Japan Display Inc. (JDI), a display conglomerate created by Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi, today announced the mass production of a new high pixel density, 2.1-inch 1,058 LCD display created for VR ‘glasses’ style headsets.
Update (1:25 PM ET): German publication MIXED (German) has confirmed with LYNX founder Stan Larroque that the upcoming LYNX R-1 headset is using the new JDI displays, which like Pico VR Glasses prototype have been clocked to 90Hz. We’ve reached out to Pico for comment as well and will report back when/if we get an answer.
The low temperature polysilicon (LTPS) TFT-LCD panel is said to use a special optical design that is intended to appeal to manufacturers looking to build smaller, lighter glasses-type headsets. Notably, the company says in a press release that its new display is used in VR glasses that have already been introduced to the market.
The company’s new 2.1-inch 1,058 ppi panel boasts a 1,600 × 1,600 resolution in its square format; JDI is also offering variants with corner-cut shapes. Clocked at 120Hz, the panel has a 4.5 ms response time, global blinking backlights, and a brightness of 430 nits.
Although unconfirmed at this time, Pico’s impressive VR Glasses prototype unveiled at CES earlier this year included a 1,600 × 1,600 panel, albeit clocked at 90Hz, which likely has more to do with the constraints of a mobile chipset’s ability to render at a supposed full 120Hz capability.
Why so small? Pico is able to offer this smaller form factor by using much thinner ‘pancake’ optics, which cut the optical path significantly by ‘folding’ it back on itself through the use of polarized light and multiple lens elements.
JDI’s previous VR display, revealed in Summer 2018, was larger at 3.25 inches, but at a slightly lower pixel density of 1,001 ppi. The panel, which was 2,160 × 2,432 resolution and also clocked at 120Hz, did however boast a lower latency of 2.2 ms.
It seems with this downsizing from larger, more conventional display down to smaller ones, JDI is making a significant bet on the upcoming appeal of smaller form factor headsets. A few key trade-offs to VR ‘glasses’ as they are now is off-board processing, either by a dedicated compute unit or smartphone, typically a lack of 6DOF tracking, and a slightly lower field of view. That said, removing user friction by making VR headsets lighter and smaller may appeal to those looking to watch traditional streaming video and browse the 2D web.