So, are you ready for 4K smartphone screens? Qualcomm believes you should be and here's why

So, are you ready for 4K smartphone screens? Qualcomm believes you should be and here's why
Is 4K way too much for smartphone screens? Most would say so – a large part of the consumer base does not even deem QHD (2560 x 1440) as a necessity, many finding it hard to discern a noticeable image sharpness increase, while techies who love to spend more time on their mobile device often argue that they prefer the now standard 1080p resolution and longer battery life, instead of having their batteries be sucked up by a bucketload of extra pixels.

Still, it seems that 4K is coming and it may be a mainstream thing, too, instead of an extravagant feature for a limited amount of phones. Sure, when we first heard about Sharp readying up a 4K phone display panel, that didn't mean that the rest of the industry will be so quick to follow. But now, Qualcomm has stepped up to back the 4K movement, and claims that it firmly believes that Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160) will be the pixel count of choice for 2015's premium smartphones.

But what is Qualcomm's reasoning? Well, first, the company does not entirely agree with the "Retina Display" concept, in a sense that it believes that the human eye can actually discern pixels, at a 10-inch distance, with densities much higher than 300 PPI – up to 573, to be exact. Then, there is "vernier acuity" – the human brain's ability to distinguish the relative alignment of two line segments. Vernier acuity allows the mind to perceive an offset between two line segments, even if said offset is smaller than a single retina photoreceptor. In other words, as screens get more pixels, we won't be able to "see" the images getting sharper and more detailed, but should "feel" them to look better. Furthermore, UHD may be overkill on a 5” screen, giving it a staggering 881 PPI, however, on a 10” tablet, it will result in 440 PPI, which, while still pretty high, isn't something we are not used to seeing on today's QHD smartphones.

Aside from the screens, Qualcomm also believes that smartphones need to have a natural 4K resolution for yet another reason – interconnectedness with high-quality TVs and monitors. Since 4K video capture on smartphone cameras is now a thing, and its availability is only expected to increase, it's natural to expect that, in the near future, a lot of user-generated media will be in UHD. This will, in turn, drive the adoption of 4K for all types of screens to slowly take over the consumer device ecosystem, and it would only make sense to not exclude the smartphones from said ecosystem, and give them the same resolution screens.

At least, that's what Qualcomm's reasoning is. What's your take on that?

source: Qualcomm

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51 Comments

1. sipha

Posts: 440; Member since: May 12, 2012

I am..

11. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Make it affordable and I'm in.

26. junaidahmed

Posts: 103; Member since: Sep 04, 2014

groot

27. ahomad

Posts: 175; Member since: May 15, 2012

Well they need to improve their GPU before asking for more pixles, Their GPU used to be one of the best now it is one of the worst, Apple, Tegra and Samsung (the main competitors) have much better GPUs. if we took Tegra as an example, it was far behind adreno till last year where they almost caught up and this year's K1 is well ahead of Adreno 420 even though it was released earlier.

2. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Well I honestly don't think 4k a necessary. I still prefer 1080p. I don't want Battery,CPU,GPU sucking display.(but that's just me).

5. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

But it is nice for big tablets. May be 10" and above.

9. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I want 4K or 5K for my monitor, TV, laptop/hybrid, and VR But I'm happy with 2K(FHD or QHD) for my phone

37. dimas

Posts: 3380; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Same here. I don't enjoy watching movies in mobile phones so high definition displays should be left to home entertainment and workstations.

22. jack123

Posts: 278; Member since: Jan 07, 2013

Come on, he has to say positive about 4k, and if any wrong speaking his butt will be on fire just like the guy that said about 64 bit cpu on mobile is a gimmick.

28. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

What is the point of 4k screen when there aren't too many content to stream it. Beside, to stream 4k content, you'll need about steady of 15mbps down speed which that would force you to be on wifi or you'll need a good carrier speed with almost unlimited plan. Otherwise, it will eat up your data plan. Everyone wants better screen resolution, but when you look at a 5"-6" screen at the distance less than two feet.... you are not going to notice too much. However, I am all for 2k/4k on larger tablets.

