Sharp smartphone screen
Confirming rumours from late 2014, Sharp says it will produce 4K smartphone displays in 2016Sharp

As phone makers such as HTC remain hesitant about adopting 2K screens for their flagship smartphones, Sharp is charging ahead by announcing the world's first 4K phone display.

Measuring 5.5in, the IGZO screen has a resolution of 2160 x 3840 and an enormous pixel density of 806 per inch. For context, the iPhone 6 Plus is the same size, but has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 and a pixel density of just 401 per inch. Even the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G3 offer just half the pixels of the Sharp screen, which is a proof of concept for now and will enter mass production in 2016.

Looking further ahead into a pixel-packed future, Sharp reckons smartphones will soon reach 8K - that is 4320 x 7680 and 16 times the resolution of your standard Full HD, 1080p display. Sharp is essentially saying the resolution of the very best cinema projectors of today will soon appear on a pocket-friendly smartphone, PhoneArena reports.

Cramming so many pixels into a phone may seem ridiculous - especially given the widely held belief that even the upgrade from Full HD to 2K was unnecessary - but there are some practical reasons for doing it. Firstly, and most obviously, a 4K phone would show 4K video perfectly, just as this resolution is set to become the mainstream replacement for Full HD.

More interestingly, 4K smartphone screens would produce sublime virtual reality experiences. Currently, VR systems which beam a smartphone screen through a pair of lenses and into the wearer's eyes - such as the Samsung Gear VR and Google Glass - suffer from low resolution, even when used with a 2K phone like the Galaxy Note 4. A 4K or even 8K phone screen would make VR look more like the HD television standard we're all used to, but just a few centimetres from our eyes.

Such screens will no doubt put huge pressure on processor and battery manufacturers to find ways to efficiently drive so many pixels within a mobile phone.