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back to article Big screened quad-core Chinese beasts splash down at CES

Not content with squeezing out foreign rivals in their domestic market, China’s homegrown smartphone giants are set to make a splash overseas this month with some impressive handset designs including the world’s thinnest smartphone and a giant 6.1in phone/tablet hybrid. Leading the charge at this week’s annual gadget-fest CES in …

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Mushroom

Resolution

6.1" screen, 1080 x 1920

Now... why is it I can't get a reasonable resolution 15" laptop again?

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: Resolution

Probably because you're a cheapskate... or because Apple hasn't made screen resolution a key selling point on laptops the same way they did on phones and tablets.

Ironically phones don't need the resolutions now being used, while laptops do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Resolution

Isn't 1920 by 1080 on a relatively cheap Asus N56V good enough, then?

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Holmes

Re: Resolution

Presumably GettinSadda's point is that if 1080p is available on a cheap(ish) 6.1" handset then a 15" laptop should be able to do proportionally better. e.g. 2560x1660 should be nice.

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Silver badge

Re: Resolution

Being a cheapskate is nothing to with it... anything other than 16:9 is hard to find at any price. If El Reg wants to collect a list of high res / 16:10 / 4:3 laptops, that'd be nice.

It's not just the low pixel density on modern laptops that annoying, it's the aspect ratio. On Windows machines, vertical pixels are eaten up by the task bar, status and title bars, and sometimes a Ribbon like menu bar... not to mention websites with large banners and adverts that require some scrolling before even beginning to read the article. One of the many little irritations of Windows is that the taskbar will unhide at the slightest provocation and obscure the status or tool bar of whatever application you are using. (Another irritation was introducing a ribbon interface at about the same time letter-box displays became the norm... FFS!)

In addition, the centre of a 16:9 screen is is a lower position than that of a 16:10 screen, hardly conducive to a good working position. 16:10 is better but not perfect; ideally, you would have separate the screen from keyboard so that both may be placed in their optimum position... hopefully, time will come that a mobile workstation solution will consist of a tablet, mouse and keyboard- acting as a thin client for CPUs/GPUs sitting in a bag at your feet.

(hoping my old 1920x1200 fantastic plastic Dell keeps on trooping on til that day)

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Silver badge

Re: Resolution

Ah, another Apple did it myth.

Resolutions have been increased on a range of phones by many companies over the years. The years, the iphone was a very low resolution (e.g., less than Nokia's standard of 640x360 which was higher than most during that time), and only increased in 2010 with iphone 4. In more recent years, many companies have been increasing resolutions further (e.g., Galaxy Nexus at 1280x720 higher than iphone 4/4S; we've also had phones as 1280x768 and 1280x800; and this looks to be the first full HD phone).

Also note that Apple's marketing is focused not on resolution, but on the flawed statistic of "resolution / screen size" (I want my phone screen to be big, so what good is a statistic that rewards and Apple device for being small? If you took my Galaxy Nexus and reduced the screen size, and even reduced the resolution but not by as much, the density would be higher - but hang on, I now have a phone with lower resolution and lower screen size, neither of which are good!)

Perhaps on tablets you have more of an argument, though it's more only Apple doing it, because it's pointless. For games, it just means more load of the GPU. For media, how many Blu-Ray quality films can you fit on a 16GB Apple slate? And before you say stream it - on a typical mobile allowance, you'd need over four years' worth of allowance(!) Google have now outdone them anyway with the Nexus 10, but most manufacturers rightly don't care.

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Silver badge

Re: Resolution

Indeed - whilst high resolution laptops do exist as people point out, I think it's a fair point given that you have to pay a premium for it, but the cost of phones/tablets tends to be on the low end of laptops! The only possible explanation I can think of is that the cost of a high resolution display might be higher for physically larger displays - is there any truth to this?

