Pretty much ever since the iPhone 4 with retina display was launched, resolutions have played a major role in smartphone market. In September, Samsung unveiled Galaxy S II HD LTE, which sports a 4.65" 1280x720 display. That was the first smartphone with HD resolution (720p). Now there are already a few phones with HD resolution, for example Samsung Galaxy Nexus and LG Optimus LTE. Higher resolutions are not only courtesy of smartphones as "retina" displays are coming to tablets as well. On May, Samsung showed off a 10.1" panel with resolution of 2560x1600 - resolution that's only seen in high-end 30" monitors.

Toshiba is taking the resolution battle one step further by releasing a 6.1" LCD with 2560x1600 resolution.   In terms of pixels per inch (PPI), that is 495. Below is a table comparing displays and their PPIs.

Comparison of display PPIs
  Screen Size Resolution PPI
iPhone 4/4S 3.5" 960x640 329.65
Samsung Nexus 4.65" 1280x720 315.83
Samsung's Unreleased Tablet Panel 10.1" 2560x1600 298.9
Toshiba's New Panel 6.1" 2560x1600 494.9

As you can see, Toshiba's new panel is a clear winner, and its PPI is 50% greater than iPhone 4/4S's, which has the second highest PPI. There is no word on the panel type but the viewing angles are 176 degrees, which hints toward IPS. Toshiba also claims 1000:1 contrast ratio and 61% NTSC color gamut. 

The image above summarizes the advantage of high PPI. ~500PPI is starting to be close to the limits of human eye because even at very close range (like in the image), seeing the individual pixels is nearly impossible. At normal viewing distance, it would be impossible to see individual pixels.

However, the big question is, what is the use for 6.1" display? 4.5" is more or less the maximum for smartphone (although there are a few bigger ones, such as Samsung Galaxy Note). Bigger than that won't fit in most people's hands or pocket comfortably. Tablets, on the other hand, usually begin at 7". 6.1" is in the middle - it's too big for a smartphone and too small for a regular tablet.

It's possible that this is just for trying out what today's technology can produce and we may never see the display in a consumer product. If it's aimed for a certain product, then the only product that makes sense would be a small tablet, unless Toshiba or any of its partners have something special in mind. 

Source: Toshiba Mobile Display

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  • Julepalme - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    I could see a potential use on highend nextgen digital video cameras as a small viewfinder/monitor.

    other than that 6" seems a like a bit of an odd number.
  • DanNeely - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    6" wasn't the target, it was the incidental number. 500DPI was the primary target; and 2560x1600 is the highest resolution you can drive with conventional GPUs.
  • r3loaded - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    now why the bloody hell don't we have 20-24 inch desktop monitors with at least this resolution?
  • SanX - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    conspiracy of manufacturers
  • Ozymandias-PJ - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Actually, there is a clear possible use for that kind of screen, but it has nothing to do with phones. I know smartphones are all the talk right now, but try to imagine...

    Small screen, super high resolution?

    Easy answer: bring the screens closer to the eyes...

    For example, I think it was Sony who recently released a headmount with two small lcd screen in it.

    Nice for 3d gaming...

    But it would be much better if it was full HD, for a movie experience like nothing you can have right now...

    Version two of that headgear would be awesome...
  • greylica - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    In the near future, we may see glasses with Augmented Reality using such resolutions and up.
  • StormyParis - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    "since the iPhone 4 with retina display was launched, resolutions have played a major role in smartphone market"

    That statement is so false and myopic it is disturbing.
    1- Resolutions have played an important role since forever, for mobile phones as well as anything with a screen. Nobody waited for any iPhone for that
    2- the iPhone display was, and is, not so much about resolution as about pixel density.

    It's dispiriting to see journalists, who are supposed to be at least moderately aware of what goes on in markets, behave as run of the mill Apple fanboys.
  • QuantumOps - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    I would really love to see this tablet display reach consumers. It might be impossible for the current generation smartphone or tablet SOIs to support this resolution for 3D rendering. But I am sure they have the graphics capabilities enough for
    1) Viewing photos, videos
    2) Reading e-books
    3) Browsing internet
    It is not urgent for games to be rendered at this resolution. You can halve the resolution on width and height and still get a good visuality at 1280x800. But having high resolution in the fundamental aspects of mobile computing would really feel 'magical'. Plus it will ease it up on our eyes.

    Also assuming Moore's Law, it should not be more than a couple of years before mobile GPUs can fully support this resolution for gaming.
  • mckirkus - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    "the only product that makes sense would be a small tablet"

    Think high end car dashboards.
  • GuinnessKMF - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    This is probably falling on deaf ears, but you really can't calculate the PPI and then display it out to the 100th place. You're using a measure of screen size that isn't accurate, the best example of this is the iPhone's retina display which you list at an absurdly "accurate" 329.65 PPI, yet if you look on apple's own website they list 326 PPI, this is because they are using the correct screen size of 9cm, converting to inches, and then performing the calculation. If you perform the calculation with 3.5" you only have two significant digits, so your result should be 330 PPI (3.3 x 10^2), rounding to two signicant digits.

    Yes... minutia, but this is a tech site, that's where minutia matters.

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