Print 34 comment(s) - last by Alexvrb.. on Dec 19 at 12:46 AM

Low-resolution screen support scraps HTC project

Rumors are circulating that HTC has scrapped a project that would produce a 5” or larger smartphone using the new Windows Phone 8 operating system. Apparently, HTC couldn’t justify going with the larger screen due to Microsoft’s strict screen resolution requirements.

While there are Android smartphones in that pipeline that support resolutions as high as 1080p, Microsoft has limited Windows Phone 8 to a maximum of 720p (for now).
According to Bloomberg’s source, HTC was looking to pick a fight with Samsung’s Galaxy Note II smartphone, which features a 720p display. By offering a 1080p competitor, HTC would have some bragging rights against Samsung’s offering. However, display parity wouldn’t do much for HTC, which has been battered in recent months in the smartphone market.

Bloomberg reports that HTC's decision will deliver a blow to Microsoft and its efforts to compete with Android in the smartphone market. Consumers wanting a large-screen smartphone will have no choice but to go with Android offerings if they are shopping from HTC. 

Source: Bloomberg

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First of all...
By Motoman on 12/17/2012 10:43:54 AM , Rating: 2
...why would MS enforce a screen resolution limit? I don't see how that makes any sense for them.

Secondly...720p on a 5" screen is more than plenty anyway. The mad obsession with resolution on tiny screens just boggles my mind. I have a couple 32" TVs that are only 720p...and for their screen size, it works just fine. Yes, I know that I'm not watching those TVs 12" from my nose...but the point stands. 1080p on a 5" screen does nothing but ramp up the cost of the device. It's not going to make any subjective difference in your normal usage of the device.

RE: First of all...
By piroroadkill on 12/17/2012 10:53:21 AM , Rating: 2
I agree.
Even on my Desire HD, 4.3", 800x480 - I find it fine. I browse the web a lot, and I really have no complaints about this so called "old" and "low-res" screen. Really, it's still great, and boosting to 1280x720 - I can't imagine you'd need more on a phone.

RE: First of all...
By Sazabi19 on 12/17/2012 12:27:34 PM , Rating: 2
But... then it would have 1000 and 80 of the FULL Hdees. I want more hdees!

RE: First of all...
By zephyrprime on 12/17/2012 1:00:54 PM , Rating: 3
Man, you gotta switch to a 720 screen on your phone if you browse the web a lot. I went from 800x480 like yourself to 1280x720 and it is far superior for web browsing. For other purposes, it doesn't matter but for web browsing, it does.

RE: First of all...
By Rukkian on 12/17/2012 3:15:16 PM , Rating: 2
I agree on the web browsing. While some say you cannot tell the difference, and it not needed (I used to be in that camp) when I use somebody's phone with a lower res, I can tell now that I am used to my gnex, which doesn't even have the best screen and is 12 months old.

Having everything be crystal clear, even when I zoom in is awesome.

RE: First of all...
By nafhan on 12/17/2012 11:09:29 AM , Rating: 4
Some speculation here: the screen resolution limit probably has to do with scaling and asset resolution.

Google has put a LOT of work into getting Android to scale across multiple resolutions and still look nice. I think that MS has not, and instead they are supporting a limited number of fixed resolutions. There are advantages to both approaches.
1080p on a 5" screen does nothing but ramp up the cost of the device.
The only 1080p phone I know of, the Droid DNA, is the same price as most other high end phones ($200 on contract), and the image quality is noticeably better. Not a big difference, but it's easy to see when you look at it side by side with other phones.

RE: First of all...
By Labotomizer on 12/17/2012 11:13:10 AM , Rating: 2
Next to my 8X I can't really tell the difference, other than the .7" larger. Both are incredibly sharp. Not sure how you could notice the pixels on either one. Magnifying glass?

RE: First of all...
By RufusM on 12/17/2012 12:44:53 PM , Rating: 5
This is just spec-war between the OEM phone makers. HTC wants to be the first to market to give them some differentiation and an advantage.

If Joe Schmo walks into a store it can be sold on quantitative specs: screen size, 1080p, quad-core, etc. Knowing the specs can produce placebo effects for qualitative differences when the customer knows one has inherently "more" or "better".

It can also give phone nerds something more to brag about.

RE: First of all...
By nafhan on 12/17/2012 2:32:55 PM , Rating: 2
Specifically, I was looking at a DNA next to an S3, and I could see a difference. No magnification needed. Definitely cannot see the pixels on the DNA, but depending on what I'm looking at they are sometimes clearly visible on the S3. It's not bad enough to actually bother me.

Also: 8X = 342dpi Super LCD vs. S3 = 306dpi PenTile. So, I would expect the difference between the 8X and the DNA to be less noticeable.