33. Dee79

Posts: 307; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Comments like yours have become boring since they said they are gonna bring 1080p to the table. Moving on.... Yup im definitely ready, being it on!!!

3. skyline88

Posts: 698; Member since: Jul 15, 2013

for 7" - 12" tablets, yes. for smartphones, 1080p is more than enough.

7. trung_ero

Posts: 38; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Yeah I agree with you! 1080p is enough for a smartphone

15. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Yeah 1080p is enough for a 5 inch phone but OEMs wont listen anyway. They would up their screens and race for battery life still pursues.

4. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

And in my opinion Qualcomm should up their game in CPU,GPU. I heard many reports/news in which were snapdragon 805 drops fps in some graphics intensive games.

12. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yep the A8X & K1 destroy the 805 for gaming The 810 will catch up with the A8X & K1 But then the A9X & M1 will be released soon after the 810

21. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

The S805s GPU isn't far behind the A8s GPU but they do need to step it up.

52. alaw.14

Posts: 426; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

Yea it isnt far behind on a 1440p screen. On a 1080p screen it should be equal or even slightly surpass it. The a8=166 gflops, adreno 420=173 gflops, mali t760 mp6=203 gflops, a8x=230 gflops, tegra k1=324 gflops.

6. cezarmed2

Posts: 71; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

4K makes sense for 10 inch tablets or higher,not for 5 inch phones. You can't possibly see a pixel on 400 ppi. 4k resolution for phones comes only with disadvantages: it will cost more, it will drain your battery faster and it will need better CPU which also cost more and surprise : it will be produce by Qualcom. My honest opinion.

8. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

And 4K video capture for viewing on tv sets necessitates 4K displays on smartphones... why?

10. karim77

Posts: 70; Member since: Dec 10, 2012

Why?!!!!!!! This is just plain ridiculous, 1080 was enough and 2k is more than enough !!!!!

13. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

1080p is 2K as well (2K is any res with about 2000 horizontal pixels)

14. Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

Even though I don't think it's a big deal, I can see pixels on just about every phone, sub QHD resolution from a normal viewing distance but I have very sharp eyesight. At the same time, it isn't much of a bother because my phone has a qHD screen and that's more than enough pixels considering I don't use my phone LMAO. But in all honesty, if you do more reading than video watchng on phones. higher resolution screens make sense, but 1080p is more than enough, overall.

41. strudelz100

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Keep looking at your screen all day and your eyesight will be sh*t by 30.

16. Andrewtst

Posts: 696; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Tablet shall be in 4K. For phone which 2K is more than enough.

17. jopancy

Posts: 78; Member since: Apr 25, 2012

If only they could improve battery life. Why can't they make phones that last 5 days on a single charge? Phhhhhhhh!!

18. Bozzor

Posts: 248; Member since: May 02, 2012

4K is technically possible soon, but if the price we pay is crappy battery life (and lets face it,. even at 1080p, so many phones barely last a day), then maybe we may need to wait a little longer before efficiencies in screens, CPU and greater energy density in battery makes the balance more sensible.

19. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Overkills. The UHD kills battery life and wastes resources. I think that was why the Xperia Z3 had such a great battery life and maintain such a thin profile. Not to say that Sony's battery technology isn't top notch. Unlike the LG G3, Note 4, and Droid turbo(just to name a few, I know theres more), the Z3 has a 1080p screen instead of QHD. I think this is what allowed its battery life to blow away the competition. Now yes the Droid Turbo has a longer battery life but look how thick the phone is and how big the battery is.. A 3900 mAh battery vs a 3100 mAh battery. UHD is just going to be an even bigger resource drain.

31. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

And if you look at the GPU side of things, the Snapdragon 805/Adreno 420 should crush the 801/Adreno 330, but instead it's just keeping up with the extra pixels. So is this what we're setting ourselves up for? Keeping framerates at 20 fps and just increasing the resolution? That's not how PC gaming got where it is today.

40. strudelz100

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

The idea is to make sure the device is NOT future proof.

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