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Samsung Develops World's First three-inch VGA LCD 173

Posted by Hemos
from the teeny-tiny dept.
Nomad05 writes "Samsung announced this week it has developed the world's first three-inch VGA LCD panel that "directly meets industry interface standards for digital still cameras." What this means is that future LCD screens on digital cameras will allow multimedia to be viewed at a resolution of 640x480. Presently, a majority of camera LCDs only display multimedia at a resolution of 320x240 — significantly lower in quality than Samsung's new LCD. In layman's terms, expect significantly brighter, more detailed LCD displays, which will enable you to review your photography more thoroughly after you take an exposure. This innovation will make it easier to spot blurry images and ensure your photo is framed properly. "
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Samsung Develops World's First three-inch VGA LCD

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  • by halivar (535827) <bfelgerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:38PM (#15896841) Homepage
    In my day, we had 320x200, and 16 colors. By God, we were thankful for it!
  • 20 bucks (Score:2, Funny)

    by Linkiroth (952123)
    Says that this ends up in a rock on someone's dashboard on that MTV show "pimp my ride".
    • Nah. The screen will end up in a rock, inside the owners' snake's habitat under the rear seat in an old nazimobile.
    • Re:20 bucks (Score:2, Funny)

      by Kankraka (936176)
      Actually, this is a perfect display for what I had planned for just that. An in car media center powered by a mac mini :). I was saddened by the fact I would have to butcher some crappy "portable dvd player" and use a DVI to S-video adapter to do it half assed, and subsequently gave up on it. I may just be able to do it after all :D. It's so perfect, remote included, iTunes visuals for the eyecandy, mobile web and what not through wifi! Add more songs/videos from your driveway! And it all stashes under the
  • Batteries ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sb1 (930524)
    Don't get me wrong, this is a step in the right direction.

    But now your batteries will last really long now!!

    • Not really, the backlight is the power eater. Think of a solar powered calculators LCD screen.
    • Re:Batteries ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by adrianmonk (890071) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:57AM (#15897411)
      But now your batteries will last really long now!!

      I'm sure it won't have a positive effect, but it may not have as much of a negative effect as you'd think. Back when I was doing Palm OS programming, I kept track of the trends in Palm hardware, and most of their machines are battery-powered devices using 320x480 displays (so half this resolution). Hardware review sites would do various battery life tests on new units, including various combinations of display off and on, CPU running and idle (and therefore halted and using very little power), backlight off and on, etc. And what I remember noticing is that the LCD really doesn't take up nearly as much power as you'd think. It's mostly the other parts of the device that use up the real power.

      Also, I'm not really sure that a higher-res display will use much more power at all. Most of the power used is from the backlight, if I recall correctly, and that is going to be proportional mainly to the total area -- it shouldn't matter much how many pixels there are in that are. As for brightness increases, if this means a brighter backlight, then it might use more power (assuming all other things are equal), but with an LCD, there are two ways to increase brightness: one is to brighten up the backlight, and the other is to reduce the amount of light that the LCD blocks. The latter means you can get a brighter screen with the same backlight. If they do that, then it wouldn't necessarily increase power usage at all.

      • Yes, but...

        I've recently read a set of reviews about Pocket PCs, and several different authors have emphasized that those that run at 640x480 have a shorter battery life. I haven't tested this myself.

        On the other hand, I've interacted with many Palm OS devices thruout the years, and indeed I can say that screen resolution didn't have an impact on battery life. The factors that _are_ behind that are the wireless interfaces.
        • The biggest drain on a screen's battery life is the backlight. This drain is proportional to the physical area of the screen, not the logical area. A 4" 320x240 display is likely to have a worse battery life than a 3" 640x480 display.

          That said, my Nokia 770, which is now over six months old, has a 4.1" 800x480 screen. I think this works out at about the same pixel density as a 3" 640x480 screen and the fact that they can make larger screens implies a higher yield. Since this is a shipping product, it m

        • Play with a scrap LCD sometime. Remove the filters and conductive strips (those little rubber-looking thingies for the folks who are totally nontechnical) while and touch where the conductive strips normally reside while holding the panel up to the light. Notice that many LCD pixels will flicker on and off as you move your fingers. This is because the current provided by contact with the electrolyte (the moisture in your body) is sufficient to drive the pixels.

