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4K smart phones: a stunning vision or dispensable fad?

Posted by Hannah Wright on 22nd April 2015

This week, Sharp announced the first smartphone screen capable of showing images in a stunning 4K quality – four times the resolution of standard high definition screens. And, despite higher resolutions typically draining battery life, Sharp has promised to overcome this bugbear while providing a smart phone with crystal clear picture quality.

Sounds like a dream, right? Think again…

An unnecessary concept

For some cynics, there is a question mark over the true benefit of 4K consumer smartphones. Experts are arguing that our eyes cannot make out this extra sharp resolution on such a small screen, claiming “the screen must be quite large and you must sit fairly close”. This raises the question as to whether manufacturers will be involved in 4K smartphones solely to market themselves in a fresh and innovative way and boost sales.

Some consumers are also skeptical as to whether there is a true need for this future technology. The debate as to whether wearables are being fully adopted motors on, with a third of consumers not using them after just six months. It could easily be the case that this ‘early abandonment’ will filter into the use of 4K smartphones.

Vision of the future

But as we’re spending an average of over five hours a week watching content on mobile devices, why shouldn’t the quality on our mobile phones be as good as our HD TVs? These smartphones will also be capable of filming video in 4K, providing amazing opportunities for wannabe filmmakers and ‘YouTubers’ to make professional-looking videos on affordable smart phone devices.

Personally, I think 4K will become the default way we consume content on our devices. I was recently given an old (now discontinued) TV set. It was only when I started watching my favourite programme in a fuzzy, granular quality that I could truly understand the quality and enjoyment that a high definition experience can bring – especially for consumers that are used to having the ‘crème de la crème’ of technology at their fingertips.

And it’s not just me that thinks this. Analysts are confident of the strong uptake of 4K, claiming it’s not a case of ‘if’ consumers will adopt it, but actually a case of ‘when’. Perhaps if we all start to think with a more open mind about the future of ultra high quality definition, it could certainly be our future.

photo credit: 50×50 resolution eye

Hannah Wright

After joining in 2011, Hannah brings a wealth of experience across both consumer and B2B PR.