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First 4K smartphone landing 2016 thanks to new Sharp display

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Sharp Aquos Crystal
The Sharp Aquos Crystal, with its meagre 720p resolution

Sharp has announced it plans to manufacture a smartphone display panel with a 4K pixel resolution.

That’s a bold move, as some major smartphone manufacturers are yet to make the leap to 2K (read: iPhone 6 / Xperia Z3) for flagship smartphones.

Sharp wants to outpace the competition with its new 5.5-inch mobile display however, promising a 2160 x 3840 pixel resolution (via TechBlog.gr).

That puts the panel’s pixel density at an eye-watering 806-pixels-per-inch, which is far above competitor offerings.

The Japanese company’s Ultra-HD LCD IGZO touchscreen is set for mass production starting in 2016.

This means we may see the panels landing on the first round of devices as soon as next year.

Sharp confirmed that the panels would ship to Chinese smartphone manufacturers initially, although it’s not yet clear which specific companies this includes.

Related: Best Android Smartphones 2015

There’s still a big debate over whether 4K screens are right for the smartphone space. We already know it’s difficult for the human eye to discern differences in pixel density above 600-pixels-per-inch.

There is an argument that virtual reality is a big incentive for higher resolution screens however.

That’s because many VR headsets dock smartphones to use as displays (the Samsung Gear VR, for example), which means users’ eyes are very close to the display, thus putting more emphasis on pixel resolution.

It’s also worth noting that being able to display 4K video pixel-for-pixel will be a much more valuable smartphone asset as UHD content becomes more common.

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