          The fourfold increase in resolution's increase
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:49PM (#15896885) Homepage Journal
    If you go to Intel and ask for one unit of their latest embedded processor, they'll sell you a technology demonstrator kit. It's cost more per unit than if you were buying 200,000 units, but you can actually get one. The same pretty much goes for RAM chips or USB chips or whatever. Not for displays though. For some reason you can only buy displays by the thousands, unless you buy one from someone who has already bought them by the thousands. Most of the time it is cheaper to buy some consumer electronics device which has the component you're interested in it and pull it apart.
    • The entire LCD display industry currently operates at a per unit loss, so they have to make it up in volume.

      No, I am not making that up.

      KFG
      • by Millenniumman (924859) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @11:16PM (#15896996)
        bool verification = [[aboveComment Find:@"entire LCD display industry" andReplace:@"Microsoft XBox division"] verify];
        NSLog("&@", verification);


        Log:

        true
        • In your code, bool should probably be BOOL; bool is the C++ and C99 boolean type, while BOOL is the Objective-C version (intentionally different so you can mix the two). Your NSLog statement will output '&@.' The correct way of escaping an NSLog string is with %, not &. You also need to prefix the string with an @, or it will fail to compile, since NSLog expects an Objective-C string, not a C string. If you did NSLog(@"%@", verification); which I think is what you meant, then it will most likely
      • The entire LCD display industry currently operates at a per unit loss, so they have to make it up in volume.

        Your statement makes absolutely no sense. The only thing selling at a per unit loss in high volumes will get you is high losses. $0 x 1,000,000 units is still $0. Worse yet, -$10 x 1,000,000 units is -$10,000,000. You tend not to stay in business with that kind of model.

        • Your statement makes absolutely no sense. The only thing selling at a per unit loss in high volumes will get you is high losses.

          Exactly. That's the point of the orginal joke; and what, I hope, made my joke on the joke funny. Because it's true.

          Other poster has it pretty much right with his joke about the Xbox, we're talking pretty much the same sales model. The display makers are locked in a tech/market dominance war and have been bleeding cash for years, each hoping to make it up by being the last man stand
          • Exactly. That's the point of the orginal joke; and what, I hope, made my joke on the joke funny. Because it's true.

            Rather like the First Citiwide Change Bank on Saturday Night Live many years ago. :-)
          • Exactly. That's the point of the orginal joke; and what, I hope, made my joke on the joke funny.

            Sorry, guess I didn't catch the humor in it... That's what happens when you read replies out of context, I suppose...

            • The great thing about the Internet is the way it allows people of all nations, all ages and all backgrounds to miscommunicate with each other.

              I don't know who, where or how old you are. If you don't know the joke I used, which is quite possible; and that it is a joke, it would necessarily go over your head. It might have helped to have read a bit of Dave Barry to understand the cultural meaning of the phrase "I'm not making this up," which implies that "I'm not making this up," but. . . there is a joke in h
          • The display makers are locked in a tech/market dominance war and have been bleeding cash for years, each hoping to make it up by being the last man standing. They can "afford" to do this because they have other, profitable, lines covering the losses. We're not talking garage businesses here. We're talking Samsung and the like.

            I wonder if that's why the 15" 1024x768 displays have been pretty much abandoned as a market? And the 17" 1024x768 LCD displays seem to be headed the same way as well.

            (There are
          • by pipingguy (566974) *
            Somewhat off-topic, but what's the big deal with widescreen LCD these days? Are you actually getting more screen area than a 4:3 display?

            It'd also be nice if manufacturers would be more upfront about the fact that SLI doesn't work with a dual monitor setup.
        • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @03:23AM (#15897449)

          Your statement makes absolutely no sense. The only thing selling at a per unit loss in high volumes will get you is high losses.
          That would be false.

