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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 michael2k on 10/1/2012 4:42:49 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, you're clearly confused. Human vision doesn't work the way you describe; screen size is irrelevant, it's distance from the eye that determines how small the pixel can be resolved.

1920x1080 at 24" is only 92dpi; at 92dpi you would need to be about 30" away for it to be "immaterial" the way you expect, and diagonal length is irrelevant. The closer the screen, the higher the pixel density needed.

That's why eye charts use smaller letters to simulate distance.

If you want to believe that 200dpi is the point of diminishing returns for phones, then 92dpi is the point of diminishing returns for desktop displays.

Me, I gladly welcome 3840x2160 24" displays. I can clearly and measurably resolve 200dpi on my desktop and can clearly resolve at least 300dpi on my phone.

You can keep your 92dpi LCD, I expect more.

RE: Pointless
By Motoman on 10/1/2012 5:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, you're clearly confused. Human vision doesn't work the way you describe; screen size is irrelevant, it's distance from the eye that determines how small the pixel can be resolved.

Um, no. Screen size means everything, and the ability for an eye to resolve something is a function of it's size and it's distance. Not just one over the other.

I've asserted that the difference between your 10" and 21" distances isn't the significant factor, and I stand behind that.

Turn the resolution down on your 24" display from 1920x1080 to 1280x800 and tell me that "screen size doesn't matter."

Likewise, turn your 400dpi screen down to 200dpi on your 5" phone and try to tell me it makes any functional difference at all.

You've lost the plot.

RE: Pointless
By michael2k on 10/1/2012 5:29:09 PM , Rating: 2
Are you sure you aren't confused?

Turn the resolution down on your 24" display from 1920x1080 to 1280x800 and tell me that "screen size doesn't matter."

You've just increased the pixel size by 50% (assuming you meant 1920x1200 -> 1280x800). You can't make the screen size smaller, but you can definitely make the pixel size larger, which is exactly what I said:
it's distance from the eye that determines how small the pixel can be resolved

20/20 vision means you can resolve 1/16" at 20 ft, or a pixel at 300dpi at 10".

The difference between 400dpi and 200dpi is approximately the same as moving your phone closer by half (5" to my eye!) I can absolutely see the difference. Are you saying you can't see the difference between a phone held up at 10" and a phone held up at 5"?

Once you bring an iPhone up to 5", you should be able to see the pixels, meaning your point is wrong; there is in fact a functional difference between 200dpi and 400dpi.

RE: Pointless
By Motoman on 10/1/2012 6:41:39 PM , Rating: 2
You've made my point for me.

On a large screen at 21" (to use your specs), DPI is *very* important.

On a phone, your variance of 11" from a 5" screen to a 24" screen isn't nearly as important as the pixel density. You're messing with the wrong variable.

And since no one uses a phone at 5" from their face, what difference does it make if you can see the pixels at that distance? You call that a "functional" difference? Only if you're horrifically short-sighted.

RE: Pointless
By michael2k on 10/1/2012 7:12:05 PM , Rating: 2
Your point would be made if you also said a 24" 4k monitor is pointless being that it is geometrically equivalent.

My point is that the difference between 400 dpi to 200 dpi is as big a change on a 5" screen as 200dpi to 100dpi on a 24" screen.

If you can see the difference on a 24" screen, you can see the difference on a 5" screen.

Apparent screen size, for example, is identical between a 24" screen at 4 feet and a 5" screen at 1 foot. Those are the distances where you can no longer "resolve" a pixel on a 1080p display.

Now while you don't normally hold a phone much farther or closer than 1', you definitely sit closer to your 24" display than 4', which means 1080p is woefully underspecced.

To get a similar "quality of life" out of a 24" display, you would need about a 4k monitor.

Are you going to now argue that you cannot visually appreciate a 4k 24" monitor? Because that is the "equivalent" geometry to a 5" 1080p screen which you say is pointless.

Me, as I've directly measured, can clearly see the pixels on a bog standard 1920x1200 24" display and can also clearly appreciate a 3840 x 2160 4k resolution.

RE: Pointless
By TakinYourPoints on 10/1/2012 7:28:07 PM , Rating: 2
Holy crap you're an idiot

RE: Pointless
By Solandri on 10/1/2012 8:29:41 PM , Rating: 2
Screen size is irrelevant. What's important is the angular separation between pixels. This is purely a function of DPI and distance from the eye to the screen. Screen size never factors into it.

150-200 DPI is a good target for screens viewed from about 2-3 feet away. 20/20 vision is the ability to distinguish two lines one arc-minute apart, or half an arc-minute per pixel (two black lines need a white line in between). So viewed at 36" the smallest distinguishable pixel is:

36" * tan(1/120 degrees) = 0.005236 inches, or 190.9 DPI. Any higher DPI than this is pointless at 36" inches - you can't see the difference with 20/20 vision.

If you squint at your phone from 12 inches away, this increases to 573 DPI. If you sit at a table with your big monitor 4 feet away, this drops to 143 DPI. Do note that this is for the very threshold of seeing - as in have to stare at it for a while to say for sure there are two lines and not one. In practical terms, moderately lower DPI is sufficient.

Along the same token, a TV viewed from 10 feet away only needs 57 DPI for 20/20 vision. For 1080p, that's a 39" screen. Similarly, a 4k screen (4096x2160) viewed from 10 feet would need to be 81" diagonal for you to just barely benefit from the resolution. For this reason I'm very skeptical of the market for 4k displays outside of theaters, work monitors, and for videophiles creating a cult over imperceptible improvements similar to audiophiles.

RE: Pointless
By TakinYourPoints on 10/1/2012 8:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
^^^ Exactly this. As many people here have been saying, the need for higher pixel density is partly the product of viewing distance.

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