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  1.    #1  
    I am a little confused about screen resolution. The Treo 300 spec sheet says that it has a 12bit screen resolution.

    The specs I can find on the 600 refers to a 160X160 screen resolution without any mention of colour depth. Does 160X160 translate to 16bit?

    My Handspring Visor Prism specs lists the screen at 160X160 with 16bit colour depth. Photos viewed on the 300 are really bad compared to the 16bit prism.

    I am hoping that the 600 is going to be as good as the Prism for viewing photos.
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    #2  
    Originally posted by johnbdh
    I am a little confused about screen resolution. The Treo 300 spec sheet says that it has a 12bit screen resolution.

    The specs I can find on the 600 refers to a 160X160 screen resolution without any mention of colour depth. Does 160X160 translate to 16bit?

    My Handspring Visor Prism specs lists the screen at 160X160 with 16bit colour depth. Photos viewed on the 300 are really bad compared to the 16bit prism.

    I am hoping that the 600 is going to be as good as the Prism for viewing photos.
    I read that it is 12 bit, but I can't remember where.
  3. #3  
    the 600 is 12 bit just like the 300.
    Felipe
    On the road to 5,000 posts
    Life is what happens between Firmware releases.
  4. #4  
    johnbdh

    You asked "The specs I can find on the 600 refers to a 160X160 screen resolution without any mention of colour depth. Does 160X160 translate to 16bit?"

    No. 160x160 refers to the physical resolution of the screen. 160 rows of pixels, by 160 colums. So if you mulitiply 160x160 you realize you have 25,600 individual pixels.

    Bit Depth refers to how many different colors each pixel can display. The higher the bit depth the more different colors each pixel can display and the more photorealitic the image is. I can't remember but I believe 12 bit gives you something like 4096 different colors, whreas 16 bit jumps up to 32,000 diferent colors.

    I hope this helps.

    Jake
    There is a great difference between knowing and understanding. You can know a lot about something without understanding it. —Charles Kettering
    -------------------------------------------------
    Treo 600: Love at First Sight by Jake Ehrlich

    Thoughts on the Future of Handheld Computing: A 5 Part Series by Jake Ehrlich
  5. #5  
    The number of colors in color-depth is based on the number 2 raised to the number of bits.

    Therefore, a 12-bit color depth is 2^12=4096 colors.
    16-bit is 2^16=65536 colors.
    24-bit would be 2^24=16777216 colors.
    A monochrome display is a 1-bit display (2^1=2 possible colors--the pixel is lit or it isn't).

    Mathematically, the computer needs a way to represent each bit plane. Each bit plane can either be on or off (thus the binary system works well for this).
    --Inspector Gadget

    "Go Go Gadget Pre!!"
    Palm Pre on Sprint

    Palm V--> Palm IIIc--> Visor Prism--> Visor Phone--> Treo 270--> Treo 600--> Treo 650-->
    Treo 700wx--> HTC Touch Diamond--> Palm Pre & HTC EVO 4G.
  6. #6  
    Gadget,

    Could you please translate this into English?

    Jake
    There is a great difference between knowing and understanding. You can know a lot about something without understanding it. —Charles Kettering
    -------------------------------------------------
    Treo 600: Love at First Sight by Jake Ehrlich

    Thoughts on the Future of Handheld Computing: A 5 Part Series by Jake Ehrlich
  7. #7  
    [note - haven't read this thread, just the preceeding few posts in it - pardon if repetition]

    One can have a possible 16million colors (thus "advertisable") without having 24 bits per pixel - use a colormap (also called a lookup table).

    Each pixel has, say, 8 bits - that's 256 different values. Each value is used as an ADDRESS in the 256-valued colormap/lookup table. At each location in that colormap have a 24 bit final value. Thus one can display 256 out of 16 million colors at a time but one CAN display 16 million distinct colors.

    I have no idea if the graphics side of PDAs are that complex, but it IS a way of getting LOTS of colors from a few bits (albeit, only a limited set of lots of colors).

    Dynamically changing the colormap ONLY can produce interesting and fast visual effects.

    BTW - using this technique one needs only about 27,000 bytes of "display memory" - 25600 for the 160x160 display and 768 for the colormap.
  8. #8  
    Originally posted by JakeE
    Gadget,

    Could you please translate this into English?

    Jake
    Are you sure you want a full explanation? You asked for it!

    With computers the carrot symbol (^) means "raised to a power". So 2^12 means 2 raised to the 12th power, which is 4096. In order to understand what this means in practical terms, you have to understand what is happening when a graphics system has to make different colors.

    The Treo is adversized to have a 4096 color display. To achieve that, 12 bit planes must be used. What's a bit plane? Imagine several sheets of paper stacked together. Each sheet of paper is a "plane" (as in geometry). Each plane is made up of a bitmap (columns and rows of picture elements [pixels]). The Treo has 160 x 160 = 25,600 pixels. So each bit plane consists of 25,600 pixels.

