HandEra Calls 240 by 320 Resolution an 'Emerging Standard'

HandEra has released a statement that calls QVGA an "emerging standard for Palm Powered devices". QVGA is HandEra's name for screens with 240 by 320 pixel resolution, additional display fonts, and a collapsible virtual Graffiti area. So far the only device that supports QVGA is the HandEra 330 but Mike Walter, vice president of software development for the company, said there is a "strong interest within the industry in licensing HandEra's technology," implying that we can expect to see other, non-HandEra, QVGA devices in the future. HandEra's statement says that these can be expected within the coming year.

For developers wanting to get a jump start on this, HandEra offers its new QVGA Compatibility Testing Process, which ensures that an application supports the high-resolution screen, properly implements the QVGA extension APIs, and meets basic Palm specifications. Developers who pass these test will be listed on the HandEra web site and receive the QVGA logo as proof of certification.

Thanks to Craig Ganoe for the tip. -Ed

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"Emerging standard"?

norm2002 @ 9/3/2001 3:06:46 PM #
Wishful thinking IMHO. Now that Sony has shown how 320x320 works, I can't understand why any new Palm PDAs would go back to 240x320.

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 3:49:03 PM #
Works for what, providing a small color box with double the resolution? HandEra has shown that the current Palm OS can support portrait and landscape screens. Currently 240x320 screens are readily available in color and greyscale from many vendors instead of Sony's custom 320x320 stuff. HandEra's design also scales up more nicely to other resolutions (could probably do Sony's 320x320 with minor additions) and provides APIs for that including screen rotation. As far as I know their soft graffiti area API is somewhat separate from the QVGA support, so it should be possible to support HandEra's API for soft graffiti on things like the new Samsung phone/PDA. Sony's screen may be higher resolution, but HandEra's technology is more practical and interesting.

To Palm: Please make VG(Virtual Graffiti) a standard!
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 4:21:08 PM #
Virtual Graffiti is higher on my list than 320x320 res.

I'd rather have VG be a standard before they start cramming more pixels into the same screen area.

dwarchbold @ 9/3/2001 4:56:56 PM #
To achieve the 320x320 resolution on the Clie, Sony had to add a dedicated graphics accelerator. The accelerator takes care of the line doubling for backwards compatibility as well as giving a much needed speed boost to compensate for the hi-res overhead.

Handera took a cheaper, easier and more universal (in my opinion) approach. Applications must be written to use the hi-res features. Old apps will continue to run, but only part of the screen is used.

I'm a Clie owner, and I especially love the hi-res screen. Personally, I really don't like Handera's "awkward" resolution and virtual graffiti is really something that doesn't appeal to me. However I do see this technology winning out in the long run, since it's the easiest and more universal method to implement. Unless Sony bullies their tech into the market, of course.

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 6:29:10 PM #
I suppose monochrome screens, ugly cases, and serial connectivity are also emerging standards.

ckohl23 @ 9/3/2001 9:22:10 PM #
i must be one of the few people who doesn't like the idea of virtual graffiti. something tells me it will be slower, more cumbersome, and not as responsive. increased resolution, however, is a must...i don't care what the standard is, as long as it will support older apps.

RE: 320X320 and Vitual Graffiti
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 10:29:55 PM #
WinCE had virtual graffiti area for a long time, and many people do not like it including myself. Given backward compatibility, 320x320 seems to be the way to go. Also 320x320 seems so much more cleaner than Handera's resolution anyway.

Not slow.
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 10:32:23 PM #
I just bought a Handera and I'm loving it. the VG is really nice. It's not slow at all. And the grafitti accuracy is tops. It didn't take long to get used to at all, and now I feel kinda cramped when I'm using my old IIIC. Just MHO.

RE: Handera desperate
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 10:33:11 PM #
I think Handera is desperate. It looks like Palm will be going with 320x320 resolution in the future as well.

RE: the one desperate CLIE owner
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 11:21:27 PM #
Oh boy, the one desperate CLIE owner who can't accept why anyone might like some other handheld. Get over it, and get a life. The world has it figured out who you are. You bash HandEra exactly the same way every chance you get.

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/4/2001 1:40:27 AM #
Palm's going with 320x320
I think Samsung makes part of the HE330 so maybe Mr. Walter is referring to some new Samsung model aside from the phone or he's marketing department is smoking something silly.
As for the virtual graffiti, I read that one of the drawbacks is that hacks which use launch strokes (app to upper graffiti area) don't work. Can someone verify? HandEra + Pop! or McPhiling?

GrouchoMarx @ 9/4/2001 2:57:11 AM #
I didn't like the idea of virtual graffiti either, until I used it. HandEra did a very good job of making the graffiti area collapsable yet more accessible than the "pop up over" method in WinCE.

As for hacks, most hacks that use the screen and were written for the old resolution won't work, not as much because of the virtual graffiti but because of the different resolution. But they CAN be updated, like any other program. McPhling has already been updated, and was one of the developer contest winners. I've been using it on my 330 for a while now, and it works great!

Why are people so short sighted
mengshi @ 9/4/2001 6:37:09 AM #
For those who criticise the QVGA format, think about these...