          You make the false assumption that cost per unit is constant regardless of volume. That is rarely the case in real life, and especially not so in the case of high-tech manufacturing.

          There are a bunch of very large fixed costs - the highlights include R&D and the construction of the manufacturing plant. If the marginal manufacturing cost is less than the selling price, then the higher your volumes, the more units there are to amortize those fixed costs. Thus larger volumes mean smaller losses.

          Presuming your marginal cost is relatively constant, then at some point larger volumes will mean a cross from red to black, or in other words profitability. But even if that point is unattainable (say for instance it is larger than the total market) you still lose less money by selling higher volumes.

          I realize this site is not MBAdot, but this stuff is basic econ101 and shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who went to college, or even the honors track in high school.
          • What you're arguing is that each unit makes slightly more money than materials, so you have to sell a lot to make up the cost of infrastucture. Duh, no shit, basic econ.

            I don't know what KFG was talking about, but 'per unit loss' sounds like "Each unit sells for less than cost of materials". Which would mean you're losing money per unit ON TOP of infrastucture. What I'm guessing is going on here (assuming kfg's not talking out of his ass, and I'm not being dumb), is that they have, for example, some deal
        • You are ignoring the effect of cross subsidization. There are reasons an manufacturer might produce and sell something at a loss. The first reason is one line subsizes another. Lets say I am an electronics component manufacturer. I make a nice tidy margin selling CMOS based imaging chips for use in digital cameras. I also make LCD displays, the market is tight and I can hardly get any margin from them. Like all customers mine(some of which build cameras) like things easy they would like to buy most of
    • The issues with displays is that there are really only 6 or 7 companies that actually make them. Mostly all in Taiwan, and the fabs cost billions to make in Taiwan. (Which means 10s of billions in the US or Japan, or any country with actual environmental laws). They are running full tilt, automated, and make 2 meter on a side flat pieces of glass.

      Now experimenting with tfts is all well and good, but the amount of money spent on R&D per unit can be staggering and is responsible for a good deal of spin

  • Enjoy the fun of 8 times your usual battery usage!
  • In Layman's Terms... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by glancep (306226)

    Samsung's new LCD. In layman's terms, expect significantly brighter, more detailed LCD displays, which will enable you to review your photography more thoroughly after you take an exposure. This innovation will make it easier to spot blurry images and ensure your photo is framed properly.

    So, when we are explaining new tech to people who do not know better, we can just make stuff up, right? Okay, maybe I could buy that you can verify framing easire in some circumstances, but how does resolution have anythin

    • I'm going to go ahead and assume that TFA mentions something about a backlight. But since brightness=quality in most people's eyes (compared to contrast, which actually gives a more accurate picture), they might as well just make stuff up since they have no idea what to really look for when buying stuff.
    • "but how does resolution have anything to do with brightness"

      The extra resolution won't mean much if you're looking at a screen that's too dark...
  • by KingDork2K3 (455980) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @11:07PM (#15896960) Homepage
    3.2 Megapixel Phone Camera in Japan with VGA LCD

    http://www.vodafone.jp/english/products/model_3G/v 904sh/index.html [vodafone.jp]
  • This innovation will make it easier to spot blurry images

    That's assuming you don't suffer from hyperopia.

    What I'm looking forward to is a few years from now, when my 15.4" laptop screen will have the same DPI as this new panel. Of course it will take a couple gigs of dedicated VRAM, but the SVG based www of the future sure will look crisp on it!

    Dan East
  • VGA at 3" -> a pixel every .095mm, "a human can resolve distances of about 0.93 millimeters at a distance of one meter" wikipedia, 1000 / .93 * .095 = 102mm

    So any farther than 10cm (3.9") from the display and you cant see the full detail of the image displayed. I guess it will work.
    • Re:Stay close (Score:2, Interesting)

      by XHIIHIIHX (918333)
      it's 10 (+.2) cm (4.0"), you rounded down twice. The image will be better between 4" and 8", 1/2 vga = .190 mm using your numbers. That's about the distance where you look at a camera picture.
    • We can't see motion faster than 30fps, either, yet anyone will tell you that 60fps looks much smoother. Likewise, refresh rates higher than 60Hz on a CRT shouldn't matter, but in reality 75Hz is better.
  • What do we need that for on Slashdot?
  • Getting 640x480 on something that is only 2-3 inches wide is fantastic. If you think about it, that's about 200 dpi, which is pretty darned sharp. (Your average 17" screen is running 1024x768.)

