Samsung has a new 10.1-inch “retina” resolution LCD panel ready to show off next week. It will demonstrate the 2560 x 1600 panel at the SID Display Week 2011 International Symposium starting Tuesday May 17th. And if you weren’t already thinking it — yes, this is perfect for tablets.
The panel has a resolution of 300dpi, the same as that of print, and the number Apple uses to define its Retina displays. In most uses, the pixels disappear and it appears that you are looking at a printed page.
Samsung’s new panel is interesting for two reasons. First is that it uses PenTile RGBW tech. PenTile is a way of grouping subpixels — each multicolor “pixel” on a screen is made up of several smaller single-color dots. In the case of PenTile, there are five dots (hence the “pent” or “penta” part of the name). The RGBW part means that an extra white pixel is added to the usual red, green and blue ones.
This white pixel works in conjunction with a variable, locally dimming backlight. This ramps up when bright colors are needed, but when colors are desaturated or just black and white, the backlight dims and only the white pixel is switched on. This reduces power consumption by a claimed 40% vs. a regular RGB stripe panel.
And that power reduction is the key to its use in tablets. The biggest draw on tablet battery power is the screen. Until a panel exists that can deliver the same battery life as today’s tablets, we won’t see a Retina display in the iPad. Of course, driving all of those extra pixels is also extra work (4x) for the graphics chips, but that’s another problem.