    A pixel is composed of three primary colors. When painting in art class, I'm sure you learned about mixing Red, Yellow, and Blue (the primary colors) to get other colors. Just as there are primary colors in pigment that you can mix together to get different colors, the same applies to light. Except that when mixing light, we use Red, Green, and Blue. Also, instead of getting darker when more colors are mixed (as paint does), the more light you add, the brighter it gets (until you achieve white light).

    In order for each of those pixels to be able to represent each of 4096 different colors, the graphics system must be able to adjust the red, green, and blue color registers 16 levels each (16 x 16 x 16 = 4096). When all of them are set to zero then the pixel is black. When all of them are at the 16th (highest) setting the pixel is white. If all three are set to the same value for any values in between (111, 222, 333, etc.) the color is grey and gets progressively brighter grey as the values increase.

    The values are numbered starting at 0 (zero) and go up to 15. For example, to achieve pure Red, we would set the R value to 15, the G value to 0, and the B value to 0. This turns on the Red register to its brightest setting and turns off the other two colors.

    To get Purple, we would turn on the R and the B, but turn off the G. This is known as RGB color registering. The Red, Green, and Blue phosphers that make up a pixel are each adjusted in brightness to acheive a "mixture" that your eye sees as various colors. Get it?

    Now, what does this have to do with the bits? Each bit plane can only have each of its bits on or off. If you only have one plane (sheet of paper) you can only display a maximum of two colors. That's what happens with a monochrome display like the old green or amber screens. Remember a computer only knows if something is turned on or off. That's two states of being. Mathematically, it can be represented as 0 and 1 (off and on). That's a BInary digiT (BIT).

    If you add a bit plane, you now have up to four possible combinations (2 bits, each of which can be on or off). Thus 2^2=4.

    If you keep adding bit planes, you increase the number of possibilities. (2^3=8 colors; 2^4=16 colors; and so on). Once you get to 12 bit planes, you can mathematically address up to 4096 possible combinations of Red, Green, and Blue primary color registers.

    A 16-bit display (2^16) can display up to 65,536 different colors.
    A 24-bit display (2^24) can display up to 16,777,216 different colors. (By the way, in a 24-bit display the RGB values can each be 256 different possibilities: 256 x 256 x 256 = 16,777,216.)

    For each of these bit planes, the computer has to store its status in memory, apply changes to the registers to adjust the color, and refresh the registers with power fast enough that you don't see flicker in the display. The more bit planes involved, the more memory that is required and the more power that is needed to keep all the bit planes up-to-date.

    That's it, on a basic level. That principle applies to all current digital display technologies (Cathode Ray Tubes [TVs], LCD, Plasma, etc.) They are all addressed the same way when a computer drives the display.

    That's about as close to "English" as I can get it.
    Last edited by Insp_Gadget; 06/28/2003 at 09:48 AM.
    --Inspector Gadget

    "Go Go Gadget Pre!!"
    Palm Pre on Sprint

    Palm V--> Palm IIIc--> Visor Prism--> Visor Phone--> Treo 270--> Treo 600--> Treo 650-->
    Treo 700wx--> HTC Touch Diamond--> Palm Pre & HTC EVO 4G.
  9. #9  
    Great, understandable explanation!

    Thanks, man

    Now that is said, how much difference is there between the appearance of a 12 bit and a 16 bit color display?

    I have a i330, which 256 colors, which is extremely limited.

    But , has anyone seen a screen of similar size and intensity, but one being 12 bit and a second 16 bit, side by side. Is it really noticeable?

  10.    #10  
    But , has anyone seen a screen of similar size and intensity, but one being 12 bit and a second 16 bit, side by side. Is it really noticeable?
    I think comparing my Visor Prism and my Treo 300 is a good side by side comparison.

    On the Prism photos are crisp and generally look good.

    On the Treo colors are washed out and not at all true to the original, blues look almost green. Generally very dark compared to the Prism.

    Both look equally grainy. Not bad but noticeable.

    John
  11. #11  
    Originally posted by johnbdh


    I think comparing my Visor Prism and my Treo 300 is a good side by side comparison.

    On the Prism photos are crisp and generally look good.

    On the Treo colors are washed out and not at all true to the original, blues look almost green. Generally very dark compared to the Prism.

    Both look equally grainy. Not bad but noticeable.

    John
    Actually, comparing the two of those handhelds is a fairly bad idea, due to huge differences in both screen technology, as well as backlighting. No matter what, the Prism looks better in that instance.

    If you take a 12-bit color Palm and put it next to a 16-bit color Palm, you won't notice the difference. At least, not at first. Because the Palm's launcher screen and navigation systems only utilize an 8-bit palette (at least, they did until OS 5, if they don't still), which means that you're not getting any extra colors there.

    Now, if you were to open something color-intense, like a scanned photograph, you'd see some distince differences, although not horribly so. 12-bit images tend to have more "banding" to them, because there just aren't enough colors to completely smooth images out. But wheras 8-bit images look *bad,* 12-bit images look pretty good...just not quite as good as they could, I guess.

    If you look at the first generation of HP Jornada handhelds, for instance, you'll see that they have gorgeous screens, and their being 12-bit was hardly a handicap. In fact, if you were to stick one next to a Visor Prism, you'd see that whites were still white, blacks were still black, and colors looked darned vivid all around.


