Do you even need a Quad HD smartphone screen?
LG Display said on Wednesday that it has developed the world's first QUAD HD AH-IPS LCD panel for smartphones. AH-IPS is short for Advanced High Performance In-Plane Switching, and was introduced by LG Display in 2011. The screen tech provides improved color accuracy, increased resolution and ppi, and greater light transmission for lower power consumption.
"The ultra high resolution technology employed by AH-IPS adds a greater number of pixels than the PPI that can be recognized by the human eye at a typical distance," the company said over two years ago when it introduced a 3.5 inch AH-IPS panel. "This makes it more difficult for the naked eye to distinguish each individual pixel, thus making the image sharper."
According to LG Display, the new QUAD HD version measures a decent 5.5 inches and sports a hefty 2560 x 1440 resolution and 538 pixels per inch. It's the highest resolution and ppi in a smartphone to date, providing four times more pixels than an HD screen at 1280 x 720. The screen will even allow smartphone owners to view web pages as they were intended for the desktop PC, the company said.
"LG Display, which pioneered the high resolution mobile market with introduction of the world's first Full HD smartphone panel in 2012, again opens new possibilities with the successful application of QHD technology," said Dr. Byeong-koo Kim, Vice President and Head of LG Display's IT and Mobile Development Group. "With this breakthrough, LG Display will continue to raise new standards for mobile resolution and lead the mobile display market."
The screen measures only 1.21 mm thin, and 1.2 mm at its bezel when measured in LCD modules. That makes LG Display's panel the world's slimmest and narrowest to date, the company suggests, and 12 percent thinner than LG's 5.2 inch Full HD panel released back in July. The panel is based on Low Temperature Poly-Silicon (LTPS) substrate, and has a brightness of 430 nit, improved transmittance and a larger aperture opening size.
LG Display said that LTPS-based smartphone displays are expected to record 765 million units in shipments next year.
Unfortunately, what LG Display doesn't disclose is what kind of power this high-resolution panel will require. Sharp's IGZO tech manages to increase the resolution by simply displaying the screen as a static image until the user interacts with the device, thus reducing the SoC and battery strain. Pushing all these QHD pixels using LG Display's new panel on a smartphone could eat up more battery than a similar phone using a lower resolution.
Still, as GigaOM points out, why would anyone want to view a full PC version of a Web page within a 5.5 inch screen anyway? Perhaps desktop Web pages should stay on the desktop sporting 13 inch screens above, and let the smartphones and tablets make do with the mobile-optimized versions designed for small screens. Thus, the new 5.5 inch QUAD HD panel seems more like a "because we can" product to taunt competitors more than a "because consumers need it" product.
Are display and phone manufacturers getting out of hand pushing form factors towards tablet-like sizes?