HTC Windows Phone 8X

The Verge: The HTC Windows Phone 8X sports a 4.3-inch 1280×720 Super LCD 2 that’s optically laminated to the Corning Gorilla Glass 2 cover glass. One knock on an otherwise superb display is black levels, which is important for a smartphone running Windows Phone since the OS is dominated by black. A 1280×720 Super AMOLED Plus display might have been a better choice. Blacks would have been completely black, and typography beautiful on the RGB stripe sub-pixel structure.

The 342-ppi resolution LCD beats the iPhone 5, but the HTC Windows Phone 8X seems significantly larger for a mere 0.3 inch bump in display size. The iPhone 5 is already a bit large for my taste.

Looking at it from the front, I like the design: straight rectangular lines and sharp corners. Makes the Samsung Galaxy S III look like a toy and the iPhone 5 a bit outdated.

LG Display Primary LCD Supplier for 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display and iPad mini

DIGITIMES → Wall St. Cheat Sheet: LG Display (LGD) is the primary supplier of LCDs for Apple’s new products. I’m assuming those products are the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and iPad mini. AUO seems to be the secondary supplier for the iPad mini.

iFixit tore down the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display but did not attempt to separate the display from the glass, which were fused together. The larger 15.4-inch MacBook Pro sports a LGD manufactured LCD panel with model number LP154WT1-SJ-A1-GD. Although this does not prove anything it seems to suggest LGD is humming along quite well churning out large LCDs with extremely high ppi. I’d wager LGD is in fact the primary supplier of the 13.3-inch retina LCD for the new 13.3-inch MacBook Pro.

Jony Ive: Human Interface & Industrial Design

Apple:

Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.

I look forward to not having to use apps like ShadowKiller to inject a bit of minimalism into OS X. Can’t wait to see what Ive will do with OS X and iOS. By the way, Scott Forstall and John Browett got the boot; John Gruber explains.

Windows Phone 8

Brian Klug, AnandTech:

Superficially Windows Phone 8 is very similar to Windows Phone 7.5 and 7 that came before it, but what’s different under the hood is dramatic. The move away from the Windows CE kernel and onto the same NT kernel as Windows 8 and RT run will have far reaching implications for the platform that won’t be immediately visible to users, but is nonetheless the core of what’s new in Windows Phone 8 […]

Genuinely excited, and this is a proven strategy. NT : WP8 = OS X : iOS

Google Nexus 10

The Verge: True RGB Real Stripe PLS. That’s what Google calls the 300-ppi 10.055-inch 2560×1600 PLS LCD. First, I guess there were enough fake RGB displays out there to make the point of the Nexus 10 sporting real RGB. Second, I thought it ridiculous Google would specify the display with so many decimal places. Now I know why: With 10.1 inches the resolution doesn’t get to 300 ppi. With 10.055 inches the resolution hits 300.24 ppi.

The iPad mini is in trouble. The 7.9-inch IPS LCD sports a pixel format of 1024×768, and it costs US$329. The 10.055-inch Google Nexus 10 packs in 2560×1600 pixels, and it costs just $70 more (for the 16GB version). I am aware the display isn’t everything; what you do with the display is just as important. For instance, there are very few tablet specific Android apps that make use of all the additional pixels on a tablet. The Nexus 10 with 2560×1600 pixels will be a huge challenge. The iPad mini, on the other hand, has tens of thousands thanks to it having the same pixel format as the original iPad and the iPad 2. I get that, but the additional hardware you get for only $70 extra is tremendous: The Nexus 10 has over four million pixels compared to just 786K on the iPad mini. Come to think of it the retina iPad, which is $100 more than the Nexus 10, is also going to be a hard sell.

The Nexus 10 doesn’t have cellular modems, so far. If data connectivity is important to you and you need speed the LTE-capable iPad is your best option. If WiFi is good enough there is no other tablet that gets you more than the Nexus 10.

The hardware is top notch, the design not so much. I lean toward straight clean lines and the Nexus 10 doesn’t have a whole lot of those, except for the the display itself. The bezels look fat because of the curves and the overall look of the Nexus 10 look more like a toy and less like a technical tour de force. The Google Nexus 10 will be available Tuesday, November 13.

Google Nexus 4

The Verge: Based on the LG Optimus G the Google Nexus 4 sports a 4.7-inch 1280×768 IPS+ LCD. The touch sensor is optically laminated to the Gorilla Glass 2 cover glass, which LG calls G2 technology, that reduces air gaps and brings the pixels closer to your eyes. Of course a more advanced technology is to integrate the touch sensors directly into the LCD called in-cell touch, which is found in the iPhone 5. The next step toward eliminating obstructions between pixels and our eyes will be to harden the top polarizer and eliminate the cover glass. I dislike the thick, heavy, and costly cover glass solution. The only time a cover glassed gadget looks nice is when it’s off.

