Retina Tablet Displays Can’t Come Soon Enough

Retina Tablet Displays Can’t Come Soon Enough

I just checked out Samsung’s upcoming PenTile tablet display, which packs a 2560×1600 resolution into a 10.1 inch screen. Know what that means? It has a pixel density of 300dpi, nearly on par with Apple’s retina display. And it looks great.

The unit I looked at was an engineering prototype developed in conjunction with PenTile creator Nouvoyance, but it very much showed off the potential of the technology. At 600 nits, it’s nearly twice as bright as the brightest tablet displays right now. Thanks to a new technology requiring two-thirds the number of sub-pixels (the smaller, RGB components in each pixel), it can consume up to 40 per cent less power than current LCD screens. And it’s thin. These screens are not a half inch thick, or even a quarter inch. Whoa.

But enough of the spec geekery. What makes the PenTile display exciting is what you see with your own eyes. Visuals pop off the screen. Blacks are deep, and colours rich. It’s bright. The smallest details on images are sharply detailed. But best of all, when you look at the screen, everything is seamless. There are no visible pixels or fuzziness. Even while looking at the screen through an eye loupe, I had to look hard to differentiate pixels.

So why do we want this on a tablet? Movies and Gaming benefit from this obviously, but with tablets specifically, there’s one huge upside: reading. Personally, I read a lot more on my tablet than I do on a smartphone, and at least as much as I do on my computer. So consider magazines, whose graphic-rich presentation will really benefit from such a display. Or books, which keep your eyes parsing through words for hours at a time. I spoke with Joel Pollack who is the EVP of Nouvoyance, and he confirmed that a 300dpi display will put considerably less strain on the eyes. But he also claims that having a display at a brightness of 600 nits can offset the washed out effect that LCDs suffer in sunlight.

But when will we see it? Pollack says that the technology is fully developed, and is now in the early stages of being productised. By his estimate, we should start seeing this technology pop up in tablets by spring or summer of 2012. Which is great, except that I want it right now.