QVGA V/s VGA for GTA03 (was something about yummy CPU-GPU combos!)

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at computer.org
Fri Jun 6 19:18:43 CEST 2008

(I try to cut out some citations).

> this is my dilemma. win with dpi and sharpness, but then lose in
> smoothness/speed. i lean a bit to- smoothness myself, but i want to  
> hear the
> "peanut gallery" so to speak :) (please don't take offence! i'm  
> seriously about
> listening that's why i ask!)

Someone has already pointed out that the dilemma is more on the  
I.e. the problem should be solved by a faster processor with better  
GPU rather
than challenging and and trying to redue user's expectations. Can you  
container trucks smaller because then they need much less parking space?

>>> don't need them. just go to tokyo and look what's there on sale now.
>>> what's
>>> there will be what the rest of the world gets to doing 2 years  
>>> later.
>> Not necessarily. The iPhone wasn't there 3 years ago. And i-mode  
>> never
>> became
>> popular. But I agree that you can see some technology there already
>> built into
>> devices.
> hmm. i lived in japan for 4 years. my experience is that japan  
> introduces into
> their phones what the rest of the world does 2 years later. years ago
> multi-megapixel phones were out. 5 years ago the default was 2mpixel  
> and qvga.
> the ipone really is not amazing in terms of tech specs. it's fairly  
> far behind.

This can be reversed: if Japan already has WVGA mobile phones,
probably since beginning of 2008, they will become available in 2009  
in the rest
of the world.

What I mean with the iPhone is that although it has only half the  
number of pixels it
"feels" dramatically faster than a Neo. I believe it would still feel  
fast on full VGA and I could
read web pages better. Maybe we will even have some news on that on  

BTW, even the Apple Netwon did have more than QVGA (=> 336 × 320) but  
that is
not really comparable.

> it has a hardware-accelerated 3d chipset with full opengl drivers.  
> and a very
> good chipset at that. that is why. as for half-vga. that's still  
> HALF the

Yes. This should be IMHO the future for GTA03 - use a better chipset  
rather than a worse
display resolution.

> pixels the freerunner/neo1973 have. *IF* we shipped the same screen  
> - we'd have
> better performance. i find it interesting how so many peole rave  
> about how
> great the iphone screen is - but its tech specs are not so hot. it's  
> dpi is
> pretty bad compared to the standard these days. but that sure as  
> hell has not
> stopped it selling. :) this is why i ask - actual products and  
> reality seem to
> show that dpi is not a major factor. at least as best i can tell.

I have now done some test with the mySTEP GUI stack which sits on X11.  
one I have shown during LinuxTag.

Some application I have choosen makes regular screen updates:

Neo 1973		every 0.5 seconds (due to more work for the higher number of  
Acer n30		every 0.3 seconds (same CPU but QVGA)
Zaurus C3100	every 0.3 secons (with X/Qt on VGA)

So, the difference is not that large by different architectures and  
display resolutions.
The astonishing thing is that the C3100 is faster than the Neo with  
the same display.
I.e. Display resolution by itself can not be the main issue with speed.

Well, this is not transferrable to games or video players, but it  
indicates the direction.

>> Yes. But this is in some conflict with providing an open platform  
>> that
>> others
>> can adapt to their user's needs. If it has QVGA it rules out many
>> commercial
>> projects where eye-candy and video speed is not that important but  
>> high
>> information density.
> but then we have the reverse too. the question is - which is more  
> important? in
> the world of phones the mass market is as it is higher volume, but  
> again - it
> depends. i am wondering what projects would not be possible at qvga?  
> seriously?
> ones you can actually read and use? this is my point. try and actual  
> 2.8"
> screen at qvga for a while - try apps on it. they are still quite  
> usable and
> visible. you may need to just deal with coarser fonts etc. but -  
> it's still all

Yes, they are. But just "Quite". Not excellent. More difficult to  
read. It is like
Porsche could reduce one or two gear levels. Can still be used as a  
car :-)

mySTEP has resolution independence so that the identical app binaries  
on both resolutions and try to show the same size. So it is easy to  
have both
(Acer n30 / Neo 1973) sitting next to each other. There are large  
differences in
how the same application looks. It is much more crisp on the Neo VGA.

Let's reverse the question - would you reduce the resolution of your  
desktop system?
What do you currently have? 1024*1280 or more?
You can still do everything like writing software, e-mail, web  
browsing, gaming.
Probably even faster. But how would it appear? Future oriented or old  

> there. :) i'm serious! if you have examples of projects that would  
> ONLY work if
> we shipped a 2.8" 285dpi screen but would not work on the same  
> screen at all
> at 143dpi... i want to know! i suspect the reason would just be "bad
> programming" is why it won't work. and then the next would be "it  
> may display -
> but no one will be able to read it..." :) but again - i want to know.

Some have already been mentioned. What I immediately see (which is not  
at all exhaustive):

* viewing pictures (320x240 has just room for a thumbnail but not a  
* rendering web pages
* maps / satellite pictures
* Terminal (QVGA just gives a 40*30 text display where all command  
line things are used to x * 80 - and the Zaurus delivers that)
* On-Screen keyboard (without having too much layers)
* Good monthly overview in a Calendar application (one that says more  
than some day is busy)
    QVGA gives max. 46 square pixels per day. Including decoration. If  
there are buttons to operate
    the calendar, this reduces to much less, let's say 30 sqp. Quite  
limited to show all the appointments
    of one day. And clicking into each day to see if there is  
something important is quite unfriendly.
    BTW: that is the main reason why I personally did use a paper  
calendar until I got a Zaurus with
    VGA display (the 5500 did also have QGVA...).

This brings me to a point not discussed so far. IMHO it also depends  
on whether Finger or Pen
operation is used. With the finger, you have to reduce the display  
content anyway - like the iPhone
working with many sheets moving from left to the right etc. But if you  
operate by pen, you have a
much better precision so select something and you expect and can  
handle a much higher information
density on a single page. So, a better screen reduces the number of  
flipping/switching operations.

Finally, I think since the GTA03 platform should not rule out either  
finger or pen operation, it must fulfill the higher requirements.

I think I have made my reasons and comments clear. So, others should  
also get a voice and vote...


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