The mobile device space over the past few years has seen the majority of manufacturers move towards similarly designed devices, with a large screen covering 90% of the device being the standard, with the only real differentiation being the size of this screen, and the overall thickness and weight of the device.
This, combined with fierce competition from all angles has led to a specs war between manufacturers, which currently sees major flagship devices featuring 8 core processors, and often even quad HD 1440p displays.
Perhaps the best example of this is the LG G3, one of the first phones to feature a 1440p display, it is the pinnacle of this arms race between phones, and is actually incredibly successful as a result. So, with 1440p screens becoming the norm, it raises an important question, will 4k (2160p) start hitting devices in 2015, or will be a slow backing away from resolution instead?
First of all, lets cover the difference between the 1080p seen in the iPhone 6 Plus and Xperia Z3 and the 1440p seen in the LG G3 and the Nexus 6. Although there is almost double the pixels for a 1440p device, which does create a smoother experience; it isn’t double as smooth, or even significantly more so, with many finding other factors of the screen much more noticable than the resolution. In addition; to drive that 1440p display more processing power and battery is needed, slowly dragging the devices real world performance and battery life down. However, the G3 in particular does do a great job of balancing this, but still creates an experience which looks maybe 10% better than a 1080p counterpart.
So, how would the jump to 4k be managed? Similarly, just with a much larger gap. The smoothness of the “feel” of the device would be greatly increased, but the actual look and PPI of the devices are already past “retina point” meaning consumers will be hard pressed to tell the difference at a glance. Then of course; there’s the downsides. Even more battery drainage hits, and even more graphics horse power is required to drive the display at it’s native resolution.
Will this somewhat immeasurable increase in the displays quality justify the very measurable down sides? At first, it may deter LG and other flagship devices, but the lure of the many marketing benefits that come with being one of the first 4k devices may offset this. This also allows for the video footage recorded with the camera to be native quality, so perhaps with the right spin the next LG flagship will include a 4k screen, with the specs needed to back it up. It seems as though marketing and vague perception might be trumped by common sense for once though, so of course we’ll have to wait and see.