Sharp Announces 4K Mobile Screen - Virtual Reality Holy Grail?

Sharp Announces 4K Mobile Screen - Virtual Reality Holy Grail?

Samsung has long been rumored to have a 4K phone screen in the works and is widely expected to land on the upcoming Galaxy Note 5. However it is Sharp who beat Samsung to the punch with their announcement of the first 4K consumer screen scheduled for mass production in 2016. The new 4K screen from Sharp measures 5.5 inches with 3840 x 2160 resolution resulting in a retina killing 806 pixels per inch. Of course all the 4K resolution sticklers out there will note that true 4K is technically 4,096 x 2,160 but it seems the use of 4K is used rather loosely these days.

The practical application of a 4K screen vs. a 2K screen for mobile phone use is limited. Especially when you factor in the additional power and the fact that very few people will be able to see any difference. However for Virtual Reality devices the difference is night and day better. Let’s compare resolution between the various front running VR devices today:

VR HeadSetResolutionAvailability
Oculus Rift DK2 1920 x 1080 (960×1080 per eye)July 2014
Samsung Gear VR2560 x 1440 (1280 x 1440 per eye)December 2014
Oculus Rift Crescent Bay PrototypeRumored to be 1440p delivered by 2 screensPrototype Only. No consumer version
HTC Vive 2160 x 1200 (1080 x 1200 per eye)End of 2015 (November likely)
Oculus Rift CV1 (Unknown)(Unknown)

As you can see if a 4K screen were to be included in a VR headset. This would be a significant jump in resolution along with a corresponding drop in the screen door affect (ability for the human eye to see pixels)

The only VR headset yet to be announced is the Oculus Rift CV1 consumer version. Discussing resolution on the Oculus Rift CV1 is pure speculation at this point. However I think a 4K screen in the CV1 is not beyond the realm of possibility.

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