Tablet wars! Google's Nexus 10 could break the 300 PPI barrier

Tablet wars! Google's Nexus 10 could break the 300 PPI barrier

Summary: Apple's rumored to release an iPad mini tomorrow. Microsoft's Surface RT ships on Friday. Does Google have an uber-tablet waiting in the wings that will trump both of them? Rumors point to yes.

TOPICS: Apple, Google, iPad, Tablets

Everyone's waiting to see what Apple's going to announce at its "little" media event tomorrow, but rumors indicate that it's a 7-inch tablet to compete with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. And possibly some other stuff, too.

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People got pretty fired up last week when a Microsoft engineer implied that the Surface RT has a better display than the iPad 3 and a full-on flame ware erupted when a research scientist specializing in display technology refuted those claims

But don't count Google out just yet. The Mountain View-based Android creator doesn't make its own hardware, but it may have something up its sleeve that could trump both the iPad and Surface when it comes to display quality.

Originally reported by CNET (and recently substantiated by The Next Web) Google is preparing to launch a new 10-inch tablet to compete with the incumbent iPad and challenger Surface. The new tablet will be manufactured by Samsung and called, you guessed it, the Nexus 10

Google is hosting an Android event called "The playground is open" on Monday, October 29 in New York (the same day as Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 event, natch) where the Nexus 10 is rumored to make its debut. 

But here's the kicker, the Nexus 10 (codenamed "Manta") will offer a 2560 × 1600 pixel resolution (which is a 16:10 aspect ratio) and north of 300 pixels per inch (PPI). Besting, gasp!, the iPad 3

At least in theory, anyway.

Here's how a 2560 × 1600 Nexus 10 would stack up against the iPad 3 and Surface tabs:

  • Surface RT - 1366 x 768, 148 PPI
  • Surface Pro - 1920 x 1080, 208 PPI
  • Apple iPad 3 - 2048 x 1536, 264 PPI
  • Google Nexus 10 - 2560 × 1600, 10.1-inches, 299 PPI

If the Nexus 10 ships with a 10.1-inch panel (like the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and Galaxy Note 10.1 do) that would give it 299 PPI. If it's a 9.7-inch panel (like the iPad 3) it goes up to a whopping 311 PPI

Apple people, is it still about the PPI?

Microsoftees, what do you say about Google's rumored PPI king?

Updated with comments from Raymond Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation

Samsung has been showing prototypes with Tablet sized 2560x1600 panels for a while - both 10.x inch and 11.x inch OLED and LCD panels. The most recent rumor has been a 10.1 inch 2560x1600 PenTile LCD display.

1. If it is a 10.1 inch 2560x1600 panel it has 299 PPI. If it is a 10.05 inch display (which is often marketed rounded up to 10.1 inches) then it will be 300 PPI.

2. If it is a PenTile display then it is not equivalent to standard RGB panels with the same PPI because PenTile displays have only half as many Red and Blue sub-pixels as standard RGB panels. If it is an RGBW PenTile display then it will also have half as many Green Sub-Pixels, but it then will have pure White Sub-Pixels that make the screen brighter (at the expense of color saturation and color accuracy).

PenTile is used because it is easier and cheaper to manufacture (because it has fewer sub-pixels) and can deliver brighter images (at the expense of sharpness and color saturation and color accuracy).

3. I hate to see displays get into Mega Pixel wars just like for cameras. Google and Samsung should instead concentrate on improving the image quality and color accuracy of their Tablets and Smartphones - neither of them do particularly well...

For a discussion of PenTile displays and Samsung color accuracy see this link.

For a discussion of Google Nexus image quality see this link and this link.

Best regards,



Topics: Apple, Google, iPad, Tablets

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  • It was never about the PPI

    until Apple used it as a selling point. And now it will only be about the PPI until Apple is not on top.

    Sites like this would report about the PPI of the iPhone 4 and 4S vs larger Android phones and pretend that a higher PPI on the iPhone meant a better display, even though the larger Android phones had a much higher resolution. It's ridiculous how much the media ate up the PPI garbage.

    I have a 60 inch 1080P television. If you have a 22 inch 720P television, you have a higher PPI than me. Does that mean your screen is better? Well, according to popular flawed logic, it does! PPI is only one technical spec, and it's been blown out of proportion by Apple trying to make its small screens seem better.
    • Exactly

      Couldnt have said it better myself.
      • Not at all

        With 14-16 inches as working distance, Retina-class PPI has to be over 250 PPI, which is iPad (3) with its 265 PPI.

