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Sony: we are looking for 4K-capable smartphone hardware

Both analysts as well as developers of application processors for mobile devices are predicting the emergence of smartphones with ultra-high-definition displays in the foreseeable future. Even so, none smartphone makers have so far disclosed plans to launch such gadgets. A Sony executive this week was the first official for a manufacturer to confirm that the company is working on such devices.

According to NPD DisplaySearch, the first handsets with 4K (3840*2160 resolution or similar) resolution displays will emerge on the market in 2015 and will be sold in quantities of around 23 million units. Phones with UHD displays will account for more than 5% of smartphone shipments in North America and Japan in 2015, and just under 5% in Western Europe, NPD claims.


While Sony does not confirm or deny that the company plans to ship its first 4K smartphones next year, it clearly states that there is a need for such devices.

“[Smartphones with 4K screens will emerge] someday,” said Kichiro Kurozumi, vice president of Sony Mobile, in an interview with Engadget. “There was the idea that users wouldn’t be able to discern any increases in resolution once it got to a certain level, but that’s wrong. People can tell.”

Developers of applications processor have been shipping products capable of formally supporting resolutions beyond full-HD (Nvidia Tegra 4, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, etc.) for quite some time now. But to build smartphones with 4K displays, a multitude of other components is needed: displays, memory, batteries, storage, network processors (and 4G/LTE-A networks), etc.

“We now need the right size for phones, the right processors capable of running 4K. We are looking for [these] solutions,” said Mr. Kurozumi.


Sony’s exact plans regarding the smartphones with 4K displays are not clear. The company is about to start selling Xperia Z2 smartphone with 20.7MP camera module capable of shooting video in 4K resolution. This year customers will only be able to enjoy crystal-clear video on various UHD TVs, but maybe in 2015 Sony will make the next step and integrate a 3840*2160 display into a smartphone?

KitGuru Says: It is noteworthy that Sony is already talking about 4K smartphones today and even confirms that it is looking for the right components for such devices, which means that the company is basically developing a product. While we can hardly tell how close or far Sony is from its smartphone with UHD display, we can safely assume that such a product could emerge in 2015 or 2016 at the latest.

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