The Samsung S8 has launched a revolution in smartphone aspect ratios, most of which will be widescreen 18:9 by the end of the decade, analysts say.
611 million widescreen smartphones will be sold by 2021, according IHS Markit’s Smartphone Display Market Intelligent Service report.
Newer widescreen displays give smartphone users more real estate to work with, offering larger screen images and higher-quality video resolution without drastically changing the look and feel of the previous generation of mobiles.
IHS write: “As mobile phones developed over the years the industry saw screen displays for phones increasing their aspect ratios from 4:3 (QVGA, VGA), to 5:3 (WVGA) and more recently, to the more dominant 16:9 aspect ratio (720HD, FHD, WQHD), which accounted for 90 percent of smartphone display shipments in 2016.”
Budget and mid-price phones will likely keep the more standard 16:9 aspect ration because of lower production costs, and are expected to stay in-demand for the majority of users.
Bigger, faster, stronger screens
But widescreen isn’t the end of the smartphone display revolution.
Manufacturers will rely on sales of even wider screen displays with an aspect ratio of 18:5. Most likely to hit the market in 2017 and 2018 are 720HD+ displays (1,440 x 720 pixels), FHD+ (2,160 x 1,080 pixels) and WQHD+ (2,880 x 1,440 pixels).
IHS Markit expects to see the 18:5 wide screens become the prevailing aspect ratio of choice in the premium smartphone segment going into the rest of 2017.
However, smartphone brands will likely introduce customized designs that incorporate other aspect ratios, including 18:9, 18.5:9, and 19:9.- Hiroshi Hayase: Senior Director of small-medium display, IHS Markit
TV tech now coming into smartphones
While faster chips and processors improve smartphone performance and better wireless tech improves internet and data connectivity, some of the biggest strides are being taken in the display arena.
The newest developments in smartphone displays use low-temperature polysilicon thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD and AMOLED tech, also found in high-end TVs. Both allow smartphone manufacturers to run edge-to-edge screens far beyond what was thought possible just two years ago.
The strengthening trend of smartphone handset designs to incorporate the 18:9 widescreen display will see demand forecast to grow from 170 million units in 2017 to 611 million by 2021, say IHS Markit.