The market for 4K Ultra HD displays has yet to really take off thanks to the lack of supporting content, high prices, and general newness of the technology. Yet with both the forthcoming Xbox One from Microsoft and PlayStation 4 from Sony both offering varying degrees of 4K support, it would appear other platforms are now following suit. The source code of the just-released Android 4.3 Jelly Bean seems to indicate support for Ultra HD, and although this doesn’t necessarily signal a flurry of 4K Android devices, it is clear that Google is thinking ahead to the future.
Android is one of the most diverse platforms around, and the software is implemented on all manner of devices. As such, supported resolutions vary, and with the all-new Nexus 7 offering one of the sharpest Android experiences about, with a gloriously sharp 1920 x 1200 resolution display.
Yet while 1080p is, and has long since been, the standard for high definition, the big tech expos have been showing off 4K technology for a good while now, with scores of vendors battling for early supremacy. Prices for higher end models currently hit five figures, and although numerous manufacturers have been trying to offer cheaper alternatives, the 4K market is still nowhere near established enough for the average consumer to consider buying.
As the PlayStation 4 did with Blu-ray, though, the upcoming next-gen consoles will almost certainly push the topic of 4K into mainstream discussion, and it would appear as though the developers of Android are in anticipation of this. The guys over at Android Police have scrutinized the new Android 4.3 firmware’s source code and established that it supports 640PPI (XXXHDPI / Extra Extra Extra High DPI) pixel density, with further notation pointing to 4K television sets as the intended recipient.
At this point in time, it would seem rather unlikely that we will be seeing any Android devices with 640PPI Ultra HD displays. Considering how some of the recent additions to the market – the new Nexus 7 and the HTC One, for example – show no pixels whatsoever to the naked eye, it would seem pointless going so sharp on a device held so close to the retinas.
With that said, Google is certainly laying the foundations, and if there were ever a company audacious enough to try it (think: Chromebook Pixel), then it’s Google.