Intel warns of impending high-resolution explosion

April 13, 2012 // 11:22 a.m.

Tags: #all-in-one #apple #high-definition #intel #ipad #iphone #laptop #notebook #pc #pixels-per-inch #retina-display #ultrabooks

Intel has indicated that it predicts laptops and desktops to go high-resolution as early as next year, with the PC market following Apple into the world of the 'retina-class' display.

Unlike Apple's efforts, which are limited to small-scale screens on its iPhone and iPad products, Intel predicts that high-resolution displays will be the order of the day across ultrabooks, laptops and all-in-one systems.

High-resolution computer monitors are nothing new, of course, but typical laptops top out at 1920x1080. Intel's vision of the future, outlined in slides obtained by Liliputing, sees 11in Ultabooks getting displays capable of 2560x1440, or around 250 pixels per inch.

The larger 13in Ultrabooks go a step further: Intel predicts that by 2013, these displays will offer a 2800x1800 native resolution, while 15in laptops will sit somewhere in the region of 3840x2160. Large-format 21in all-in-one systems, meanwhile, will offer a display of around 220 pixels per inch at 3840x2160.

The differing pixel densities, which sees hand-held devices hit 300 pixels per inch, laptops hit 250 pixels per inch and all-in-one systems hit 220 pixels per inch, should all allow for a 'retina'-like experience, Intel claims. The reason for this is the difference in viewing distances: the further away from the display you are, the lower the pixel density required to cause individual pixels to disappear and a smooth image appear in their place.

While Intel isn't confirming that future products will definitely come equipped with high-resolution displays - it can't, given that it doesn't actually make any display panels itself - it is warning that the ecosystem should start preparing as if it were a given.

There's plenty to do: as owners of Apple's new iPad are finding, having a high-resolution display is nothing without the infrastructure behind it. Web developers will need to ensure graphics are of a high enough resolution that they won't appear blocky or blurred, or switch to a scalable format such as SVG; games developers will need to use higher-resolution textures, which in turn means that graphics card makers will need to equip their hardware with more memory and higher processing power; even streaming media may have to look beyond the usual 1080p High Definition format to keep viewers happy.

Although Intel is predicting the appearance of high-resolution devices as early as next year, it will likely be a while before the format reaches majority saturation: industry watcher StatCounter revealed that 1366x768 has overtaken 1024x768 as the dominant screen resolution for web use on non-mobile platforms for the first time this week, despite manufacturers having standardised on widescreen displays for many years.

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