    I'd love to see PDAs/Cellphones take advantage of higher resolution displays, too. Though I don't know how that would affect power consumption or processing power.
    • Re:This is Great (Score:3, Informative)

      by Aphrika (756248)
      Even more stunning is the screen on the Sony UX180 [tomshardware.co.uk]. That's running a 4.5" diagonal display (about 4" x 2.25") at a resolution of 1024 x 600, which is absolutely phenomenal.

      Add to that it's Xbrite and touchscreen capabilities and I reckon it's pretty much about as good as you can get at the moment - sort of coming in at around 260 dpi. When you run Cleartype on it in Windows, the anti-aliasing is virtually invisible, it just looks like paper.

      Regarding the power consumption - AFAIK, the UX180 screen is LED
  • by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @11:23PM (#15897014)
    Sharp and Toshiba both make PDA-sized VGA screens. Maybe NEC, too. I think the Toshiba is a 640x480 screen, while the Sharp is a 480x640 screen.

    Look up the Toshiba e805 PDA. Or the Dell Axim x51v (which can be had cheaply). Both feature a 3.8" VGA screen.

    So all that's been accomplished is the screen is an inch smaller.

    I've had QVGA screens that were 1.6" in size, so they had the same DPI as this screen...
  • Sounds like we are approaching 300 dpi resolution for LCDs. Can't wait to see this
    in 10" laptop screens (something like 1800x2400 displays) and in projectors.
    • Well,648x480 in a 3" display is closer to 200 DPI than 300, but it's still pretty damn good. This proves that Samsung is able to make very small pixels on an LCD. Now, if they can do the same on a much larger panel, (like Apple's 30" Cinema Display), I for one would be quite happy with such a product for several years at least.

      Of course, the smaller the feature size, the easier it is for a defect to take out a whole row or column of pixels. Still, it's just a matter of time.

      -jcr
  • by aibrahim (59031) <slashmail@zener3.14a.com minus pi> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @11:34PM (#15897051) Homepage Journal
    TFA says digital cameras, and then talks about 30Hz. Display syncing is not an issue for still applications- only for video.

    What this really means is that you will be able to get crystal clear standard definition screens on your camcorder.

    Of course its a bit late. A lot of the cameras now coming onto the market are shooting HDV and soon AVC HD- many in progressive formats and without the frame sync issues of SD video. So... they can include the older 60Hz LCD's and use frame doubling in the framebuffer. They can also use higher resolution small LCD's.

    Still this is a great technology, and being able to do this should help Samsung's institutional knowledge about LCD's in general. I hope to see some of these devices used in LCD field production monitors of varying sizes.

    SD ain't dead yet.
  • Say what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @11:49PM (#15897090) Homepage
    This innovation will make it easier to spot blurry images and ensure your photo is framed properly.

    Say what? The images that are rendered onto the tiny screen of a camera are sized down with aliasing algorithms. Although the resizing will happen at 640x480 instead, this will have little impact since we do no longer take memorable pictures at this resolution. Memory is so cheap now and I'm sure we can get four gigs under a hundred bucks soon, too. So, either way, the picture is always going to be scaled down and viewed in proper resolution once you've zoomed in a few times.

    Also, the higher resolution won't do anything at all for those of you who want to spot blurred pictures with more ease. Even if it's definitely a higher DPI, you end up watching at 3 inches which is very small, so blurred objects that appear not so sharp will appear sharp on this tiny display, simply because the blurred area will appear so small on a small screen, it won't even be noticable. Once again, zooming in is the only solution.

    Either way, I'm sure someone will come up with an algorithm that detects blurred images automatically. It may not be 100 percent proof, but that's still a lot better.

