Samsung Galaxy S5: Compensating For Ambient Light

Sascha Segan, PCMag:

The screen, on the other hand, is truly beautiful. This is still a 5.1-inch, 432 ppi 1,920-by-1080 Super AMOLED display, very similar to the S4’s screen. But Samsung put a custom image chip in here that dynamically adjusts the color gamut and contrast based on ambient light. It’s a big step up from the standard automatic brightness control, and it makes the colors really pop under different lighting conditions.

Raymond Soneira has been pushing this type of implementation to compensate for colors washing out due to ambient light:

But there are other more advanced methods to improve display performance in ambient light that we’ll be seeing in 2014. One is to use a display with a slightly curved (concave) screen that reduces reflections as mentioned above. Another is by using an Ambient Light Sensor to accurately adjust the screen brightness – most current implementations are close to useless but they are getting better. The most advanced method is to also use the Ambient Light Sensor to accurately vary the display’s Color Gamut and Intensity Scale to compensate for the washed out images resulting from ambient light reflecting off the screen.

According to Soneira quantum dots can offer a similar solution with LCDs. As far as I know Sony is the only company using quantum dots for smartphone LCDs (e.g.. the Sony Xperia Z2), and Amazon for tablets.

Nokia X

Nokia: Guess the rumors were right. The Nokia X line of Android smartphones come in X, X+, and XL varieties. Nokia is targeting the low end smartphone market with the €89 X, €99 X+, and the €109 XL. The X and X+ sport 4-inch 800×480 LCDs, and the XL goes up a notch in size at 5 inches but with the same pixel format.

Sony Xperia Z2

The Sony Xperia Z2 sports a new 5.2-inch 1920×1080 Triluminos IPS LCD with Live Color LED, which gives the Z2 the widest color gamut on a mobile device.

Vlad Savov, The Verge:

When viewed in person, the Z2 does indeed have a very attractive display, with good contrast and color fidelity, immediately distinguishing it from the mediocre screen of the Z1.

Just a few days I was wondering why Sony, a company so good at manipulating pixels on the big screen, is so bad at it on mobile displays. I guess Sony got its act together with the Xperia Z2.

Sony: The camera subsystem seems to be quite capable too: 20.7 megapixel 1/2.3 Exmor RS CMOS image sensor, G Lens, BIONZ image processing engine, and 4K (3840×2160/30p) video capture capability.

Sony Xperia Z1S

Andrew Kim:

Although Sony’s created something more appealing than most Android phones, the Z1S is simply not progressive enough. I love the fact that the phone is completely waterproof but there are too many other faults like the faux-metal frame, factory-installed screen protector, and the terrible 5″ display. It’s also worth commenting that the design of the phone is okay but there’s no dodging the fact that it’s essentially a poorly executed iPhone 4.

I’ve read other reviews that point out washed out colors and not so great viewing angles. Sony has been able to manufacture pretty decent smartphones with universally sub-par displays, which is surprising to me because the company has mastered almost every skill necessary to put beautiful pixels on a screen. Sony does quite well on big screens; why the company doesn’t do just as well on little ones is a mystery to me.

“The Most Reasonable Upper Bound For Human Vision”

Joshua Ho, AnandTech:

So after going through these possible resolutions, the most reasonable upper bound for human vision is the .5 arcminutes value, as while there is a clear increase in detail going from ~300 PPI to ~400 PPI in mobile displays, it is highly unlikely that any display manufacturer can make a relatively large display with a resolution that corresponds to 1800 PPD at 12 inches away for mass production. However, for the .5 arcminute value, at a distance 12 inches away from the eye, this would mean a pixel density of around 600 PPI.

That’s 600 ppi with a RGB stripe sub-pixel format. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is rumored to sport a 5.25-inch 2560×1440 LCD. The resolution? 560 ppi. If the rumor turns out to be true, the Galaxy S5 display in terms of resolution will be very close to the upper limits of human vision.

Artemis Networks pCell

Ashlee Vance, Businessweek:

In demonstrations at his laboratory, Perlman showed off iPhones, Surface tablets, and TVs streaming massive files — the 4K UltraHD version of House of Cards from Netflix, for example — via his own wireless networking equipment. The demonstration proved not only that the high-speed wireless technology worked but also that it would work with existing devices that support LTE.

Steve Perlman’s Artemis Networks is putting up pCell transmitters that generate cell signals 1,000 times faster on about 350 San Francisco rooftops. This is looking good: Google Fiber at home and Artemis pCell while away. I wonder how much it’ll cost…

Google Fiber Coming to San Jose, California

Google Fiber Blog: Google has invited 34 cities in nine metropolitan areas in the U.S. to explore what it would take to build Google Fiber. One of those cities is where I live: San Jose, California. I’m excited.

