samsung galaxy s6 16

There are enough people out there that think Quad HD on a smartphone is ridiculous and completely unnecessary, and we’re guessing they won’t be too happy to hear that Samsung is already thinking beyond Quad HD. Way beyond.

According to Korea’s Electronic Times, Samsung has challenged itself to build display of an unprecedented resolution: 11k, for a pixel density of 2,250 pixels per inch. Samsung has not offered exact specifications, but throwing the numbers in a DPI Calculator shows that achieving 2,250 ppi on a mobile (5.5-inch) display would require a resolution of approximately 11,000 by 6000 pixels.

That’s absolutely amazing, given that today’s best smartphone displays offer Quad HD (2560×1440, 530ppi on a 5.5-inch screen), while the next big step is 4K (3840×2160, 800 ppi on a 5.5-inch).

The project was announced by Samsung Display executive Chu Hye Yong during a workshop in Korea. Samsung is teaming up with 13 Korean and foreign companies for this moonshot and is enlisting the help of the Korean government.

“We are hoping that we are able to show such technologies at Pyeongchang Olympics if there is a progress in developing technologies. Although some might think that 11K as ‘over specification’ that consumers do not need, this can work as a basis for Korean display industry take another leap if related materials and parts improve through this,” said Chu.

Don’t expect the project to bear fruit anytime soon. The goal is to show a working prototype of the new display by the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge-35
Perhaps the game isn't over yet, but the $800 flagship is running out of health points.
Many believe that even the Galaxy S6 Edge’s Quad HD screen is overkill…

Okay, but why?

Now, for the key question – why would Samsung want to develop such an extremely dense display? It’s for 3D. When you have so many pixels to work with, you can create 3D effects without the need of special glasses or other cumbersome techniques.

But it’s the rise of VR that could really push display manufacturers towards new limits of pixel density. When you strap a display a few inches from your eyes, you can’t have too many pixels per inch. The Oculus Rift, due to launch next year, offers a resolution of 2160 x 1200, and, even if you can notice the pixelation, the experience can be amazing. Now imagine what you can do with ten times as many pixels.

If there’s any entity in the world that is able to create a display that is three times as dense as 4K, it’s Samsung. Of course, processors and batteries will need to keep up. For now, Full HD remains the standard spec, Quad HD appears in some of the nicer phones out there, and 4K displays are probably in the labs, waiting for their place in the spotlight. For more info on 4K, the manufactures that are working on it, and its effects on the industry, check out our comprehensive look at the present and future of 4K technology.