HP Pre3

Sebastiaan de With:

The Pre 3 has an IPS LCD (valuable information I got loose yesterday) screen at 800×480. I am very happy that it doesn’t use (SAM)OLED technology, as in my opinion they’re a bad stopgap to solve the LCD pixel density and power usage problem. You start to wonder what kind of contracts Apple has with Sharp, considering only Sharp and Apple currently ship devices with 960×640 pixel IPS LCD displays. I bet some of the billions in cash they spend was used to buy a lot — if not all — of Sharp’s manufacturing capacity for these extremely advanced screen panels.

Unlike the Veer, the Pre3 has an 8-bit LCD, which means millions of colors instead of just thousands. The 3.58-inch 800×480 TFT LCD is IPS, In-Plane Switching. Good choice HP. Now unto some problematic statements by de With.

First, LCD doesn’t have a pixel density problem. The highest pixel density display that is in production today and in something you can actually buy uses LCD technology. It’s the 3.5-inch Retina Display on the iPhone 4. The display technology with a big pixel density challenge is not LCD, it is OLED.

Second, LCD doesn’t have a power usage problem. Sure, LCD consumes power and the goal is to consume less, but OLED consumes even more than LCD. Unless pixels are black OLEDs have a big appetite for power. A BlackBerry with OLED could possibly last a very long time, longer than using a LCD, since the user interface is mostly black.

Third, right now LG Display supplies the majority of the 3.5-inch Retina Displays in the Apple iPhone 4. Apple most likely has an exclusivity agreement with LGD since I’ve not seen it in any other gadget. In next generation iPhones and iPads I’m fairly certain that LGD, Sharp and Toshiba will be the exclusive suppliers of Retina Displays: 3.5-inch 960×640 and 9.7-inch 2048×1536 LCDs. These three won’t be able to supply their best to any other brand. And theoretically, I don’t think a Retina Display has to be based on IPS:

[A Retina Display] is simply a display that has a high-enough resolution when used at the typical “usage distance” that your eyes cannot distinguish individual pixels.

You see Sharp’s display technology is different: it’s called Advanced Super View (ASV) and based on Vertical Alignment (VA) technology. Something entirely different from IPS. Apple needs to work with this looser definition of Retina Display to get enough LCD suppliers, three so far, to be able to produce all of the Retina Displays it needs. Who knows maybe Apple’s master plan is to equip all of its products with Retina Displays.

Oh, back to the Pre3: it looks like HP has done some homework and equipped its better smartphone with IPS LCD technology. Why no love for the Veer?