Earlier this summer, Samsung announced big plans to develop an 11k smartphone screen over the next three years. With $26.5 million in financing from the South Korean government, Samsung will collaborate with 13 other companies on the project (dubbed “EnDK”), with plans to debut this “super-resolution” display at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
The end goal is give you a potential mobile screen with a resolution that is three times higher than any smartphone currently available, giving you essentially a 3D effect…without the glasses.
What Does That Mean?
Let’s put this into perspective. Samsung plans to first develop this technology for televisions before eventually designing it for mobile. “Ultra-HD” 4k and 8k TVs ( which have the resolution of an IMAX movie screen) are only recently gaining in popularity, but the verdict is still out on whether or not they are worth the hype. Many content providers don’t format shows at that high of a resolution. That’s a whole lot of real-life clarity packed onto your wall…now imagine that in your hand.
For comparison’s sake, an 11k screen is 2250 pixels per inch. The most high-res smartphone display available today is the iPhone 6 Plus, which has 401 pixels per inch. In fact, 4k phones, at 806 pixels per inch, are just now starting to emerge on the market. It seems we have arrived at the future, whether we like it or not.
Cool? Or Just Ridiculous?
While the “EnDK” project sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi novel (holographic pocket devices, anyone?), it does beg the question: is it cool? Or just plain ridiculous?
3D TVs failed (miserably) to capture the public’s imagination when they debuted a few years ago, so it’s hard to predict whether this will be a key selling point for mobile users. Plus, the more pixels in a display, the faster your battery drains. Will Samsung have figured out how to solve that problem once the 11k display makes its debut? One can only hope they’ll develop similarly futuristic battery technology that can keep up with that kind of resolution.
Three years is a long time from now and user preferences and demands change almost daily, so it’ll be fascinating to watch as the digital landscape evolves over time.