Not content with 1080p, display makers are working on WQXGA panels for smartphones

It feels just like yesterday when Samsung announced the 720p Galaxy S III. When rumors started floating around about the Galaxy S4, saying that it would have a 1080p panel, very few people, myself included, believed it would happen. Surprisingly, it did. So what’s next for smartphones?

According to ETNews, display makers expect to break the 500 dpi mark in 2014. The first product to do so will likely be a 6 inch panel that has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels.

That’s WQXGA for fans of acronyms.

Three obvious questions come to mind: How small can a 1080p screen be if it’s 500 DPI? The answer is 4.4 inches. What sort of processor will you need to drive a WQXGA display? I want to say Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800, but that chip hasn’t landed in commercial hardware yet, so it hasn’t been benchmarked. And finally, which smartphone will get this 6 inch display first?

That’s a tough one. Looking at Samsung’s flagship phones over the past three years, they’ve gone from 4.3 inches to 4.8 inches to 5.0 inches. Jumping straight to 6.0 inches would be ludicrously insane. What about the Note 4? It’s far too early to be talking about the Note 4.

Know this, at some point in the next few years, someone is going to publish a rumor about a 4K smartphone screen, everyone will laugh, but it’ll actually happen. That’s just how these things go.