1280x720 or similar on a phone is nice to view a full web page that's designed for a laptop/desktop (though in practice, you're still having to zoom in to read it most the time). I don't know what else I'm meant to do with such high resolutions though. Certainly not watching videos, as where is the similarly large storage space to store all these HD video files? (And if you end up recompressing at a lower quality to fit a high resolution movie into 1GB, then that seems to be missing the point - it might be high resolution, but you've just reduced the quality anyway...)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Resolution

Of course. A dust particle or a flaw will scrap an entire laptop display, or 1 out of 12 phone displays. It is all about yield. The bigger the screen, the higher the chance of a failure. Of course, very high resolution small screens are more likely to have point failures because the features are so small, but I suspect that the ones with just a few failed pixels will find ready buyers in the Chinese domestic market, and with a very high res phone screen the failed pixels will be invisible in normal use.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Resolution

You know you can put all those bars vertically down the LHS, which I find much easier to use on a wide screen?

Yes I would prefer 1920 by 1200, but with twin monitors arranged as 1920 by 2160 and the taskbar on the left of the lower monitor, it works well for me.

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Thumb Up

Re: Resolution

I like the screen on my Lenovo ThinkPad W500 from 2008:

15.4 inches

16:10

1920x1200

It's not IPS, but the resolution is a thing of joy.

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Devil

Nice - BUT.....

Although I should state the obvious, "Well bloody well don't stick it in your back pants pocket! (idiot), and don't leave it sitting on the couch, in the dark, in it's black cover, and you just happen to get up and watch TV without the lights on at 3am...." - the size and thinness of them, leads me to think straight out, "While I do like them very much, I just would not like to actually sit on one of them, because doing so, would amount to "Kerrrracccck = Epic Mechanical Failure"."

Satan - because she knows where to stick things.

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Silver badge
WTF?

6" phone....

Way too large...

Why can't manufacturers release two phones with the same (or near identical) specs and different sizes? sure the smaller one might need to be deeper, but most people I know woudn't mind that if they get the same spec at 4" as they do at 5"

and I still don't understand why we need 3g tablets when wifi will link up to your mobile hapilly..

I wont pay for two contracts, so until they start giving away extra sims on unlimited plans, I am not interested!

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JDX
Gold badge

>>Why can't manufacturers release two phones with the same (or near identical) specs and different sizes?

Um, this has happened several times.

>>and I still don't understand why we need 3g tablets when wifi will link up to your mobile hapilly..

Not everyone wants the hassle, or wants to drain the batteries on 2 devices to use one... a tablet can store much bigger batteries.

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Anonymous Coward

It's a lot smaller than my first mobile phone. In fact, it's smaller than most landline handsets.

A big but thin phone has more heat dissipation area relative to volume, so it makes sense from a technical point of view.

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and I still don't understand why we need 3g tablets when wifi will link up to your mobile hapilly

Because (in addition to other reasons others have stated)...some of the data-only tarifs are pretty good value; there's even the options for PAYG data for those occasional trips where a 3G tablet would get used a lot, such as holidays abroad.

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Silver badge

The difference between phone and tablet these days is semantics - they're both the same kind of thing. (And traditionally, a tablet was simply a smartphone but without a phone - the idea of tablet being "large" seems to be a recent myth the media have picked up on.) Given the availability of 7" and even 10" devices, 6" is not large.

Now sure, you might say it's large for something you're expected to carry around all the time in a pocket, but then, not everyone uses pockets (in particular, a large segment of the population often carry bags much of time...[*] and some people just have large pockets, or use shirt pockets, etc).

[*] I had wondered in 2007 with the mainstream appearance of low cost ultra-portable laptops like the Eee PC whether we'd see it suddenly becoming acceptable to carry a bag without being stuck in Victorian fashion ideas. That hasn't happened, perhaps because most people don't want to carry even an ultra-portable all the time, or if they do, just stick it in a larger bag; similarly with larger tablets. Perhaps the increased availability of phones that don't fit in a pocket may do this. I'm glad mobile phones weren't something around since 100 years ago - otherwise today it'd be "Looking for a phone? Oh these are the women's phones, you need to look separately in this section for the small pocket-sized men's phones"...

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Silver badge

"and I still don't understand why we need 3g tablets when wifi will link up to your mobile hapilly.."

Dunno about you, but that's expressly verboten on my contract. I wouldn't have a network contract for a tablet anyway, but tethering isn't always an option.

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Silver badge

>"and I still don't understand why we need 3g tablets when wifi will link up to your mobile hapilly.."

