Samsung in 2014 and beyond: 560 ppi, foldable displays, custom 64-bit processors, 16MP Isocell sensors

November 6, 2013
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Samsung mobile components portfolio

Samsung just held its first Analyst Day event in eight years, offering us a glimpse of its plans for 2014 and beyond. Some of the most interesting tidbits coming out of the event concern the advancements in mobile technology that the Korean conglomerate expects to make starting with next year.

Displays

Starting with displays, Samsung revealed that, next year, it will manufacture AMOLED panels with pixel densities of up to 560ppi, beating the current record held by the HTC One, at 469ppi.

samsung display 560ppi

If everything goes to plan, Samsung will move from the current high-end resolution standard, Full HD, to WQHD or 2560 x 1440. A bit of speculation: punching these numbers in a DPI calculator suggests that Samsung’s upcoming high-density display would be approximately 5.25 inches across, a size that wouldn’t be out of reach for the Galaxy S5.

samsung display timeline

Peering further into the future, Samsung hopes to have UHD (also known as 4K) displays on the market sometime in 2015. While the benefits of such a high resolution display are debatable, Samsung and other display manufacturers are clearly going to push the envelope in this area as much as they can.

Another exciting development in display technology is the launch of bendable and, eventually, foldable displays, which Samsung pegs for the 2014-2016 period. The Galaxy Round, the first curved screen smartphone, is just the first step in that direction, and hopefully we’ll see more interesting designs coming soon.

samsung display timeline

Camera sensors

Moving on to the other area where electronics manufacturers are engaged in a resolution war, Samsung revealed that, over the next two years, it will launch 16MP Isocell sensors for smartphones.

samsung 16MP isocell sensor

Isocell is a technology that reduces the amount of light that “bleeds” to neighboring pixels, thus improving sensitivity and image quality in extreme lighting conditions. The first Isocell sensor, an 8MP model, will hit mass production by the end of the year, said Samsung in September.

Application processors

Perhaps the most interesting news coming from the slides that Samsung’s executives used during their Analyst Day presentations concerns Samsung’s processor business. The company will launch a 64-bit SoC application processor based on ARM’s core design sometime next year, but will follow up with an in-house CPU core, similar to Qualcomm’s Krait designs.

samsung 64 bit custom processor

This is the first time we get official confirmation that Samsung is moving to custom cores for its Exynos line, though we’ve heard rumors before.

Software

Samsung’s hardware timeline is impressive, but the company is also planning to improve its position in software, the area where it’s been lagging until now. To do so, the conglomerate set aside a massive 50 percent of its R&D budget for software development. To improve its software offerings, Samsung has been hiring software experts and establishing R&D centers around the world, to better address the needs of users in target regions.

The Korean company is the biggest Android manufacturer, but it’s also developing its own operating system, Tizen, and is investing heavily in attracting developers to its own platform, including by holding its first Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Obviously, Samsung’s interest is to project an image of confidence and success, but even so, the sheer scale of its technology development efforts is amazing. The company had a $10.6 billion R&D budget in 2012, and, judging from today’s revelations, it’s not going to lose steam anytime soon.

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