Philips OneSpace

Philips:

OneSpace integrates LED lights with textile to create a white light ceiling that hides the source of light completely.

Finally, I can have the ceiling I’ve wanted for years.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Review by Raymond Soneira

Raymond Soneira:

Based on our extensive Lab tests and measurements, the Galaxy S5 is the Best performing Smartphone display that we have ever tested. It has a long list of new records for best Smartphone display performance including: Highest Brightness, Lowest Reflectance, Highest Color Accuracy, Infinite Contrast Ratio, Highest Contrast Rating in Ambient Light, and smallest Brightness Variation with Viewing Angle. The Galaxy S5 has raised the bar for top display performance up by another notch – an impressive achievement for OLED technology!

Having low reflectance on a smartphone is important because it makes using a smartphone out in the sun a lot easier, hence the “highest contrast rating in ambient light” record.

The Galaxy S5 Cinema Mode has the most accurate colors for any Smartphone or Tablet display that we have ever measured. This is especially important when viewing photos from family and friends (because you often know exactly what they actually should look like), for some TV shows, movies, and sporting events with image content and colors that you are familiar with, and also for viewing online merchandise, so you have a good idea of exactly what colors you’re buying and are less likely to return them.

I enjoy taking photos and color accuracy is critical to me. It is hard to imagine a display that’s significantly better than what’s in the iPhone 5s; I’ll have to take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S5 with my own eyes and see if I like it or not.

I’ve often shared on DisplayBlog that the display is the smartphone or tablet. Ray does mention contrast and color saturation are slightly high, and that could be a deal breaker for me, but if what Ray is saying is true, and I have no doubt it is, Samsung has focused on what is most important on a smartphone and came out ahead of the competition with the Galaxy S5.

Samsung UD590

PetaPixel: The Samsung UD590 is a 28-inch Ultra HD monitor with 10-bit pixels, which means a billion colors.

Ultra HD or UHD. I prefer not to use jargons, but the display industry is using the name Ultra HD to mean 3840×2160. I prefer 4K; it is simpler and 4K means something. Yes the number of horizontal pixels don’t get to 4000, but it’s close enough for everyone to figure out what 4K means. UHD on the other hand offers no clue as to its meaning.

A non-dithering 10-bit monitor will need 10-bit sub-pixels and a look up table (LUT) that can handle all those bits. Most monitors use three sub-pixels in a 3×1 format: red, green, blue. 10 bit means two to the 10th degree and that in turn means there are 1024 variations, per sub-pixel. Since there are three sub-pixels (1024x1024x1024) we get 1.07 billion. That’s 1 billion variations, or colors.

The Samsung UD590 sports a resolution of 157 ppi. With a distance of 22 inches (56 cm) or father the pixels on the UD590 becomes retina, meaning for most of us we won’t be able to decipher individual pixels.

There are two ways you can make use of all these pixels. One way is to put up humongous spreadsheets, four 1920×1080 video streams, edit 1080p video using Final Cut Pro with two 1080p windows side by side and all of the controls on the bottom, etc. There’s a lot you can do with more than 8 million pixels. The other way to use them is to pixel double: 2×2 pixels become a single pixel. If you use the UD590 or any other 4K monitor this way the effective pixel format becomes 1920×1080 but the fonts, icons, and everything on the display becomes smooth, as smooth as the iPhone (4 and up) or the retina MacBook Pros. This is how I would use it.

The Samsung UD590 isn’t cheap, but it isn’t as expensive as I thought it’d be: US$700. You can pre-order the UD590 on Amazon.

Steve Jobs: No, to TV

Jay Yarow, Business Insider:

One person asked if Apple was going to release a television next. There were already rumors all over the place that it was Apple’s next conquest.

Yukari says “Jobs didn’t hesitate.” He said, “No.”

“TV is a terrible business. They don’t turn over and the margins suck,” said Jobs.

This is an excerpt of Yukari Iwatani Kane’s Haunted Empire, which hasn’t garnered a lot of fans. Here’s what Jason Snell thinks about the book:

Apple after the death of Steve Jobs would be a fascinating topic for a book. This isn’t the book. Haunted Empire can’t get out of the way of its own Apple-is-doomed narrative to tell that story.

Back to TV. In my opinion the best TV is the dumbest TV. Dumb as in not smart, like the smart TVs we have now. What the TV should be smart about is to be smart about solving this challenging problem: what should it do to portray video information on the display so human beings can enjoy the experience of viewing that video information. That’s it.