Maybe because if you have a 3G tablet for internetty/map stuff, you can just use a clamshell phone with nice big buttons and long, long battery life, and not faff around with a fiddly, expensive smartphone.

For actually talking, the clamshell design is the superior form-factor- the mic is next to your mouth, the speaker is next to your ear, there's no chance of disconnecting the call by touching a soft 'button' with your cheek... Plus, should you lose it whilst drinking, cost of replacement is £35, not £350.

3G is usually an optional extra on tablets, not a standard spec... so why object to it?

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Silver badge

FWIW, my cheap clamshell from 8 years ago could still do tethering, and I'd hoped things have improved since then. (And it had crap battery life - the distinction between "smartphone" and others really is pretty vague.)

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Bronze badge

Ironically

They will probably take market share from Samsung if they use a clean Android build :)

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Anonymous Coward

Splendid.

To be welcomed by a desperate fanfare of baseless protectionist FUD from the Yanks no doubt ;o)

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Bronze badge
Stop

Dom Joly...

"HELLO! I'M ON THE TRAIN !!!!

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Silver badge

Re: Dom Joly...

It's totally going to look that way in China, which is not exactly renowned for its citizens being big people with huge hands.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dom Joly...

Hehe, made me think of the film Four Lions:

"It's not a small gun brother, its big hands!"

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Silver badge

Suggestions please!

Okay, okay... It seems to me that until someone develops fold-up displays (in commercial quantities), there isn't going to be anything too interesting in the world of phone. Fold-up (or roll-up) displays would get around the current compromise twixt pocket-size and sausage-fingered usability, like the calmshell-like MS Courier or VAIO P but without the awkward central bezel.

Fellow readers- would sort of innovation do think this sector needs to give mobile devices the 'wow' factor?

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Silver badge
Happy

Re: Suggestions please!

As if on cue...

I posted the above comment at 12:31. At 13.01 El Reg posts a story about bendy screens!

I would enter smug mode, but have just noticed that I substituted the word 'would' for 'what' in my last sentence above... I must be losing what little of my brain I still have left!

(icon: nearest I could find for 'smug mode')

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Anonymous Coward

‘phablet’

Please don't do this.

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Yuga Party

As a relatively happy Galaxy Note (CM10.1) user I wish I had a pound for every time I've heard the Dom Joly remark!

Personally I'd quite like something just a tad larger. I tend to use the device for video, reading ebooks, gaming, nav etc so an even larger screen really appeals. When I do use the Note as a phone I've never get any major problems from that side of things.

As a custom firmware flasher though I have to say that Samsung's exynos is a bit of a mess really. They've really not given the opensource code that the devs need to make it a great custom fw platform. Sony on the other hand have been extremely helpful and supportive. That's why, unless something even better appears in the meantime , my next device will be the Yuga. The only thing I'll miss will be the S-Pen since that makes texting/mailing/form filling a brilliantly fast process.

I guess the point is though that Samsung have pretty much comprehensively shown that there's a market for large form factor smartphones. The battleground is your pocket! Just how big will manufacturers dare to go? 6" is about right for a pocketable HD media device.

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Bronze badge

My Dream

A clamshell device with a phablet size screen, so it goes in the pocket (albeit barely) where the part that folds down folds out further or slides out or something... to give one a full-sized keyboard.

That lets you run real software with a real operating system, like Linux (not a Linux-based operating system like Android, but Linux where you can run gcc if you want) or x86 Windows (as opposed to Windows RT or CE or Mobile) or OS X (as opposed to iOS).

Of course, to do that it would probably have to be a mere wi-fi tablet and not a telephone, although it could have a telephone tacked on (the virus risk would be too high otherwise).

They have UMPCs in Japan and South Korea already, but at a price premium for the size that North American and European customers aren't interested in paying, so they've been non-starters. But the technology marches on to the point where a pocket computer like that could even be cheap.

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Re: My Dream

A netbook with touchscreen, then...

The thinnest phone mentioned in the article isn't the thinnest. On the market for a year already is Oppo's model X907 4.3" smartphone at 6.6mm, available for half a year

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Coat

Holy smoke

Rectangle with rounded corners!

Icon: Off to find a patent lawyer

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