Sharp, back in October, was the first company to announce that they’ve begun mass producing 5 inch 1080p LCD panels for smartphones. Japan Display Incorporated, better known as JDI, published their 5 inch 1080p press release less than a week after Sharp. According to DigiTimes, the Taiwanese company Innolux will begin mass producing their own 5 inch 1080p panels in Q1 2013. They’re going to use something called AAS (Azimuthal Anchoring Switch) technology. We’re not going to lie to you, we have absolutely no idea what that means.

Who else is working on 5 inch 1080p technology? LG showed off a prototype of just such a display in May, but we haven’t heard anything about it since. And then there’s Samsung, who has been very quiet. Depending on which rumor sites you trust, Samsung is either having an incredibly hard time making a 5 inch 1080p screen that use AMOLED technology, or they’ve successfully figured out how to do it and we’re going to see said display show up in the next generation Galaxy S.

So what does this all mean for consumers? It’s clear that any 2013 smartphones worthy of being called a “flagship device” needs to have a 1080p display. If it doesn’t, then it’s “midrange”. We find it incredibly difficult to classify 720p smartphones as “midrange” since they’ve barely been around for a year, but that’s how this industry works. You can’t control the product release cycle, you just have to brace yourself and ride the wave of innovation that leaves you and your wallet in a confused and depressing relationship.

HTC may have been the first company out the door with a 1080p smartphone (DNA/Butterfly), but we expect everyone to catch up within the next two quarters. This writer spends an unhealthy amount of time starting at his pocket computer, so he’s looking forward to 443 PPI displays.