Google claims the Qualcomm 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU that’s powering the Nexus 4 is the fastest on the market today. Other specs include: 2GB RAM, 8MP camera (back) / 1.3MP camera (front), Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi BGN. The 8GB Nexus 4 will be priced at US$299 while the 16GB is $349 and available November 13. (Note: These are unlocked, off-contract, full retail prices.) One obvious feature is lacking though: LTE. Why? It’s complicated; read at your own risk.

Update 2012.10.30: Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica:

If you can get past the lack of LTE, the Nexus 4 (and by extension the Optimus G, which will give you LTE but take away the Nexus line’s guaranteed updates) is easily the fastest Android handset you can buy today.

Most apps depend on an Internet connection and the faster that connection the better the experience. Without LTE is the Nexus 4 really the fastest?

Update 2012.11.02: via John Gruber. Matthew Panzarino, The Next Web:

The iPhone 5 offers zero concessions to carriers in the form of interface customizations or pre-installed software, something that Google has done its best to avoid on the Nexus line (and bravo to them for that). And yet, the iPhone 5 is available in LTE around the world. Apple had to fit the latest low-power chips in the device and ship three different models to do it, but they did it and with a minimum of customer confusion. People don’t know how much effort it took for Apple to make LTE work everywhere, they just know that they can buy one locally and use it on an LTE network. It is completely possible to make this happen, Google just didn’t put forth the effort.

I’m afraid there seems to be a lot of truth to what Panzarino is saying here. If Apple did it with the iPhone 5, why didn’t Google with the Nexus 4? Maybe Google couldn’t for some reason. Let’s get back to displays. Joshua Topolsky, The Verge:

Speaking of improvements, the display on this phone is big upgrade over the Galaxy Nexus’ Super AMOLED screen, which was often far too dim when set to auto-brightness, seemed very over-saturated, and did a somewhat poor job of cleanly reproducing text. The 4.7-inch, 1280 x 768 LCD display of the Nexus 4 has no such trouble, producing images that are clean and crisp in just about any light setting.

Topolsky mentioned one niggle: colors are a bit washed out. Accurate colors can look washed out if we’re used to blown out colors. We’ll have to wait and see for test results to know for sure.

Update 2012.11.18: According to iFixit the 4.7-inch 1280×768 IPS LCD is manufactured by LG Display with model number LH467WX1. The touch controller is Synaptics S7020A.

Apple Lacks Display Aspect Ratio Consistency

Android, relative to Apple, is quite fragmented when it comes to the experience of using smartphones or tablets. But when it comes to smartphone displays, it’s better than Apple. All Android smartphone manufacturers are moving toward wide: 800×480, 960×540, 1280×720, 1280×768, 1920×1080, etc.

Rumors were all over the place, but I was surprised and disappointed nonetheless when Apple announced the elongated iPhone 5. It seemed to me Apple broke consistency due to competitive pressures. It also seems Apple is becoming less focused on trailblazing and more focused on what everyone else is doing. I wanted to find out if Apple is losing its focus on providing a consistent experience across a line of products. When it comes to display aspect ratio the tightly integrated Apple is all over the place:

  • 3:2 – iPod touch (up to 4th generation), iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S
  • 4:3 – iPad, iPad 2, iPad (3), iPad (4), iPad mini
  • 16:9 – iPod touch (5th generation), iPhone 5, 11.6-inch MacBook Air, 13.3-inch MacBook Air, 21.5-inch iMac, 27-inch iMac, 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display
  • 16:10 – 13.3-inch MacBook Pro, 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, 15.4-inch MacBook Pro, 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

Apple has four aspect ratios. The iPad, Thunderbolt Display, and iMac stick to a single one while the iPhone, iPod touch and MacBook sport two. 16:9 versus 16:10 is not a big deal, but wouldn’t it be better if Apple stuck to one?

I disagree with Apple’s move to change the display size and aspect ratio on the iPhone 5. Apple went from an aspect ratio of 3:2 to 16:9 and from a pixel format of 960×640 to 1136×640. 960×640 was itself unusual, surrounded by a world of smartphones with 800×480, 960×540, 1280×720. Those are unusual too, except for 1280×720. But 1136×640? That’s ridiculous; it’s good for nothing. Apple went from weird but consistent—we’ve had 3:2 through five generations of iPhones—to weirder and inconsistent.