        Achieving 300 PPI makes not difference unless you specifically close up screen to distance which is never practical to use unless you are myopic but all of sudden refuse to wear glasses.

        So there is no practical advantage over iPad screen in terms of clarity/details.
        • So goes the iscript

          Seems simple to me, pick a fancy name and a number at random, tell your followers that's the exact sweet spot, lo and behold they all believe you and start repeating the same thing to everyone. ipad3 has *perfect* screen, no one can beat it because we've told you it's the ultimate.

          Funny how not everyone agrees with apple......
          Little Old Man
          • So goes the iHater

            Thanks for being today's iHater Little Old Man!
          • So you don't agree

            Now I'm an ihater. Nice constructive argument you got there Pogo. Top marks for defending apple to the death. You didn't fancy showing how I was wrong?
            Little Old Man
          • No, he disagrees because you are wrong

            Apple never claimed it was about PPI. The always used the same definition of Retina display. And the number is not picked at random, it is picked based upon the ergonomics of use, thus a Retina display on a phone is a different PPI than on a table, than on a notebook. The PPI necessary to qualify is based on the anatomy of vision, and is NOT arbitrary.
            You might know this if you dropped the ABA attitude.
          • It's obvious you suffering from Apple brainwashing...

            which results in ADF syndrome. Retina Display is a made up MARKETING TERM! It's based on subjective criteria like viewing distance. Users hold the screens of their various devices at different distances no matter what Apple "recommends" as the "optimal" viewing distance. So if you hold you new iPad too close it's not a Retina Display any longer? Does the 27" iMac have a Retina Display? Oh, I don't know. I depends on how close you are to the screen, I guess. It's all bull. It's Apple brain washing. Wake up!
          • Obviously you never took a class in anatomy

            or even bothered to look around you. So here is some information for you. People do not have arms longer than four feet. They can not resolve items placed too close to their eyes. Therefore there are upper and lower limits to where they will view an item. Additionally, ergonomic studies can determine where most people tend to hold a device. These numbers are NOT subjective. Therefore, again, the numbers are NOT arbitrary. It has nothing to do with what Apple says people do, and what Apple and others found that people ACTUALLY do.
            As to your last snide bit, no, the term Retina Display does not mention ANYWHERE the distance at which you actually happen to be viewing the display.
            Care to differ? Post the definition. It is available online.
        • yes it does

          I'm guessing you have never used the I pad 3 or bad eyes but if you have good vision you can still see pixelation on the "retina" display
          Sean Stanick
          • Bull

            The anatomy of the human eye just does not permit this.
          • Are you talking about the resolving power of the eye?

            Looks like from this and your above post

            So what is your defintion of the resoving power of the eye? In seconds of an arc please
          • You're either not holding it right...

            or you've zoomed in too much on your web browser.
        • Definitely not at all

          Let's see... you say Apple is on top because it has 265 PPI and then you say:
          "Achieving 300 PPI makes not difference unless you specifically close up screen to distance which is never practical to use unless you are myopic but all of sudden refuse to wear glasses."

          Wouldn't the same apply to the iPad's 265 PPI?
          • No, but it IS good business practice

        • Intersting

          But somehow it made a difference when Apple was doing it. Even though there are no real apps or media that take advantage of such a screen, especially at such a absurd aspect ratio.
          • Apple never did that.

        • Marketing terms aren't necessarily facts

          "Retina-class"-marketing spin and not based on actual scholarly medical science of any sort you can actually accurately cite.

          The Samsung-Apple lawsuit revealed that Apple spends a TON of money projecting a very controlled message and you bought in hook, line and sinker.
      • But.... it's still just an Android tablet!

        Apple and Microsoft can get by with offering super hi-rez screens... they both have the pretty software to do it justice. One of the various problems with Android is there's still too many lo-rez apps which look good on a phone but not-so-good on a large tablet screen. Google can offer the best screen there is but it means nothing without the pretty eye candy to make something out of it.
        • Far less true than a few months ago

          Ever since Android tablets started to sell in large quantities (the Kindle Fire led the way, followed by the Nexus 7), developers have been (mostly quietly) updating their apps to take advantage of tablet displays. The Google Play store doesn't offer any special listing of tablet-optimized apps, but they're out there now.