Google 10-inch tablet would push display tech envelope

Web giant's tablet partnership with Samsung could muscle in on Apple's technological leadership turf.

The Nexus 7 currently has a display with a 216 PPI.  That would jump to about 300 with a 10-inch Nexus tablet.
The Nexus 7 currently has a display with a 216 PPI. That would jump to about 300 with a 10-inch Nexus tablet. Google

Google's tablet partnership with Samsung could yield some cutting-edge component tech, not the least of which is the pixel-packing display.

The 10.1-inch tablet -- expected in the first half of next year -- should boast a pixel density that is higher than any tablet on the market now. That includes the 8.9-inch display on the Kindle Fire HD and the 9.7-incher on Apple's third-generation iPad.

But it won't be a cakewalk for Samsung to get there: squeezing a 2,560x1,600 pixel density screen into a 10.1-inch tablet will push the display-manufacturing tech envelope -- not unlike the manufacturing feats Apple demands from its production partners.

As a yardstick, consider the upcoming 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. That is expected to put 2,560x1,600 pixels (the same pixel count as the 10-inch Google tablet) into a 13.3-inch display. That yields a PPI (pixel per inch) of about 227. But by stuffing that density into a 10-inch screen, the PPI jumps to just shy of 300.

That begins to approach the 326 PPI on Apple's iPhone, which, of course, uses a much smaller 4-inch screen.

All of this becomes possible for Google because of its partner, Samsung. Ironically, the South Korean company supplies -- or has supplied -- Apple with the most cutting-edge of cutting-edge liquid crystal displays (LCDs), including those on the Retina iPad and Retina 15.4-inch MacBook Pro.

And of course Samsung makes the AMOLED screens -- a different kind of display tech -- used on its own Galaxy phones.

In fact, Samsung is the only company that successfully manufactures both high-volume advanced AMOLED and LCD screens. But the high-density PPI action is currently centered on LCDs -- not AMOLED. Sharp, for example, announced the start of production of a 5-inch 443 PPI display last week.

But if Sharp is able to make those kinds of LCDs, you can bet Samsung probably can too -- and will.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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