Measurement & Instrumentation

Strife for Superiority among Smartphone Displays

by Nupur Sinha 24 May 2012
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Strife for Superiority among Smartphone Displays

By Nupur Sinha, Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst, Electronics Practice


The smartphone market has heated up and Apple and Samsung remain the front runners. The players in the smartphone markets are doing their best to lure the customers with superior product offerings. When Apple’s iPhone was launched in 2007, it came with a 3.5inch screen, but to keep in pace with the changing smartphone market , Apple is rumored to come up with a 4-inch screen—and rightly so. Their strongest competitors, Samsung, have already launched a 4.8-inch display in the form of Samsung Galaxy S3, owing to which Samsung has been the front runner in the smartphone market.

If Apple’s move is anything to go by, smartphones are focusing on wider and higher resolution displays to get traction amongst end-users. Displays are the “wow” factor in any smartphone and with fierce rivalry and competition; the market players are trying to put their best foot forward. After all, there has to be a reason why Apple would consider the possibility of widening their display screen size, making it a far departure from their models shipped since 2007.

Advances in display technology like AMOLEDs have opened up an entire new world of low power consumption displays. The wide acceptance of these displays, have led to an increased demand owing to which AMOLED display for mobile phones is expected to grow at a CAGR of 40.2 percent in the forecast period 2011-2016. 


Note: All figures are rounded. The base year is 2011. Source: Frost & Sullivan analysis.

So, this leads to the question, what are customers really looking for? A high resolution display, sleek looks, a longer lasting battery-life— it’s an entire gamut of things, but there is a tradeoff.

Apple has an LCD-based Retina display and promises superior resolution. The pixels are packed so close to each other, that the individual pixels cannot be identified by the human eye. This makes for pleasurable viewing, as the screen appears brighter, but costs battery life, thus leaving the end-user without their phone.

On the other hand, Samsung uses Super AMOLED screens. Super AMOLED screens are AMOLED screens with an integrated digitizer. These screens have their own inherent advantages. While the Apple iPhone screen promises a more natural display, Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen promises attractive displays. Super AMOLEDs do not have closely packed pixels, but fills in those gaps with vibrant colors, that make pictures appear gorgeous. The blacks look deeper in the Super AMOLED, and the colors stand out.

In the end, displays do matter in smartphones as they are the most attractive feature companies offer to woo their customers. Both displays by Apple and Samsung deliver a variety of offerings for the customers to decide from, but ultimately the customer is the king. They decide between the natural and the vibrant displays offered by Apple and Samsung, respectively.

The current wide acceptance by the end-user of super AMOLED screens opens the gate for this new technology. These new displays have made the display quality reach new levels, which was beyond imagination few years ago.


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