RE: First of all...
By Alexvrb on 12/18/2012 12:51:55 AM , Rating: 2
Of course pixel density is just one factor in how good a display is. What's funny though is that the article says 720p is the limit, but you can get a Lumia 920 with a slightly-higher 768 x 1280 resolution. I think the Ativ Odyssey will use the same resolution. I'm thinking that's the real limit, until they introduce an update and a new Chassis spec.

RE: First of all...
By Alexvrb on 12/19/2012 12:46:47 AM , Rating: 2
But let's not let facts get in the way of a good article. Right Shane? 768? Search engine?

RE: First of all...
By Labotomizer on 12/17/2012 11:11:50 AM , Rating: 2
It's to help ease development for apps. By maintaining a consistent resolution it's easier for developers to target the HD devices.

And 720p is more than adequate for a 5" screen. I can see the desire to support 1080p output to a larger external display. But it's mostly a pissing contest I think. I have a 1080p screen sounds cooler, I guess. Not sure it will impact my email all that much.

1080p on a 10" tablet? Awesome. On a 5" phone? I just don't see the big deal. But it is to some I suppose.

RE: First of all...
By FITCamaro on 12/17/2012 11:54:17 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah anything bigger than 720p is just ridiculous on a 5" screen. I want good scaling for HD playback on my phone so 720p is fine. But trying to say we need 1920x1080 pixels on that form factor is dumb. Just means you need more powerful hardware to drive it and bigger batteries.

RE: First of all...
By FITCamaro on 12/17/2012 11:52:43 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is following Apple's model of only supporting specific resolutions to avoid the fragmentation that exists on Android.

RE: First of all...
By BugblatterIII on 12/17/2012 2:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, going above 720p for that screen size is a marketing decision pure and simple.

It'll also reduce performance and battery life.

My gf has a Note II and I really can't see how adding more pixels would make it look any sharper.

RE: First of all...
By CyCl0n3 on 12/17/2012 5:01:49 PM , Rating: 2

RE: First of all...
By Visual on 12/18/2012 3:55:43 AM , Rating: 1
You are really clueless... what you say may be right for movies and television, but plug in a PC, and then post again if you still think 720p is "just fine". It simply is not.
Likewise with phones, you may think it is "just fine" until you get to see the difference. Only then you will understand how foolish you were before.
More details is more details. Any way you put it, it is still better.

What screen size?
By melgross on 12/17/2012 10:57:43 AM , Rating: 4
The large majority of smartphones have screens averaging in the low 4" category. While these jumbo phones sell, they are only a small percentage of the market. If HTC can't compete where most of the phones are, why would they think they could compete in this much smaller market?

Considering all of the problems they have now, this was most likely due to a cash problem. Can they afford to put precious R&D funding into a small market segment right now? Probably not.

In addition, these 1080p screens are a gimmick. Once we get to 300ppi or so, higher Rez isn't doing anything worthwhile, unless people are looking at their screens through a magnifier.

RE: What screen size?
By Mint on 12/17/2012 2:18:17 PM , Rating: 2
they are only a small percentage of the market
Small percentage? Nearly one third of android phones had a screen of 4.5"+ in a quarter earlier this year:
It's only going up.

Apple doesn't compete in the large screen market. That makes it much easier to grab a meaningful piece of the pie.

RE: What screen size?
By melgross on 12/17/2012 5:04:53 PM , Rating: 2
It's very interesting, but those large phones are selling much better here than anywhere else, no matter what the marketshare of Android may be. And here in the States, I doubt if Android marketshare is really over 50%, going by the percentage of Android phones sold for use with the cell networks as a percentage of smartphones sold. So that 29% here, is likely no more that about 15%, which, as I said, is a small percentage.

RE: What screen size?
By Mint on 12/17/2012 2:52:30 PM , Rating: 2
they are only a small percentage of the market
Small percentage? Nearly one third of android phones had a screen of 4.5"+ in a quarter earlier this year:
It's only going up. Moreover, the smaller Android phones have very small margins.

Apple doesn't compete in the large screen market. That makes it much easier for HTC to grab a meaningful piece of the pie.

By kyuuketsuki on 12/17/2012 11:12:05 AM , Rating: 5
They won't do a phablet device for WP8 due to the current 720p resolution limit? Really? Hello, Galaxy Note 1 and 2 are 720p. You can differentiate your device from the Note with more than just a lame, unnecessary resolution boost. Plus, y'know, it'd be the only WP8 phablet.

RE: Lol?
By Taft12 on 12/18/2012 9:05:24 AM , Rating: 2
Galaxy Note 1 and 2 are obsolete already, if they don't keep their eye on getting ahead of the market, they'll never have any market share.

