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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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I thought we already had Retina?
By Varun on 10/1/2012 12:38:07 PM , Rating: 2
So if we believe Apple, 300ppi is enough for a "retina" display where you can't distinguish individual pixels. If that's the case, why do we need 440 ppi? This will just drain the battery even more!

Why can't we get 1920x1080 on 15" laptops instead of smartphones? Seems like it would be of more use there.

By ritualm on 10/1/2012 12:55:49 PM , Rating: 2
More pixels = more working space for content creation = higher productivity. More pixels and not using the 16:9 aspect ratio (the standard for content consumption nowadays) is more rarefied.

Some datacenter admins can see individual text that are maybe 5-10 pixels high, with over 20 *nix server consoles running, on one of those IBM 3840 x 2400 monitors.

RE: I thought we already had Retina?
By anactoraaron on 10/1/2012 5:17:55 PM , Rating: 2
If that's the case, why do we need 440 ppi? This will just drain the battery even more!

I've always been under the assumption that display resolution has a very minimal impact on battery life. What matters most is display size and lighting the display with the latter being the primary reason for battery drain.

By someguy123 on 10/1/2012 8:39:05 PM , Rating: 2
It becomes a drain depending on what you need to draw on screen. It's not that huge with basic UI elements but once you start animating or running apps at native resolution you start bringing that SoC into play.

By retrospooty on 10/1/2012 5:18:27 PM , Rating: 2
"Why can't we get 1920x1080 on 15" laptops instead of smartphones? "

We have had that on laptops for years. I am typing this post on one right now. It's my work laptop, a Dell Latitude 6520 with 1920x1080 res. Many other makes and models have this too. Lately, even some 13 inch laptops have it.

But, agreed, it is overkill for a phone. I wouldnt mind seeing a Galaxy Note3 with 1440x900 though =)

RE: I thought we already had Retina?
By michael2k on 10/1/2012 5:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
We do have 1920x1200 on 15" laptops.

Heck, we can get a 2880x1800 now on a 15" laptop.

By TakinYourPoints on 10/2/2012 1:10:27 AM , Rating: 2
We do have 1920x1200 on 15" laptops.

Heck, we can get a 2880x1800 now on a 15" laptop.

The important thing now is getting operating systems and applications to properly support higher DPI on the desktop. The only reason the retina Macbook Pro works at 2880x1800 is because proper scaling (increased font resolution without shrinking anything) is implemented. Even then, it only works the same way that the iPhone and iPad did, which is to directly quadruple the prior default resolution (in this case 1440x900). The rMBP can also emulate other resolutions like 1920x1200 but you run into the same issues where text and UI graphics are smaller than they would ideally be.

Windows still has to address this if higher DPI is going to take off on the desktop and laptop. Setting 125% or 200% scaling doesn't really cut it since it throws UI proportions and font rendering off:

So yeah, 1920x1080 exists on laptops but man is the execution bad right now.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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