Sounds like a simple problem, but it’s extremely difficult. For instance, let’s take a LCD TV located in an environment that has these three things happening: light coming in from the outside, incandescent lights to the left and right, and the viewer is off to the side. The TV needs to know how to manipulate each red, green, and blue primary colors to compensate for the net effect of the two external light color temperatures and the fact that the viewer is looking at the TV from an off angle. Instead of adding dumb smarts to TVs, this is the kind of smarts TVs, and we, really want. (By the way, B&O solved the problem of off-axis viewing by mechanically turning the TV toward the viewer.)

How the iPhone Got Into Japan

Bloomberg: SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son shared how he got the iPhone into Japan with Charlie Rose. He met Steve Jobs two years before Apple announced the iPhone and asked.

“I said, ‘Well, I don’t need to give you my dirty paper, but once you have your own product, give me for Japan.’ And he said, ‘Masa, you are crazy.’”

According to Son, Jobs said, “We have not talked to anybody, but you came to see me as the first guy. I’ll give it to you.” The negotiation continued, as Son asked that Jobs put in writing that Apple would give him exclusivity for the Japanese market. Jobs’s reply? “‘No! Masa, I’m not going to sign for you because you don’t even own a mobile carrier yet!’ And I said, ‘Well, look, Steve, you promised me. You gave me your word. I bring a carrier for Japan.’”

And he did. SoftBank spent more than $15 billion to buy Vodafone Group’s Japanese unit in 2006. Sure enough, SoftBank Mobile, then a distant third in the market, announced a deal with Apple in 2008 to carry the iPhone.

Sometimes you need to be crazy, and ask.

Sony Project Morpheus vs. Oculus Rift

Valentina Palladino, The Verge:

Sony’s first entry into the VR world matches the Oculus Rift on many fronts: Project Morpheus also has a 1080p display, although it’s LCD and not OLED, and has a slightly smaller field of view of 90 degrees. Verge reporter Adi Robertson noted that Morpheus’ screen is slightly blurrier than the Rift’s, and it’s unclear whether Sony could achieve the same low persistence technique Oculus can using its current LCD screen.

One of the advantages OLED has over LCD is response time: OLED is much faster. I haven’t had the pleasure, or displeasure, of wearing one of these VR headsets, but I would think one of the most important technical requirements for a pleasant, immersive experience is for information on the displays to update as fast as possible. So if you want to make a VR headset that people will actually want to use there is only one possible choice for the display, and it is OLED. There are, of course, some disadvantages to using OLED displays, but those disadvantages are not deal-breakers; a slightly slower display that results in blurry updates might very well be a deal breaker, especially if the additional milliseconds or microseconds lead to less than full immersion. But maybe the response times of the LCDs used in Sony’s Project Morpheus is good enough.

LG G Watch

LG UK tweeted a closer look of the upcoming LG G Watch. The display looks like a square, but the thicker upper and lower bezels make the body of the G Watch rectangular. I prefer square to rectangle, and prefer the Motorola Moto 360 to the LG G Watch. That’s just me.

I think the Moto 360 will end up being too expensive because every component had to be custom because of the circular industrial design. The rectangular smartwatches like the LG G Watch look like they will be cheaper and cater to a larger market. Where I think the sweet spot will be is a smartwatch with a circular face, much like the analog watches that are higher end, but with a rectangular body.

With this combination the display can still be square or rectangular but with software make the face of the watch circular. Of course nearly all components for an entirely new genre of gadgets like smartwatches will require some level of customization, but a square-ish body will make customizations less expensive. I’m fairly sure a square display is a lot cheaper to manufacture and integrate than a circular one.

Oh, and material selection will become even more important with smartwatches than it has been with smartphones. I don’t think plastic will work very well in convincing the high end of the market, and neither will bigger displays. But who knows, it’s a brand new market; maybe we’ll see Samsung come out with huge smartwatches you can write on with a stylus, and millions might love them: the Samsung Galaxy Gear Note!

Moto 360

Beautiful.

Update 2014.03.19

Wall Street Journal: Joanna Stern had a chat with Lior Ron, VP of Product Management and Wearables Lead at Motorola about whether or not Moto 360 is real. Here’s Ron’s response:

It is a very real product. I am wearing it on my hand as we speak and have been using it for the last few weeks. It’s very, very real, I promise. I am touching it right now.

I guess it’s real. And about that circular display:

It was a challenge to design. All the components have to be put in a round form factor so we used very unique materials and internals.

