Mobile Device Screen Size Trends: Bigger, Brighter

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    To some extent, the screens of mobile devices hide in plain sight. They are, of course, the center of attention. But the tasks of which they are capable, their size and related issues are a big deal that at times is under-reported.

    Small screens are big business. NPD DisplaySearch reports that revenue from large screen sales, 40 inches or larger, is declining significantly. Revenue from smaller screens, which include those used in mobile phones, mobile PCs and a number of other devices, is growing.

    The eWeek report on the study says that mobile devices are a growth area: Mobile PC screen revenue will rise from $20.3 billion in 2013 to $21.2 billion this year and mobile phone display revenue from $28.9 billion to $33.6 billion during the same period. The decline of large-screen display revenue will limit the overall front-panel display market to 1 percent, to $131 billion this year, the report concludes.

    After a long era in which small was beautiful, screen size has gradually been increasing in parallel to the popularity of mobile video. The next big thing, according to insiders, is high-resolution active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) screens. Last week, AU Optronics introduced a 2,560 x 1,440 pixel screen, which Digital Trends says is the highest resolution yet. The site says that LG Display and Japan Display have shown similar screens, but only in prototype form.

    The approach offers brighter colors, sharper images – and less energy consumption. The screen, according to AU Optronics, is aimed at smart watches. The story says that no information on whether it will be used on smartphones was released.

    Generally, it doesn’t make sense to discuss rumors in the telecommunications and device sector for a couple of reasons: They often don’t come true and there is so much real news to report.

    It pays to make an exception in cases in which the rumors demonstrate a sector’s overall activity. The Wall Street Journal (in a story behind its pay wall) reports that Amazon may release a phone with a 3D display this year. Motley Fool said that the company has already ordered 600,000 devices. The report says that rumors of such a phone have been circulating since last year and that developers have already seen a prototype.

    Leaked screen shots fall into the same general category as rumors. Last week, Chinese site Weibo posted what it said is an image of a screen shot of iOS 8 running on an iPhone 6. There is much to interest phone fanatics in the shot. If the screen shot is real, the fact that the screen is larger shows that the big-is-beautiful trend is not abating.

    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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