Your next smartphone screen could rival your HDTV

Starting this month, Sharp will have a full production line producing full HD displays for smartphones. The 5-inch LCD screens will support 1920 x 1080 resolution, which is the highest found on HDTVs that are in stores today. That works out to an eye-popping 443 pixels per inch, or a pixel density roughly 30 percent higher than the Retina display used on Apple’s iPhone(s aapl).

Production of the new display, as reported by Unwired View, is specifically slated for smartphones, although the definition of what’s a phone and what’s a tablet is showing some overlap. Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 2, for example, uses a 5.5-inch display at 1280 x 720 resolution, and has tablet features along with the traditional voice calling of a smartphone.

This move towards larger touchscreen displays isn’t new, however. I started to see the trend develop in early 2010 as smartphones began creeping closer to 4 inches in size. The following year, such a size was viewed as nearly standard even as phones with 5-inch or larger displays hit the market. Add in the growing market for 7-inch tablets and we may see some “meeting in the middle” in terms of screen size for portable handsets and small tablets.

Much of this trend towards bigger is, in my opinion, because of the growing demand for mobile device video content and richer applications that can benefit from larger displays. And 720p displays won’t quite cut it for optimal clarity once screens grow in size to a certain point. With more than twice as many pixels as a 720p screen, full HD displays on smartphones and small tablets will enhance the mobile experience. One only need to look at Apple’s newest iPad with 2048 x 1536 resolution compared to the prior models to see the difference.