    I'm obviously trolling here, however. More DPI is always nice and I bet we can go to 1000 DPI before we stop bothering that much about it, but the arguments used in this article made no sense to me.
    • Say what? The images that are rendered onto the tiny screen of a camera are sized down with aliasing algorithms.

      Not necessarily. My Canon S80 has a manual zoom function. In that mode, the center of the screen is a 1:1 blowup of the CCD image so you can focus better.

      Either way, I'm sure someone will come up with an algorithm that detects blurred images automatically. It may not be 100 percent proof, but that's still a lot better.

      I've heard that's how many autofocus systems work these days. They u

    • Why even delete blurry photos? 1 GB SD cards are cheap, you might as well keep all the shots you take, you never know what you might get.
    • Memory is so cheap now and I'm sure we can get four gigs under a hundred bucks soon, too.

      For the Flash Card market (SD and CF):

      1GB - between $18 and $30 (usually $20 to $25)
      2GB - $32 to $50 ($40-$45 more likely)
      4GB - $65 to $120 ($70-$75 seems common)
      8GB - (CF only) - $140 to $285 (most are $140-$150)

  • Gee... (Score:2, Funny)

    by humungusfungus (81155)
    Wow. Jeepers. Glad that stuff was explained in layman's terms. Otherwise I wouldn't have had a clue.

    Is this slashdot or CNN?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The 640x480 pixel is much smaller than the 320x240, by a factor of four. There is much more total empty area around the pixels of the higher density LCD than there is around the 320x240. It may seem counter-intuitive, but that's only because some bozo is saying more pixels (actually, there are more, smaller pixels) give you more brightness. It's exactly the opposite.
  • This would be great for one of those DIY projectors [lumenlab.com].
  • I apologize for that -- I should have revised my submission and cut out all the fluff. The site it was written for is geared toward intermediate-advanced users of Digital SLR cameras and those with a general interest in photography. I certainly did not mean to discredit the intelligence of Sladhsot's tech-savvy audience.

    I would have included more specs and details on the brightness of the LCD and pixel count had I been more considerate. Again, my bad.

    Nomad05

  • It was hard enough reading text on the 5" screen of the Osborne 1 [wikipedia.org], especially when run in 80 column mode back in the 80s. Heck, not too many years before, geeks were having fun getting the HP-41C goose [hpmuseum.org] to fly backwards.

    Now these young whippersnappers at Samsung are rocking the boat! Get your microscopes out!
  • Presently, a majority of camera LCDs only display multimedia at a resolution of 320x240 -- significantly lower in quality than Samsung's new LCD. In layman's terms, expect significantly brighter, more detailed LCD displays, which will enable you to review your photography more thoroughly after you take an exposure. This innovation will make it easier to spot blurry images and ensure your photo is framed properly

    Am I the only one feeling that those few sentences were unneeded and even inappropriate for Sla

  • Sharp released the V-604SH phone in Japan earlier this year, which had a 640x480 screen in it. I don't know how Samsung qualifies their screen as a world first, but it would seem that their big claim is that it's 3-inches, where the Sharp screen is considerably smaller.

    Sharp V-604SH [vodafone.jp]

  • Not to nitpick, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vogon jeltz (257131)
    but "LCD displays"? Like "Liquid Crystal Display displays"?
    I mean come on, this is supposed to be a site for techno nerds.
  • They have a strategic agreement with Samsung, and at least one new semi-pro digital SLR camera due later this year (K10D ?). My only question would be: will there be enough space left on the back for the controls?
  • _That_ would be something!
  • In layman's terms, expect significantly brighter, more detailed LCD displays,

    Can we just fuck right off with the phrase "in layman's terms" and the accompanying explanation? This is slashdot, news for nerds. We are nerds. We are NOT laymen. Yes, we know what VGA is. Yes, we know what it means when you double the resolution of an LCD. To suggest we don't demonstrates the editor's complete ignorance of the readership.
  • Am I the only one wondering if the next iPod will have a VGA display?
  • So I make that 267 DPI. Is it possible yet to get a 200 DPI monitor for a desktop computer? Say, 17 inch?

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