Yes, smart iOS developers will take beautiful advantage of the extra 176 pixels and make the more squarish apps look outdated. But the 16:9 aspect ratio of the iPhone 5 tells me Apple was keen on making HD viewers happy. Scaling technology has improved a great deal and on a high-ppi display most of us won’t be able to tell the difference, but the better option—if 16:9 was paramount—would have been 1280×720. 1136×640 isn’t even technically HD.

Let’s focus on iPhones versus Android smartphones and compare aspect ratios. Here is a list of Android smartphones at Verizon as of 2012.10.28:

  • Casio G’zOne Commando: 16:9, 800×480
  • HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE: 16:9, 960×540
  • HTC Rezound: 16:9, 1280×720
  • HTC Rhyme: 16:9, 800×480
  • LG Enlighten: 3:2, 480×320
  • LG Intuition: 4:3, 1024×768
  • LG Lucid: 16:9, 800×480
  • LG Spectrum: 16:9, 1280×720
  • Motorola Droid 4: 16:9, 960×540
  • Motorola Droid RAZR HD: 16:9, 1280×720
  • Motorola Droid RAZR M: 16:9, 960×540
  • Pantech Breakout: 16:9, 800×480
  • Pantech Marauder: 16:9, 800×480
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus: 16:9, 1280×720
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II: 16:9, 1280×720
  • Samsung Galaxy S III: 16:9, 1280×720
  • Samsung Galaxy Stellar: 16:9, 800×480
  • Samsung Stratosphere: 16:9, 800×480

Except for the 3:2 LG Enlighten and the 4:3 LG Intuition all Android smartphones on Verizon Wireless in the U.S. sport an aspect ratio of 16:9. That’s quite consistent over six smartphone manufacturers and 16 models. If LG is excluded from this list 16:9 makes up 100%.

Next up are Android smartphones on AT&T:

  • HTC One X: 16:9, 1280×720
  • HTC Vivid: 16:9, 960×540
  • LG Escape: 16:9, 960×540
  • LG Nitro HD: 16:9, 1280×720
  • LG Optimus G: 15:9, 1280×768
  • Motorola Atrix HD: 16:9, 1280×720
  • Pantech Burst: 16:9, 800×480
  • Pantech Flex: 16:9, 960×540
  • Pantech Pocket: 4:3, 800×600
  • Samsung Captivate Glide: 16:9, 800×480
  • Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate: 16:9, 800×480
  • Samsung Galaxy Note: 16:10, 1280×800
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II: 16:9, 1280×720
  • Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro: 16:9, 800×480
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket: 16:9, 800×480
  • Samsung Galaxy S III: 16:9, 1280×720
  • Samsung Rugby Smart: 16:9, 800×480
  • Sony Xperia ion: 16:9, 1280×720

Android smartphones on AT&T has a bit more variety with the 4:3 Pantech Pocket, the 15:9 LG Optimus G, and the 16:10 Samsung Galaxy Note. All the rest (15 models*) sport a 16:9 aspect ratio, and all but the Pantech Pocket packs a wide aspect ratio display.

Apple sells the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5. The first two have a 3:2 aspect ratio while the iPhone 5 has 16:9. Google has been working aggressively to limit the fragmentation problem regarding the experience of using Android smartphones, but when it comes to display aspect ratio Android seems to be more consistent than Apple.

*It’s interesting to note both Verizon Wireless and AT&T have 18 Android smartphone models for sale.

Amazon Attacks iPad mini

via The Verge. The Kindle Fire HD and iPad mini both sport IPS LCDs. The Kindle Fire HD has a pixel format of 1280×800; the iPad mini has 1024×768. Both are not ideal for HD viewing—1280×720 is—but the iPad mini is worse, because it can’t technically. Both fall short of being retina displays, but the 163-ppi resolution of the iPad mini is pitiful and comes in at less than the 165-ppi iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS.

Photoshopped

PetaPixel: Processing film = photoshopping RAW. That’s how I see it as we transitioned from analog to digital photography. But something happened on the way. It is difficult to process film; it’s easy to photoshop RAW image files. I think that’s the problem some of us have with photoshopped photographs: it’s too easy to make photographs look nice. The easier it is to do something the less value we give it; the harder it is the more value we give it. If someone accomplishes the impossible, that’s amazing. Photoshopping is too easy, anyone can do it, and because it’s so easy very little value is attributed to photoshopped photographs, which is nearly all professional photographs. If you desire your photography to be highly valued try accomplishing something that’s extremely difficult. A fine example is Australian photographer Deb Morris: She photographs miniature waves.