I’m excited at the thought of not getting ripped off. Right now our neighborhood has access to broadband from Comcast and AT&T U-verse. The fastest U-verse plan costs $66 for 24Mbps. Comcast offers a better value: 50Mbps for $77 per month, and tops off at 105Mbps for $115 per month. But nothing touches Google Fiber: $70 for 1024Mbps (1Gbps). That’s almost 43 times faster than AT&T’s 24Mbps for $4 less, and 20 times faster than Comcast’s 50Mbps for $7 less. That’s what I call bang for your buck.

Google has only initiated talks with the city of San Jose so it’s not a done deal, but I do hope the good city of San Jose will realize how happy its residents will be when Google Fiber becomes available. I for one will be and can’t wait.

Samsung Galaxy S5

There’s a rumor the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5 will feature a fingerprint sensor built into the home button. SamMobile:

The sensor itself works in a swipe manner, which means that you would need to swipe the entire pad of your finger, from base to tip, across the home key to register your fingerprint properly. Also, you would need to keep your finger flat against the home key and swipe at a moderate speed or else it won’t recognise your fingerprint. The fingerprint sensor is sensitive to moisture, as well. So, don’t try to use it with wet fingers because it will, literally, give you an error and tell you to dry your fingers first.

I haven’t heard many good things about swipe fingerprint sensors. I have an old ThinkPad with a fingerprint reader, which is of the swipe variety. I played with it a while and realized the added security is not worth the frustration of it not properly registering my fingerprints. The fingerprint reader was never used again on that ThinkPad. Yes, it was an old ThinkPad circa 2004 I think, so swipe fingerprint sensors will have definitely improved.

There are more rumors. Samsung will most likely unveil the Galaxy S5 at its Unpacked 5 event on February 24 in Barcelona, Spain during Mobile World Congress. The rumor originates from Chinese website Tencent and is reported by GSM Arena: Samsung will incorporate a larger 5.25-inch LTPS LCD, not OLED, manufactured by Sharp. The pixel format is 2560×1440 for a resolution of 560 ppi. If true this will be a move by Samsung that breaks tradition as all Galaxy S-line of smartphones have used OLED displays. The reasons may be the difficulty of miniaturizing OLED pixels, which is more challenging than doing the same with LCD, and Samsung concluded it cannot manufacture enough 5.25-inch 2560×1440 OLED displays due to lower yields for what will be a highly anticipated smartphone.

If this rumor ends up being true — a 5.25-inch LTPS LCD with 2560×1440 pixels and (I’m adding this part) IPS-like features such as wide viewing angles, accurate colors, and little color/contrast/brightness — the Galaxy S5 would sport the most fantastic display on a smartphone. I hope the battery lasts.

Update 2014.02.24

Dan Seifert, The Verge:

The S5’s display is ever so slightly larger at 5.1 inches, but it’s still a 1080p, Super AMOLED panel that doesn’t look very different from the S4’s screen.

Oh well, I guess all that chatter about a 2560×1440 IPS LCD was just a hopeful rumor.

John Gruber on the Galaxy S5:

The perfect phone for people with no taste.

Gruber can be so direct.

BlackBerry’s John Chen’s Response to T-Mobile’s BlackBerry-for-iPhone 5s Anti-BlackBerry Campaign

Last week T-Mobile emailed BlackBerry users with an offer to upgrade to an iPhone 5s for zero down. BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen is ‘outraged’. Chen’s response while not too surprising for someone in his position is a bit overblown.

If I were a BlackBerry user on T-Mobile and wanted to purchase a new non-refurbished BlackBerry phone on T-Mobile I only have one choice: the year old BlackBerry Curve 9315. (Yes, a more modern refurbished BlackBerry Q10 is also available.) I would have been wondering if BlackBerry is going to be around much longer. Whether BlackBerry will continue to sell directly to non-enterprise customers. Whether I should upgrade to an iPhone or Android or perhaps even to a Windows Phone phone. (I just have to take this opportunity to mention one more time — and this will probably not be the last time — how idiotic it was to name a phone operating system that ends with phone. It would be similar to Microsoft naming its PC operating system Windows Personal Computer. Okay, rant over, back to BlackBerry.) As a BlackBerry user on T-Mobile I wouldn’t be sure what I needed to do. This situation is not caused by T-Mobile, Apple, all the Android smartphone brands, or Nokia or Microsoft. BlackBerry’s incompetence is to blame. If Chen wants to be outraged he should be outraged at how much resources (people, time, money, etc.) have been wasted designing, building, marketing, selling, subpar smartphones, if you can call them that, like the Curve 9315 for so long.

I have no data to back this up but my guess is the Curve 9315 as well as the refurbished Q10 are probably not selling all that well relative to the iPhones and Android smartphones available on T-Mobile. Do you think T-Mobile would want to spend its resources trying to sell something very few people want? Of course not. And instead of letting its current BlackBerry users move to a different carrier with more BlackBerry devices to choose from — Verizon has five of them, including two that might appeal to a slightly broader crowd — T-Mobile is campaigning to keep them. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Here’s Chen:

Finally, to T-Mobile, I would like to remind you that our long-standing partnership was once productive and profitable for both BlackBerry and T-Mobile.

Even Chen admits things have changed.