Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Smartphone Tech in 2013: HD War

With the year ending in a week, and the Consumer Electronics Show and the Mobile World Congress coming in the next two months, it is a good time to reflect on what is coming in the next few months. The main consideration is to reflect whether it is a good time to buy your next mobile device or whether you may want to hold on a bit longer and wait for the next generation of mobile devices. 

Sharps 5-inch 1080p smartphone

One of the biggest innovations you will see coming to smartphones in 2013 is sharper screen resolutions. Smartphones with 1080p resolutions already exist. HTC is already selling its Droid DNA in the US, Oppo is already selling its Find 5 in China and Sharp is selling its Aquous Phone SH920W in Russia. What all these three phones have in common is a 5-inch 1080p (1080 x 1920) display. Rumors abound about the ZTE Z573 and the Sony Xperia Z which, are all but confirmed, as having 5-inch 1080p displays. It wont be long before we will start seeing Full HD smartphones from Samsung and  LG. The only real question is when and what will be the first 1080p smartphone to hit Philippine shores. With Samsung lording over the Android smartphone market, the other players will likely release their offerings early to head of the Samsung Galaxy S IV.

This would also mean that you will see HD (720p - 720 x 1280) displays migrating to the mid-level smartphones. qHD (540 x 960) displays are already available in several entry level smartphones today. 
By the middle of 2013, you can expect to see 7-inch tablets migrate to 1080p displays, and 720p displays will migrate to lower cost tablets.

As for the 10-inch tablets, the Google Nexus 10 is already at 2560 x 1600, so I expect to see more of that in larger Android tablets. 

Apple will follow with it own non-standard high resolution aspect ratios. The iPad mini is already being rumored to be released in a 2048 x 1536 version and we might even see the next iPhone jump to 2272 x 1280. Apple has fewer resolutions to select since the iOS does not scale to multiple resolutions.

I am not sure how much these ultra sharp displays will improve the user experience, but if you want them, you won't have long to wait. The good thing, is at some point the resolutions will stop bumping up. It really does not make much sense to keep pushing up display resolutions beyond 1080p. So your 2013 purchase is not likely feel like the old model too soon.

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