Android HD displays have become big news in the past few weeks with the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The true HD display of the Galaxy Nexus measures 720px across and 1280 up meaning it will be better than any other device on the market – or will it?
720p displays can show all of the detail in High Definition videos and have the ability to fit a more complex UI on the screen. This is because each item which appears on the display uses a certain amount of pixels, and, because there are extra, unused pixels in 720p displays, more can be added to the UI.
You may have been fooled by Google – or Samsung – into thinking that the Galaxy Nexus will be the only device with a 720p display. This is not true. Two other devices which will launch with true 720p displays are LG’s Optimus LTE and Sony Ericsson’s Nozomi (a leaked device).
There are a couple of problems with these devices though. Google has shown that the next version of Android, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, will not require hardware buttons, but will use three integrated software buttons. The Galaxy Nexus is the only one of these three devices which will launch with Ice Cream Sandwich – and no hardware buttons. Both the Nozomi and the Optimus LTE will have hardware buttons. This holds them back as their displays will not have the ‘ideal’ ratio; 16:9. Additionally, some users may be put off simply by the lack of this new design.
As I said, all of these devices have HD displays, but only one matches the iPhone 4 and 4S’ retina display. It’s not all about pixels; the sharpness of the display is calculated as pixels per square inch. This means that the more pixels in each inch, the sharper the image the display produces will be. iPhone’s are renowned for their relatively small screens, but this isn’t just a disadvantage – it means they produce sharper images. Apple’s iPhone 4S has 108669 pixels in every square inch of the screen whereas the Nozomi, the phone with the smallest display of the three Android devices, has 116647. It is the only Android device to sport a higher pixel density than the retina display.
It appears Android is slowly defeating the iPhone, one feature at a time. This is important for Google to stay on to in the highly competitive smartphone market, but for more devices like the Sony Ericsson Nozomi to be created, Google may have to be even less strict about the Android source code. I bet the Nozomi will be an amazing device, but the hardware buttons may throw many people off.