Could we see HDR smartphone screens go big in 2017?

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

HDR-capable TV sets are all the rage right now, delivering a brighter, more vivid image than traditional television screens are capable of. What about the smartphone arena though?

Well, call me an idiot, but I didn’t realise that the Galaxy Note 7 had a screen capable of displaying HDR content. But what about other handsets?

Qualcomm has confirmed that they’re getting on the bandwagon too, with the upcoming Snapdragon 835 chip. The chipmaker says you can expect the new processor to pack support for HDR 10 playback.

Of course, Samsung is expected to pack the chip into some of its S8 models and, when combined with the Note 7’s HDR screen, it’s looking ever likely that we’ll see HDR-enabled displays on the S8.

The fact that Qualcomm supports the standard is a boon for other manufacturers as well — but it’s worth noting that just because they support it, doesn’t mean it’ll happen. After all, the Snapdragon 820 supports 28-megapixel cameras, while the older Snapdragon 810 featured support for 55-megapixel cameras. And we didn’t see phones with these sorts of specs.

Interestingly enough, Apple is also edging in the HDR direction. The iPhone 7’s Wide Colour Gamut screens push the limits of LCD tech, according to DisplayMate‘s tests. And with a heavily rumoured shift to HDR-friendly OLED screens, expect Apple to continue pushing in this department.

The mobile industry is pushing for high screen/body ratios, but could HDR be a much better improvement?

Then there’s also the question of HDR content but, fortunately, we’re seeing progress on this front. Both Netflix and Amazon Prime feature HDR support for a long time now, while YouTube got on the bandwagon in November.

If anything is a certainty in the display department though, it’s that high screen/body ratios are set to be the in-thing for 2017.

Pioneered by the Sharp Aquos Crystal and more recently, the Xiaomi Mi Mix, this sees the display effectively pushing the bezels off the front of the phone. What you’re left with is an expansive screen from the top to the bottom, and from left to right.

Numerous leaks report that Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and LG’s G6 will feature high screen/body ratios, making for a visually striking design. But you can’t help but wonder whether this type of display is going to lead to more cases of cracked screens…

In any event, HDR technology has only just become the big thing for TVs, while barely in its infancy on mobile. But it does seem like a no-brainer and a substantial improvement for smartphones too. Well, more meaningful than 3D and edge to edge displays…



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