Samsung demos first high-resolution 2.6" display for mobile devices

Seoul - If a two" display isn't enough for the applications you want to run on your cell phone, Samsung is preparing a new solution which has the potential to initiate a new generation of high-resolution mobile software: Instead of the typical 176 by 220 pixel screen, Samsung's 2.6" display offers full VGA resolution.

Samsung's display is based on amorphous silicon technology (a-Si) and allows the company to achieve 300 ppi resolution - which translates into 640 x 480 pixels on the demonstrated 2.6" screen. As comparison, typical 42" LCD-TVs currently achieve about 45 ppi, Apple's recently announced Cinema TFT displays offer between 96.5 to 100 ppi. High-end displays such as the $7200 Viewsonic VP2290b (22") slightly top 200 ppi.

Amorphous silicon (a-Si) and polycrystalline silicon (polysilicon or p-Si) are the two main silicon technologies used in the thin film transistors for LCDs. Low-temperature polysilicon can achieve a high degree of integration, making it the method of choice when producing panels that require high resolution.

Samsung claims that the a-Si display will enable cell phones to be used as TVs and for presentation purposes. "This superior technology will be initially targeted for PDA phones and other top-end mobile phones that require high image quality," said Samsung said Vice President Kim Hyung Guel of the Mobile Display Business Team.

The display demonstrated is a transflective model with 200:1 contrast ratio and 150cd/m2 brightness. According to Samsung, it provides sharp images even when exposed to bright summer sunshine. Mass production on existing lines is scheduled to begin in December of this year, giving the company a competitive edge in terms of production cost and supply capability. Samsung will eventually expand the a-Si technology to "smart phones" and mobile phones equipped for digital multimedia broadcasting. Samsung did not mention prices of the displays.

The high-resolution display could have a major impact on the application market since tiny displays with grainy resolution so far limit cell phones rather to content-viewing than content creation. While there is ample performance available, such as Intel's 625 MHz XScale processors, the industry currently runs against a barrier which is set by the small form factor of cell phones and battery life. If widely available, VGA resolution will open the doors to new business applications such as mobile presentations as well as a gaming experience - which is set to take a new start with the deployment of 3G networks.

Samsung did not say, if the technology is also considered for other LCD formats.