The next frontier in tablet displays? Japan Display demos 4K 12-inch screen

Super-sized tablets with 3,840x2,160 resolution may hit the market in the next couple of years.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

While Apple was squeezing more pixels into the iPad mini, Japan Display was showing off a new tablet screen that adds higher resolution to a slightly larger screen.

As you may have noticed, "4K" has become a buzzword for the next generation of ultra-high-definition video, with more and more footage being shot in the format. But it's a lot easier to get all those pixels into a large-screen TV than displays for mobile devices. Panasonic announced a 20-inch 4K tablet earlier this year, but it's hard to think of that as a truly "mobile" device used by mainstream consumers.

That's where Japan Display's latest prototype comes in. The firm has just demoed a 12.1-inch tablet screen that offers 3,840x2,160 resolution at the FPD International 2013 exhibition this week. Despite the additional tech wizardry necessary to make that happen, the screen remains less than a tenth of an inch thick. For those that love the pixels-per-inch metric, it works out to 365ppi, which compares to 264ppi of the new iPad Air and 324ppi for the iPad mini with Retina display. Some smartphones have a pixel density of over 400ppi, but obviously on a much smaller screen. (Though pixel density may not be the end-all for screen quality.)

A more demanding display is where better hardware, like Apple's new 64-bit processor, comes in handy, which should spur other tablet makers to boost their own CPUs. While 11.6-inch tablets have become common as part of Windows 8 "convertible" laptops, the 12.1-inch form factor is still largely an unproven one for the tablet market, though rumors have floated around that Apple might try an iPad as large as 13 inches at some point in the future.

Japan Display has no specific information on when the market might see 12.1-inch tablets with 4K displays, but don't expect anything before the end of 2014 (and even that might be a stretch). Would you have an interest in a 4K 12-inch slate, or is that too much tablet even for the extra pixels? Let us know in the Talkback section below.

[Via Engadget]

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