% of the range of possible sounds costs $150, which will people buy? The answer to that has already been decided.

RE: Pointless
By Shadowself on 10/1/2012 12:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
So that must be why there is a very thriving market for 7.1 sound as well as 5.1 sound. Also it must be why some theatres have up through 22.2 systems. Even cable and satellite systems are now advertising delivery at 5.1 sound. (Too bad its already been decided in favor of cheap TVs that can, at best, do stereo sound.)

It also must be why there is a thriving market for digital music at up through 192k samples per second. (Too bad that CD is just 44.1k samples per second and compressed MP3s are even worse.)

RE: Pointless
By FaceMaster on 10/1/2012 3:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't that 44100 Hz and about 1400 Kbps with CDs?

RE: Pointless
By SPOOFE on 10/1/2012 3:29:46 PM , Rating: 3
Also it must be why some theatres have up through 22.2 systems.

I don't think you have much of a point; theaters are huge rooms that most people don't have. And your point about 7.1 vs. 5.1? If the former were such a huge difference, wouldn't it have displaced the latter?

I think the "good enough" argument holds a lot of water. Only those with the sharpest ears, clearest eyes, and most critically discerning brains can derive anything interesting from extreme examples of sense-appealing technology. Most ultra-expensive technology is sold to people that want to spend a lot of money on something that a Commoner can't buy.

RE: Pointless
By getho on 10/1/2012 7:24:25 PM , Rating: 3
The argument you're trying to rebut is valid

RE: Pointless
By BZDTemp on 10/1/2012 12:32:28 PM , Rating: 2
I for one do not see the walls you're talking about.

For sure many are fine with what they have but the same could be said when people had monochrome monitors with maybe 80x25 text capability.

Be it monitor resolution, sound quality, the meat in burgers or the fabric used in your bed sheets there is always differences in quality and performance. Some may be perfectly happy with listening to a music box where you can make out the rhythm and lyrics while others want a setup that let's them hear all the details of the recording.

RE: Pointless
By geddarkstorm on 10/1/2012 12:58:17 PM , Rating: 3
We heard similar arguments at the advent of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, and they were wrong then. People do indeed care.

If you've used a high pixel density screen you'll understand why people like them so much, and why there is a push. Things like aliasing are no longer as much of an issue, and the clarity of text is vastly improved. Color and hue gradients also can get improved.

I don't see how we could go past, say, 4k though. Once you're in the 330+ ppi, you may start hitting diminishing returns, but we aren't even near that in laptop/monitor displays (think about printers which use 500-1,000 dpi; displays aren't anywhere near our print media in terms of that sort of quality).

Finally, the push for better resolutions and the hardware to support them trickles down to those lower cost pieces of equipment too. Ten years ago you couldn't buy a speaker system for $2 that would produce 99% of the sound range. That has only become possible because people pushed the bounds and customers bought more expensive 99% equipment, until technology advanced that those old top of the lines became the standard for everyone.

Same happens here with display tech. So I say bring it on! We need it. Desktop/laptop monitor tech is woefully lacking and behind tablet/phones, but hopefully the push going on in that market will spill over to our desktop/laptops in short order (as has indeed begun with that Macbook retina display).

RE: Pointless
By GTVic on 10/1/2012 2:46:29 PM , Rating: 2
Printers are a bit different. You need a higher starting resolution because a printer achieves colour variation by decreasing the number of 'pixels'.

For example, if you want 50% grey you would space your black toner particles twice as far apart which inherently reduces your resolution.

This is why an 8 colour inkjet plotter with extra lt.cyan, lt.magenta, lt.grey and dk.grey ink cartridges produces prints that are noticeably improved over a typical 4 colour printer.

From a CAD perspective, when there is a display that can render say a 1mm line and a 1.1mm or 1.2mm wide line at any angle without any stair stepping and without using anti-aliasing and the viewer can visibly see the change in width then I would say the DPI is high enough. 443 dpi (17.5 dpm - dots per mm) is close but you may need up to double that, somewhere between 20-30 dpm I think would do.

RE: Pointless
By SPOOFE on 10/1/2012 3:32:04 PM , Rating: 2
We heard similar arguments at the advent of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, and they were wrong then. People do indeed care.

That's why Blu-Rays are outselling DVD's 3-to-1, right? Right? Oh wait....

RE: Pointless
By Solandri on 10/1/2012 6:28:33 PM , Rating: 2
For blu-ray players, I think it's more the fact that they can play DVDs but don't cost much more than DVD players.

Two of the network TV stations in Los Angeles broadcast in 720p. The other two broadcast in 1080i, which most TVs scan to make equivalent to 1080p. 100% of people I've asked have been unable to correctly say which stations use 720p and which use 1080i. People don't care.

RE: Pointless
By FaceMaster on 10/1/2012 3:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
Is a 15" 4k screen even practical? Would we be able to see a difference? Does anyone care? (it seems not seeing as low res 1360 x 768 screens are apparently the norm on notebooks).

Hmm, I don't see how it could benefit 40" screens either! Oh wait, yes I do. Your argument is invalid.

RE: Pointless
By SPOOFE on 10/1/2012 3:34:03 PM , Rating: 1
Benefit? Sure it can. Benefit in a way that actually nets a noticeable increase in sales any time soon? Doubtful. Your argument is invali-i-i-id, durrrrrr!!

RE: Pointless
By michael2k on 10/1/2012 4:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
15" 4K isn't all that useful, but 27" 4K is.

RE: Pointless
By macca007 on 10/2/2012 3:01:43 AM , Rating: 2
hell yes please, Make it 120hz as well and cost under $1500 and I am sold! I know it will happen in a few years but when do we want it NOW! ;)

RE: Pointless
By zephyrprime on 10/2/2012 11:33:00 AM , Rating: 2
We haven't reached the wall yet but we probably will within 10 years time. The only reason it will even take so long is because people care little, not because the technology can't do it. The limit is the resolution of the human eyeball. Apple is correct in targeting display DPI at the natural capabilities of the retina. However, their "retina" displays need to about double in resolution before we actually hit the limit (sampling should be double the frequency to have not noticeable artifacts).

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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