Samsung Working on an 11K Resolution Display for Mobile


If you thought the Galaxy was sharp, just wait. Samsung recently partnered with the South Korean government and 13 companies from all over the world to develop an 11k resolution display. Almost three times sharper than the clearest commercially available screen currently available, this announcement gives Samsung a huge advantage over it’s competitors, who have yet to even announce the development of an 8k screen.

Resolution refers to the number of pixels on a monitor screen; the more pixels in a display, the clearer the image. To give you an idea of what makes 11k resolution so special, take a look at the following:

  • 720p resolution= 1,280 X 720 pixels
  • 1080p resolution (generally accepted industry standard)= 1,920 X 1,080 pixels
  • 4K resolution (currently only available on TVs)= 3,840 × 2,160 pixels
  • 8k resolution (still in development) = 7,680 × 4,320 pixels
  • 11k resolution= 11,264 х 6,336 pixels

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that 11,264 is a lot more than 7,680, which is why Samsung’s announcement is so shocking; fitting that many pixels on a screen is difficult to imagine. No one knows what an 11k display will look like; the clarity could even approach that of a real life object.

It’s easier to implement new technology on larger devices, which is why TVs always get higher resolution screens before tablets and smartphones. This slower development time means that you can expect the resolution of most mobile devices to be just under the industry standard. Right now, the average TV is 1080p and most mobile devices have 720p screen resolutions. The Samsung Galaxy S6 operates at higher resolutions(2,560 X 1,440), but this is the exception rather than the rule; the iPhone 6, one of the world’s most popular phones, operates has a 1,242 X 2,208 display.

Don’t count your pixels before they’re developed; there are still a couple of things to consider about 11k displays. While it is an unequivocal fact that an 11k screen produces a clearer picture, you might not notice the difference; some studies show that the human eye can’t differentiate between 720p and 1080p, much less notice a difference between 8k and 11k. There has to be a point where the amount of pixels present wont matter, because your brain won’t be able to process their existence.

Samsung is quick to point out that while the human eye may not be able to see the difference in clarity, 11k devices may produce a 3D effect (either on its own or by adding a few key components). This could mean that for the first time, we will be able to see clear, three-dimensional images without the help of glasses. While this is exciting, no one knows what the effect of prolonged exposure to 3D images will have on eye health. Nintendo’s 3DS, which produces a 3D image without the aid of glasses, has issued warnings that children under the age of 6 should not use the device.

The 3DS works differently than Samsung’s proposed 11k device-users must hold the device at a certain angle to view it in 3D and the 3D images are not nearly as clear 2D ones, but no one will know how 11k will effect children (or adults) until it is fully developed.

Battery life is also a concern. It takes a lot of power to produce a high resolution image, which can quickly drain your mobile device’s battery. At 16.5 hours of standby time, the S6 is one of the most battery efficient phones, but when you take into account activities that actually use the screen (i.e. surfing the internet or checking email), battery life drops dramatically. Either Samsung is planning on developing new battery technology by the time 11k mobile is released or they are going to have to include spare batteries with every device.

There is also the question of what being “available” means. Samsung is planning to reveal a prototype 11k machine at the 2018 Olympics in their home country of South Korea, however one can assume that this will be a TV rather than a mobile device. It is probable 11k TVs won’t be commercially available until 2019 at the earliest, though most experts expect them to be in stores by the end of 2020.

If mobile trends continue, this means that mobile devices won’t get 11k resolutions until at least 2022. Perhaps Samsung should have said, “eventually available on mobile devices,” although that doesn’t sound as good in headlines. Samsung is great at developing proprietary hardware light years ahead of competitors (see the S6’s stunning resolution), so the idea of a simultaneous 11k TV and mobile release isn’t impossible; it’s just unlikely.

Still, the idea of a 3D 11k phone sounds exciting; who doesn’t want to run around talking to a 3D image like Obi-Wan Kenobi? Right now it sounds too much for a phone to handle,but as we have seen in recent years, today’s impossible quickly becomes tomorrow’s probable.

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