4K/Ultra HD smartphones to hit in 2015; will it make sense?

You need to wait till 2015 for smartphones with 4K/Ultra HD, said ABI Research.

But consumers need not excite because 4K/Ultra HD will be more about marketing and differentiation for smartphone vendors.

For smartphone consumers, differences between 4K/Ultra HD and 2K or Quad HD are incremental and not dramatic.

However, because of the relatively close proximity of the smartphone screen to the mobile user, it is possible for some consumers to see and benefit from these higher resolutions. But mobile consumer experience will not be significant.

A report from ABI Research suggests that 2K or Quad HD screens currently occupy the premium end of the smartphone.

The most interesting aspect is the lack of availability of content suitable for viewing on 4K.

ABI Research senior analyst Michael Inouye said: “While some content owners and broadcasters have or are preparing to launch 4K programming, video resolution delivered to mobile devices will continue to lag behind screen pixel densities.”

But the market is gearing up for 4K. While mobile device components, such as processor, memory and in some cases batteries, are gearing up to handle 4K, network and infrastructure elements remain challenging.

ABI Research said key video services like several under the UltraViolet umbrella still largely distribute content to mobile devices in SD. Content protection and data utilization concerns are part of the issue, but consumers also have not demanded higher resolution video in adequate numbers for services to respond.

Apple iPad Air tablet, iPad mini with Retina display ready for purchase from today

User-generated content (UGC) and productivity, however, could offer consumers additional ways to benefit from high resolution screens; the popularity of GoPro broadcasting, for example, shows the demand for high resolution UGC.

Mobile device manufacturers are also considering LTE Broadcast as an outlet for next generation video broadcasting. These rely on HEVC, but are initially unlikely to push broadcast resolution.

“OTT services will focus first on 4K delivery to Smart TVs, with HD to mobile devices. New connections like wired MHL 3.0 and wireless 802.11ad can help position mobile devices as a hub for streaming high quality video and gaming to TVs,” said ABI Research practice director Sam Rosen.

The report said Qualcomm’s acquisition of Wilocity and push of 802.11ad could further encourage OTT companies and TV manufacturers to embrace the technology and bring high resolution video to TVs via mobile devices.

Pix: indication of a high quality screen and not connected to 4K

Baburajan K


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