We aren’t sharing yet the screen size or resolution, but we thought through the size very carefully. We ended up with a size that is very comfortable. We took a hard look at materials that will convey the sense of quality. We have used metals and we are going to have metal and leather straps available.

Here’s a bit more about how Motorola came to decide Moto 360 should be circular. From The Verge‘s David Pierce and Motorola’s design chief Jim Wicks chat:

After two rounds of designs, prototypes, and tepid internal reactions, Motorola went back to the basics. Rather than reinvent wristwear or build a blocky rectangle like the Galaxy Gear or the Pebble Steel, Motorola decided to mimic what it hoped to replace: the elegant watches we’ve had on our wrists for decades. “We came to the realization that if we’re going to do this, we need to really embrace what this space is all about,” he says. So Motorola turned the Moto 360 into a beautiful, circular stainless-steel wearable that looks more like a Timex than a Moto X. Wicks says it got the same reaction from all the industry experts he showed it to: “Yep, that’s a watch.”

The round face is definitely a classic design, though that doesn’t preclude the body from being a square. One of my favorite watch design is the Bell & Ross BR 01-92.

LG 2014 TV Lineup

LG:

LG Electronics (LG) today introduced its 2014 TV lineup in Korea, unveiling a total of 68 new models including ULTRA HD TVs in sizes ranging from 49 to 105 inches, its largest collection to date. Among its new models is LG’s ground breaking 105-inch Curved ULTRA HD TV in addition to its smaller 65-, 55- and 49-inch curved 4K units.

On March 11, 2014 LG unveiled a total of 68 new TV models in South Korea. Perhaps there needs to be a bit more focus?

Curved 4K TVs if used as a TV in the living room aren’t going to be that useful, but curved 4K TVs if used as a monitor in the home office will. Think of it this way: Wouldn’t you love to work at a workstation with a 2×2 multi-screen setup? Of course you do. Four 24-inch 1920×1080 monitors in a 2×2 format is equivalent to one 48-inch 3840×2160 monitor. Now imagine it curved. Beautiful isn’t it?

4.5-inch 1280×720 iPhone

My hand hasn’t grown since the iPhone 4. The dimensions of the iPhone 4 and 4S were perfect for my hands. These iPhones had a 3.5-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio. I would have preferred if Apple had kept the same display on the iPhone 5 and made the chassis thinner and lighter and longer lasting. That would have been perfect, but of course that didn’t happen.

The display in the iPhone 5 grew larger to 4.0 inches and the aspect ratio went from 3:2 to 16:9, or to make an apples to apples easier to understand comparison 1.5:1 to 1.78:1. The iPhone 5s and 5c is the same. The dimensions of the iPhone 5 are no longer perfect for my same sized hands. I have to reposition my iPhone when I want to tap the icon on the far corners. As you might have guessed the satisfaction of using an iPhone has gone down, because the display size grew larger to the point where one-handed operation required more work than before. I’ve gotten used to it, but if I had the choice I’d be using a 3.5-inch 3:2 iPhone 5.

But the world doesn’t mind big, at all. The world doesn’t mind bulging pants, having to carry a purse or a murse, or using a phone with two hands. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 sports a gigantic, by my standards, 5.7-inch 16:9 display and lots of people like it, because it’s big. Samsung has had much success with its big screen strategy: the 4.8-inch Galaxy S3, the 5.0-inch Galaxy S4, the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5, and the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2. The Galaxy Note 4 is rumored to feature an even larger display.

I don’t know why Apple decided to make the display bigger and change the aspect ratio, but it happened. That to me means Apple doesn’t consider there to be one perfect size for the iPhone for all time. Up until the iPhone 4S the perfect size was 3.5 inches with a 3:2 aspect ratio. Starting from the iPhone 5 series Apple considers a 4-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio to be the perfect size. Would Apple make the iPhone bigger?

I don’t know, but if it were to happen I think Apple would choose a 4.5-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and specifically a 1280×720 pixel format. Why?

The one thing that remained the same between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5 is the resolution: 326 ppi. Could Apple change that up? Sure, but for the sake of argument let’s assume Apple’s going to keep resolution the same. There’s plenty of good reasons, but one of most important is with the same resolution the visual experience is consistent.

Just for the heck of it I made a Numbers spreadsheet that automatically calculates resolution, as in PPI, when I input the diagonal size and pixel format, as in 1280×720. When I put in 4.5 and 1280×720 guess what the spreadsheet spat out for PPI? 326. And 1280×720 is way neater than, what is it now? I can’t remember.