Why Samsung won’t use a Retina-like display for its tablets

by: Mike AndriciApril 7, 2012

ipad retina

I know that a few of you out there honestly believe tablets are really all about the software and the tasks it makes easier to accomplish. But I definitely know more people that are interested more in the display than anything else. Independent on where you stand on the matter, you might have found out that the amazing Retina display of Apple’s new iPad is, in fact, manufactured by Samsung, the biggest competitor to Apple when it comes to the number of smartphones and tablets they sell. So, the question arises: why doesn’t Samsung release a competing Android tablet with the same high resolution display as the one found on the new iPad?

The thing is Samsung is not betting on LCD displays, although they obviously have the tech to manufacture quality ones, such as the Retina display. So why could that be? The main reason relates to the fact that Samsung is the only company that can mass produce a new and different type of panels: SAMOLED displays.

Samsung has gained a head start by investing billions in the SAMOLED technology, so it definitely makes sense for them to use it as a differentiating marketing feature. And that’s just what they’ve done with recent iterations of the highly popular Galaxy series such as the Galaxy Note, the Galaxy S2, or the Galaxy Nexus. In case you missed it, Samsung also has a SAMOLED tablet available on the market: the Galaxy Tab 7.7, albeit it comes in a slimmer, sexier form factor, and is not a direct competitor to the iPad.

Although SAMOLED has its disadvantages when compared to LCD, the brightness, contrast ratios, and low power consumption definitely qualify SAMOLED panels as a worthy alternative to any LCD screen, Retina display included. Remember: Samsung is the only SAMOLED manufacturer out there. In case you like the tech, you’ll end up buying a Samsung device.

Further still, a recent Digitimes report has unsurprisingly revealed that Samsung will soon introduce a new wave of SAMOLED displays, which showcase pixel densities that can rival the Retina display (without using the much criticized Pentile arrangement). This means Samsung’s next line of flagship superphones might woo buyers with their beautiful displays, as the first two Galaxy S phones did at the time of their release.

So, to finish off from where I started this article, Samsung won’t use Retina-like displays in their upcoming devices because it will put them in the same market as Apple. By contrast, Apple cannot use SAMOLED displays on their devices from pretty much the same reason, and, probably, because Samsung wants to save the technology for its own products.

The only thing that’s missing from the picture is a 10.1-inch (or 11.6) Android tab from Samsung with a high resolution SAMOLED display, running Android 4.0 ICS. That would be a true competitor to the iPad now, wouldn’t it?

  • Kindroid

    The Apple retina displays are among the finest on mobile devices. And they look amazing. But here’s my gripe. They consume an awful lot of processing power and battery resources. I feel the average consumers, using a device for a multitude of tasks, would be just as well served with a somewhat lower display output and repurpose those resources to areas that would improve a larger number of functions on the device.

    After a certain point…improvements in display output fall under the laws of diminishing returns. Before buying my Razr Maxx, I compared it to all the top displays. There was some improvement in display output on the iPhone 4s and the Galaxy Nexus. But here’s the thing, the difference was not huge. Now I know some people out there with eagle like vision have problems with the pentile approach used by the Razr. But the biggest majority of actual Razr owners find their screen very satisfactory. Because it requires less processor power and battery resources, the display on the Razr Maxx allows for better performance all over.

    As long as you give me a very nice display…I will take better processing power and battery performance..any day.

    • I was thinking the exact same thing.

      If they could strike a bit of middle ground, and still offer a HD display, but with more efficient processing to drive the display, we would have a winner.

      There’s no doubt about it – the iPad 3’s display is amazing. What’s more amazing is the battery contained within. If a tablet with a lower resolution came to market with a similarly sized battery, it would have 20+ hours battery life. Something to consider at least. I think manufacturers are starting to get the message.

    • thepeddle

      You’re only partly right….the display on the nexus and Note are MUCH better than other phones, it doesn’t take an eagle eye to see it. But that being said I don’t think Smartphone resolution needs to get any more vibrant than these current displays and that they should absolutely focus on the other areas lacking on these devices Especially battery life. The Note screen is the most stunning display I’ve seen by far but a better battery optimization would go a long way. Not just to jam a huge battery like the 3300MA battery in the Maxx which is the reason for the better performance.

  • AppleFUD

    I’m waiting to see Samsung’s LiquaVista screens. Those should be among the best of all worlds–flexible, lower battery consumption, e-ink type reading and HD LCD all in one.

  • I am sick and tired of waiting for a new samsung (11.6) tablet to be released, no matter how amazing display it has and a equaly powerfull cpu, once I buy ipad3 (or maybe huawei mediapad) samsung will lose a potencial customer, and they will have only themselves to blame.

  • xoj_21

    all the builshit u were wrong mike,

    samsung just raped apple retina in the nexus 10