Lack of advancement
By MartyLK on 12/17/2012 11:31:22 AM , Rating: 2
Though I have no problem with such a resolution on such a small display, I came from the Palm Treo-160x160 & 320x320 res days, and find 1280x768 res more than acceptable, it shows how MS does things.

Microsoft can't seem to do anything right with Windows Phone. They have stumbled through WP since its launch, screwing up not just the system and hardware, but seriously screwing up their user-base.

Some people will say MS did plan for the future in WP8 and others will defend the least little thing MS does. An Apple forum reply to my query, one time, about whether the iPad had any mice for its use got me the only response: "It has a touchscreen. You don't need a mouse".

How do they know I don't need a mouse? All they can say is they don't need a mouse. Defending MS over their decisions to restrict WP really isn't proper. What works for one won't work for another.

RE: Lack of advancement
By Duraz0rz on 12/17/2012 12:46:32 PM , Rating: 2
They want to make the user experience consistent across devices, hence the hardware restrictions.

Playing Dumb & Dumber
By FirstoneVorlon on 12/17/2012 6:04:47 PM , Rating: 2
I was waiting for this device. I currently own a HTC Titan and it's an awesome device. I wished for a "Titan III", with all the latest and greatest + 1080p resolution. Now, Microsoft screwed up (AGAIN)... Everyone knows the trend of 1080p phones was arriving fast but they seem to not have noticed it.... Plain Microsoft dumbness. What about HTC then? What is the problem in launching a device with 720p right now, which can in a few months receive a software update supporting 1080p. That truly sounds Dumber to me....
Come on Microsoft, HTC, bring this device to us sooner than later. You'll only lose market share if you keep running behind all the others....

RE: Playing Dumb & Dumber
By MartyLK on 12/17/2012 7:17:18 PM , Rating: 2
They have to have marketshare to lose it. If MS had any significant marketshare, they go looney and screw it up.

I remember long before WP8 was released how WP defenders would say MS is making WP8 significantly more future-proof than WP7.

Guess they believed their own hype.

bye bye htc
By Pirks on 12/17/2012 7:00:04 PM , Rating: 3
no tears shed since there is 4.8" samsung ativ s which is more than enough

By Arsynic on 12/17/2012 3:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
...and not actually creating a quality, cutting-edge device. Please bring on the Surface Phone!

Res is the new Ghz
By Helbore on 12/17/2012 5:22:20 PM , Rating: 2
It's the Mhz/Ghz war all over again. We get a sudden manufacturer war that drives the development of new, beneficial technologies for the consumer. We had the Intel/AMD race to 1Ghz. We have our modern race to have the best PPI density on a smartphone.

Then we get to the point of diminishing returns, but the manufacturers (or more importantly, their clueless marketing departments) have got themselves locked into this ideal of how to sell a product with a higher number attached. We got Intel lengthening their pipeline and giving the world the dreadful architecture that was the P4, all so they could attempt to scale the clock speed up to 10Ghz (which, of course, they ever made!)

Now, on the smartphone side, we see manufacturers trying to push PPI to ridiculous limits, just because it sounds good in marketing material. Yet all they are doing is increasing costs and unduly reducing battery life for very little gain.

I need a 1080p 5" smartphone with reduced battery life as much as I need a 3.8Ghz P4 extreme edition with a TDP of 110W and less performance than an AMD Athlon at half the clock speed.

What a lack of imagination
By cbf on 12/17/2012 6:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
I'd love to buy a Windows Phone that competes with the Samsung Galaxy Note II.

It's hard to believe that the Windows Phone guys at Microsoft are so short-sighted that they'd actually block a phone that exceeds their specs. Seems like Courier all over again (like oh no, we can't come out with a tablet that's not obviously running something called Windows -- no one would buy such a thing).

By villageidiotintern on 12/18/2012 11:33:53 PM , Rating: 2
...for my 5.5in with a 1080p screen, that's the sweet spot in size just before opting for a tablet. With stereo speakers. And the 3800mAh Seido on my Gnex is barely adequate, I'd never make it without a 10' usb cable on my wall wart. Phone manufacturers are starting to test some limits here and I want to see what will sell. Some like a small dainty piece and some are power users.

Forget Windows Phone
By MartyLK on 12/17/2012 8:49:02 PM , Rating: 1
For anyone who wants the Windows Phone look, but wants it in Android, there is no need to buy WP. Appls like Launcher7 and Launcher8, along with additional apps like WP7Lock Pro, WP Notifications and so forth, can have your cake and eat it too.

I happen to like the looks and style of WP. But I can't stand the bullshit behind it; the morons controlling it. So I installed all of the above on my GS3 and...forget WP. Android is all about choice. Today it's a WP device with all of the goodness of Android. Tomorrow it might be an iOS device (genuine likeness with Espier Launcher). Then later on I may return to full-on stock Android.

I can do that with Android. I can't with WP.

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