    The reason 12-bit screens have gotten a bad rap recently has a lot to do with the Treo, I think; because Handspring opted to use a mediocre screen (which I don't mind, but I hardly believe it to be gorgeous) for THEIR device, people seem to have just assumed that it had something to do with the device's color depth (it doesn't), and it's gotten a bit of a stigma since then.

    A crappy screen is going to be a crappy screen, regardless of whether it can handle 16 colors or 16 million colors. The same applies the other way around. It has more to do with what your eyes think of as good than anything else...
  12. #12  
    Originally posted by shadowboxer
    Great, understandable explanation!

    Thanks, man

    Now that is said, how much difference is there between the appearance of a 12 bit and a 16 bit color display?

    I have a i330, which 256 colors, which is extremely limited.

    But , has anyone seen a screen of similar size and intensity, but one being 12 bit and a second 16 bit, side by side. Is it really noticeable?

    NocTurnerV makes a good point on comparisons. The benchmark for how the difference in the number of colors would look can only be done with similar screen technologies. I've used a Visor Prism and a Treo 270. The screen technologies are different as well as the number of colors that each device will display at once. In my opinion, the Treo 270's screen does not compare in quality to the Visor Prism's. Brightness, contrast, color-saturation, etc. are all better on the Prism. The trade-off: The Prism's screen is completely useless in sunlight. The Treo 270's is bearly visible, but with some eye strain, can be used in sunlight. The colors completely wash out, but you can read it.

    With that said, keep in mind that the human eye can only perceive about 10 million colors. Often when two very similar colors are placed side by side, it can be very hard to tell that they are different. But these subtle differences DO make a difference when it comes to photographs.

    As far as photos are concerned, you'll get different results depending on how the photo is processed. If you use crappy software to process the photo, then you'll get bad results when using a smaller number of colors. For example, if you take a photo with a 24-bit (True-color: 16 million colors) camera and then try to display it (without making any adjustments) on a 16-bit (65,536-color) device, you will likely be disappointed in the results.

    This is because the raw image was not optimized to the 16-bit color palatte. Optimization consists of choosing the closest colors, dithering, antialiasing, etc. Poor-quality imaging software doesn't do these things so the resulting image is disappointing when displayed on a lower-color device.

    The effect is amplified when going down to 4,096 colors. The better the display software, the better the results. Using Photoshop or another high-quality image processor to convert high-color or true-color pictures to a 4,096-color palette will yield much better results than just opening a true-color image in a typical image viewer that doesn't do optimization.

    Since different people perceive color differently, I can't tell you what the results will be for YOU when you look at the Treo 600. I haven't seen it myself. I look forward to a first-hand look at the screen (both indoors and outside). How good will it look? That will depend on the quality of the screen technology used. The Treo 600, allegedly, will use a passive-matrix reflective CSTN (color super-twist nematic) screen that is supposed to be viewable outside as well as inside.

    We'll see if the display software, combined with the hardware, will yield acceptable results to the masses.
    --Inspector Gadget

    "Go Go Gadget Pre!!"
    Palm Pre on Sprint

    Palm V--> Palm IIIc--> Visor Prism--> Visor Phone--> Treo 270--> Treo 600--> Treo 650-->
    Treo 700wx--> HTC Touch Diamond--> Palm Pre & HTC EVO 4G.
  13. #13  
    The Treo 600 has a great input for the user, but their output sucks. I have compared my Visor Prism screen to a Treo 300 with a very colored picture. There is a difference, and its noticeable, at least to me.

    I think some people here are also being, I guess, a little too optimistic about the screen. Lets face it, Handspring needs to wake up and realize that PDA screens should advance with their input of technology. It’s silly to have a camera, fast Internet web browser, high-speed processor and other great things with a 12-bit low-res screen. It’s like having a great computer with a monitor from the 80's. Great features and a mediocre screen don't and should not go together.

    You can say the Treo 600 is a product for businessmen or average people, but I see businessmen and average people with high res and 16 bit Clies or fancy PPC's. The Treo will appeal to these people, but not as much as the Treos competitors. Why? Because the first thing everybody notices about a handheld is its screen and look. The Treo 600 may win in the physical look, but when I average person will turn its screen on and then compare the screen to a clie, they will tell a difference and it won't be a good difference for the Treo 600.

    I do think the output of a PDA is much more important to the input to a buyer because lets face it, half the people who will buy the Treo 600 won't even utilize its many features, such as the fast processor for hardcore apps, the SD card, its memory and even the camera. I heard that only 20% of PDA buyers actually install software onto their PDA and the rest of PDA users just use what comes with it. So why would it matter if there is so much great features in the Treo 600 if a lot of it won't get used. The screen and the output on the other hand, will and always is used; therefore a great screen on a PDA is a prime factor of why any average person would want to get one.

    Handspring HAS to stop fooling with old screen technology and move on with what’s new in order to satisfy its customers. I will only be satisfied with the Treo once HS wakes up and put a high res 16 bit screen in their PDA’s

    Yoyo
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