pixel density Stories August 8, 2015

With Samsung pulling out of IFA this year and opting for hosting its own event, you may be left wondering if there’s anything worth looking forward to at this year’s tech show in Berlin. Thankfully, it looks as though Huawei is preparing to show off one of its own new devices. Two leaks have shown up on Twitter today, one press render from Evan Blass and another picture of a pre-release device running AnTuTu benchmark tests from Steve Hemmerstoffer.

According to Evan Blass, better known as @evleaks, the device is going to be announced on September 2nd, at an event during IFA. Although he doesn’t know what the device’s name will be, he does state that it will feature ‘Force Touch’. If true, this will make it one of the first smartphones announced with a built in sensor to detect pressure on the touchscreen. Of course, Apple is expected to implement the technology in to its upcoming smartphones, but Cupertino isn’t likely to announce anything new until September 9.

Add that to the images of what is almost certainly a prototype, or pre-release test unit, and we start to get a clearer picture of the device. Looking at the information on screen from the benchmark tests suggests we’ll see a 1080p display, with an octa-core 64-bit processor. If you were to look at design alone, you might think this is perhaps the next generation Huawei Ascend Mate device. However, look closely and you’ll realize that can’t be the case.

You’ll also see that it has a 13MP camera and runs Android 5.1.1. But what’s really interesting to me is the claimed DPI count (better known as PPI or pixels per inch). The benchmark states that it has a pixel density of 480ppi. If so, using a pixel density calculator, it can’t possibly be a follow-up to the 6-inch Mate7. 1080×1920 over 6-inches is 367ppi. So this could perhaps be the mini version of Huawei’s Ascend Mate 7, with a screen measuring 4.6-inches diagonally. That’s not forgetting, the Mate 7 was only announced in March this year.

Of course, this is all just speculation for now. We’ll find out all about this device once it has been announced. It’ll be intriguing to see where in the market this supposed device will sit alongside the Huawei P8 and P8 Lite and if it’ll be restricted to just specific markets, or available globally. It’s unlikely that this is the long-rumored Huawei Nexus phone, if it is being announced at IFA.

pixel density Stories August 21, 2013

Pixel density race starts to get silly as LG smartphone display hits 538ppi

We may all be eagerly awaiting affordable 4k displays for our computers and TVs, but things are starting to get just a little silly in the race for ever higher resolutions in small-screen devices. LG has just announced a 5.5-inch screen with a 2560×1440 resolution, giving it a pixel density of 538ppi.

It’s an impressive technological achievement, but the question we have to ask is: why? Once you get much beyond 300ppi, pixels essentially become invisible at any sane viewing distance. 538ppi is over-kill. Of course, one could ask ‘Why not?’, but there’s a simple answer in mobile devices: both the display itself, and the beefier graphics processor needed to drive it, consume power. Pointless resolution equals pointless reduction in battery-life.

The sad thing is that non-tech-savvy consumers will likely lap it up. Bigger numbers are better, right? It’s the same phenomenon we’ve seen with cameraphones, with manufacturers boasting higher and higher megapixel numbers when any photographer will tell you that cramming masses of pixels into a tiny sensor actually results in worse image quality, especially in terms of low-light performance. It’s why DSLRs have much larger sensors than smartphones.

There’s only one reason you might want ultra-high resolution in a phone: the ability to push the display to a large-screen device.

As an aside, LG refers to the 2560×1440 resolution as ‘Quad HD’. It would be more accurately described as ‘Quad 720p HD’ as it’s the same number of pixels as four 1280×720 displays.

Full press release below … 

pixel density Stories March 28, 2012

Google just pushed out an update to the “Maps for Android” app that brings new high-resolution map tiles for pixel dense displays, a new look for Navigation on Android 4.0, and the ability to set a preferred mode of transit for directions.

New high-res map on the right, previous map on the left

In addition to a redesigned home screen for the Navigation feature of the app on Android 4.0 devices, the new higher resolution map tiles provide “a crisper, less cluttered map that is easier to read.” Google noted this would allow you to take full advantage of the pixel density of displays on devices like the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S II, and Droid Razr.

The high-res tiles will appear when visiting new locations on the map, but you will have to clear the cache in Map settings for previously visited locations. Google explained the benefits:

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