Apple vs. Samsung: Here Come the Retina Display Tablets

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Apple and Samsung are preparing tablets for early next year with double the screen resolution of the current iPad and Galaxy Tab, according to a pair of rumors.

The first bit of claptrap comes from Citi analyst Richard Gardner, via Business Insider. In a research note, Gardner says Apple’s next iPad will launch in February, with double the screen resolution (2048-by-1536, presumably). CNet previously reported that the “Retina Display” iPad was a challenge for manufacturers, but Gardner says that’s no longer the case.

(MORE: Tablets: ‘Why Should Somebody Buy This Instead of an iPad?’)

Meanwhile, a “trusted source” tells Boy Genius Report that Samsung is preparing its answer to the iPad 3 (or whatever it will be called). Samsung’s tablet will have an 11.6-inch display–that’s bigger than any other Android tablet yet–with a resolution of 2560-by-1600, plus a 2 GHz dual-core processor. Others will include Android Beam, which allows two Android devices to sync with each other when they come in contact, and a wireless docking mode for gaming on HDTVs, BGR reports. An announcement would likely come during Mobile World Congress in February–around the same time that Gardner expects Apple to launch the next iPad.

At this point, the idea that tablet makers are trying to double the resolution of their displays is no surprise. We’re already seeing 720p smartphones, which have the same resolution as high end tablets, so tablet displays are overdue for a pixel density upgrade.

The question, as always, is timing. Industry analysts don’t have great accuracy with rumors, and neither does BGR. I think the first half of 2012 is a safe bet for higher-resolution tablets, but I wouldn’t count on a February arrival unless more rumors start piling up.

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