Five plaintiffs allege in a proposed class action lawsuit that Samsung Electronics has falsely overstated the pixel counts and screen resolution for a number of its smartphones. Filed in New York, the 56-page complaint claims Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. have misled consumers into believing their phones have better screens than they actually do.
“Defendants’ marketing of its Products falsely inflates the screens’ pixel count and resolution to seem more appealing to consumers,” the suit reads. “Defendants do so because screen resolution is such an important factor to consumers when evaluating smartphones and tablets.”
The lawsuit explains that every true pixel on a smartphone’s screen is comprised of several smaller subpixels that output one color each—traditionally, the primary colors of red, green and blue that variously combine to make yellow, cyan, magenta and white. A smartphone’s pixel count, the complaint says, is tallied by multiplying the screen height in pixels by the screen width in pixels. A phone advertised as having 1080 x 2220 resolution, according to the suit, should have 1080 pixels running top to bottom and 2220 pixels running horizontally.
Certain Samsung phones come equipped with Pentile Matrix screens marketed by the company as having higher pixel resolution, the complaint continues. Yet instead of using true pixels made up of red, green and blue subpixels, Samsung’s Pentile Matrix screens, the lawsuit charges, use “false pixels comprised of fractions of pixels.” The screens, according to the lawsuit, omit half of the red and half of the blue subpixels, meaning every phone equipped with such has just half the number of pixels and two-thirds of the number of subpixels advertised. The only correct number Samsung offers to consumers is the number of green pixels, the case states.
From the suit:
“For example, where a traditional screen would have four pixels (and 12 subpixels, 4 of each primary color), Defendants remove every other red subpixel and every other blue subpixel, resulting in hardware with 8 subpixels (4 green, 2 red, and 2 blue) that is only capable of forming two true pixels (because there are only two red and two blue subpixels, and a true pixel needs at least one red, blue, and green subpixel).”
Samsung’s Pentile Matrix screens come with either rectangular or diagonal pixel patterns, both of which the lawsuit claims are missing pixels and subpixels. For each pixel pattern, according to the case, false pixels share fractions of adjacent red and blue subpixels. What this amounts to, according to the suit, is that the screens on Samsung smartphones are unable to freely make any color because “each false pixel is unable to freely use the red and blue subpixels it shared with the adjacent false pixel.” More from the complaint:
“For example, if an image requires a blue pixel next to a red pixel, the image will be blurry because those two false (Pentile) pixels share either a red subpixel or a blue subpixel. To make a blue pixel, red subpixels must be off and the blue subpixels must be on, whereas to make a red pixel, the red subpixels must be on and the blue subpixels must be off.”