There is a big technological race going on in the Smartphone world at present, and its a race to see who can increase display resolution the most. Apple kicked things off by introducing their retina display, which had a then revolutionary 326 PPI pixel density. Once that came out on the iPhone 4, the display race was off. The latest technology to enter into the race is the Super LCD3 screens from Sharp.
Sharp began production of the Super LCD3 screens in September of last year, and we’re starting to see these on devices like the recently launched HTC One.
What’s special about Super LCD3?
The breakthrough feature of the Super LCD3 spec is that it allows for a stunning 1920 x 1080 resolution. This could mean stunning displays on phones, even if manufacturers continue this phablet obsession. Super LCD3 has some other features as well.
- There are fewer layers between the glass and the screen, which allows manufacturers to make thinner phones or dedicate more room to the battery.
- It also claims to have something called “higher electron mobility” which aims to increase responsiveness.
It is likely that the most common size we’ll see with this technology is 5 inches. The reason for this is twofold. First, device makers are obsessed with big phones (it might just be what consumers want, but we’ll see). Second, they will have to have bigger chassis to make room for the battery that will be necessary to maintain even a modicum of battery life.
The big disadvantage to putting this many pixels into a device is that it won’t have great battery life and a lot of the amazing processor power from chips like the Snapdragon 800 will be used to push pixels instead of making the device run smoother.
Technology Outpacing itself
Screen technology is being advanced much faster than battery technology, which means we aren’t seeing the gains in power we need to ensure great battery life in these devices that have the same resolution as a television set. If this trend continues, either we will have to settle for shorter battery life, or manufacturers will have to make their phones thicker to put bigger batteries in. Which of those two paths do you think we’ll go down? I’m betting on the former.
What’s the difference between Super LCD3 and AMOLED?
The display technology that has taken the world by storm over the last couple of years is AMOLED and Super-AMOLED. AMOLED doesn’t fair well in the sunlight, but has better battery conservation than that of Super LCD3. It also hasn’t been used for a 1080p display yet, so it’ll be interesting to see how those come out.
The display resolution race is on. Now if only we could get a battery race going alongside it, we’d all be set. The real question here is how densely packed do pixels actually need to be on a smartphones screen?
Apple claimed that it’s 960 x 640 Retina display was all that was needed to avoid seeing pixels. The reason why resolution has had to increase so much is because device screen sizes have gotten a lot bigger than the iPhone 4’s Retina Display.
In order to continue “winning” both the screen size and resolution races, manufacturers have had to increase the resolution in proportion to the screen size, which in turn has meant poorer and poorer battery life. The introduction of Super LCD3 is just another checkpoint in these races.
Written By Darren Wall aka prepay
What do you think? Has the pixel and screen size race made smartphones better or worse? Talk back in the comments below!