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Here Comes A Retina Killer

Here Comes A Retina Killer

by Brad MerrillJanuary 23, 2013

Recent reports on the coming Samsung Galaxy S IV suggest that the flagship device will feature a 4.99-inch 440ppi Full HD Super AMOLED display. It’s a mouthful, but in short, it means that Samsung will soon be delivering its best ever display on a smartphone.

A recent report from DigiTimes claims that Samsung Display is actually developing new pixel layouts on their smaller AMOLED panels.

The idea is that the new display panels will use hexagonal and diamond-shaped pixel layouts, as opposed to the standard squares, to pack more pixels into the display.

It has been said that 440ppi is about as dense as you can get with a standard side-by-side pixel layout on a comfortably sized screen. But, according to the report, the new layout will allow Samsung to stretch smaller screens beyond the 440ppi limit, revving up competition in the smartphone display game.

Pixel density is just as important to a display as the technology inside it, as a high ppi is easier on the eyes and offers more high-resolution content. The average human eye can’t discern past ~300ppi, depending on visual acuity and the viewer’s distance from the image.

The iPhone 4 was the first phone to break that barrier with the Retina display, a 326ppi LCD screen. Since then, manufacturers have been hard at work trying to pack more pixels into their displays, sometimes making larger displays to do so. However, making larger displays automatically lowers the pixel density—it’s a vicious cycle.

The reported 440ppi Galaxy S IV goes far beyond the barrier, but it’s not alone. Sony’s Xperia Z and HTC’s Droid DNA have  5-inch 440ppi displays, and have already been announced.

Much like the competition for the biggest display, the fight to pack the most pixels into a display is getting out of hand. Most consumers, myself included, won’t be able to tell a difference because of the limitations of our own eyes. The battle will continue, nevertheless, and this is something companies like Apple will need to take notice of.

About The Author
Brad Merrill
Brad Merrill is the founder and former editor of VentureBreak.