updated 05:50 pm EDT, Thu May 12, 2011
Samsung shows Retina Display-like tablet LCD
Samsung and its frequent partner Nouvoyance said on Thursday they would show an ultra-sharp LCD optimized for tablets. The 10.1-inch, PenTile RGBW-based (red, green, blue, white) screen reaches an unprecedented resolution of 2560x1600. At 300 pixels per inch, the panel's sharpness is double the 1280x800 on most early Android 3 tablets and 2.25 times sharper than the 132PPI of an iPad 2 screen.
PenTile's ability to 'share' color pixels, instead of having separate pixels in stripes, still gives it performance at least as good as a much lower-resolution LCD, the two said. The panel can put out 300cd/m2 of brightness but uses up to 40 percent less power. Outdoors, the panel can kick up to 600cd/m2. Color accuracy is also as good as better mobile screens at 72 percent of the NTSC color range; most tablet screens hit 55 percent.
Samsung anticipated making the screen available to use for shipping products before the end of 2011. Companies still usually have to integrate the hardware and might not have shipping tablets until early 2012. Any tablet shipping with the hardware may need a quad-core processor, quad-core graphics, or both to smoothly drive the extra resolution, though Qualcomm, and graphics core makers like Imagination Technologies are expected to come through at the same time.
The development is most likely to lead to a new version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 given its manufacturer, but Samsung's willingness to manufacture displays on contract could lead to at least other Android tablet makers signing onboard. Apple uses Samsung for iPad 2 displays but would have to get Samsung to cut the display down to 2048x1536 if it were to double its existing pixel density.
Regardless of manufacturer, the LCD should be the first to offer an effect similar to Apple's Retina Display at tablet sizes, creating a "pixel-free" image better for 1080p video, photos, and text.