1) What is there to prevent from Handera putting in a custom graphics accelerator (ala Clie) as well? I think this is very likely with a QVGA colour screen due to the processing needed.

2) The next step up from QVGA is full VGA, which is a mere doubling of QVGA. This is a very real development in the Pocket PC world. Getting into QVGA now will make the next step so much easier and open up the possibilities of doing great multimedia on the Palm (did I hear you say Be).

3) Enough bickering amongst Palm users. Getting parity with the Pocket PC crowd with their screen resolution will be a plus for the Palm platform.

4) A VGA screen in landscape format allows you to watch movie at normal film aspect ratio. Does Sony make a square TV?

RE: 320X320 and Vitual Graffiti
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/4/2001 6:53:37 AM #
Talk about Handera bias!

WinCE or Pocket PC already have 240x320 resolution. Why would Palm go with the same resolution when 320x320 would offer Palm the advantage of having the best resolution in the PDA business. I know people who were set to buy PocketPC until they saw 320x320 vs. 320x240.

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/4/2001 7:56:49 AM #
You can't make that square screen much bigger in a PDA form factor. Make the screens bigger and let the increased resolution follow that, instead of squishing more pixels into the same or smaller square screen.

RE: Sony
rueyeet @ 9/4/2001 12:04:26 PM #
Sony may have shown how their 320x320 works, but are notoriously bad at sharing their proprietary technology with others.

So 240x320 may well become the standard for everyone else, since Handera's willing to share, while Sony sits on its 320x320 screens and proclaims superiority.

"Standard," after all, refers to the minimums adhered to by the industry as a whole, not the top-of-the-line that may be available.

--rueyeet the semantic nitpicker

virtual graffiti
mj6798 @ 9/5/2001 2:35:26 AM #
The point of virtual graffiti is that you might like to use some other input method than graffiti. I'm pretty skilled at it, and I still think it's pretty inefficient.

Try it, you'll like it!
ilikedatabases @ 9/5/2001 12:38:55 PM #
I drooled over the Clie 320x320 color when it came out. I really wanted one. Then I saw the QVGA of the Handera. It is very clear and sharp and provides a larger actual viewing area not just a higher resolution.

Viewable area has been the one area that the WinCE/PocketPC has always had an advantage in. This is the first step in erasing that difference.

Handera has to front of the line for innovation with the 330. The screen is superior to any Palm OS PDA out there. I think color is currently more gimick than necessity.

As more color apps and QVGA apps come out and the 66Mhz DragonBall is implemented I can easliy see a Handera with a QVGA Color screen that makes the PocketPC crowd say "WOW!"

RE: size vs. resolution
dlan* @ 10/23/2001 6:40:17 PM #
"You can't make that square screen much bigger in a PDA form factor. Make the screens bigger and let the increased resolution follow that, instead of squishing more pixels into the same or smaller square screen."

Beg to differ. DO squish more pixels into the *same* size, until you get at least 200 ppi. A Palm Vx is about 75 ppi, just like a typical monitor: about 0.3mm pitch. For anything viewed at typical paper or book distances, about 0.1 mm pitch is preferable. One minute of arc would be good; 30 seconds of arc would be better. What we have now is typically about 3 minutes of arc resolution, whether on a Palm or a monitor, or from an LCD projector.

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/8/2002 12:10:25 PM #
> WinCE or Pocket PC already have 240x320 resolution.
> Why would Palm go with the same resolution when
> 320x320 would offer Palm the advantage of having the
> best resolution in the PDA business.

Because 240x320 is a standard size of screens like these. They are used in a lot of PDA's, and they're much cheaper than making your own custom screens.

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/26/2002 12:38:00 PM #
I like sony's implementation. i'm a developer and have used there sdk. If you want to use hi-res, it's the exact same API function calls as for standard PalmOS, but with the letters 'HR' prefixed to the function name. of course, the standard graphic functions are still there.

on the other hand (no pun in tended) Handeras virtual graffiti thing makes sense for the reason mention above. they double the horizontal pixels only (reletive to the top 'square') and then extend to the graffiti area. What if they also doubled on the vertical? That would mean 320 x 480!! THAT I'D LIKE TO SEE. It would give all above advantages and completely kill CE in the graphics deptarment.

Re: 2nd post

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 3:56:19 PM #
would you PLEASE stop cussing at ed when he or ryan kills your stupid posts!?! it's not his fault you're wasting web space with dumb things

RE: 2nd post
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 3:56:52 PM #
The thing is not as easy - censoring seems to happen not only at flames but at generally "unpleasent" content as well - not only flames - this surely makes palminfocenter less attractive.

A dedicated PIC visitor

RE: 2nd post
Ed @ 9/3/2001 4:08:57 PM #
All I can say is, please notice these rules on posting:
  • Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments may be moderated/deleted.
  • Want to talk about something other than this story? Try the Forums.
In general, all that gets removed is personal attacks on other users, totally off topic comments, and flamebait, which I define as comments posted for no reason other than to start an arguement that has been rehashed a million times before. We had an unofficial poll a while back on flamebait posts and I don't think anyone came out in support of them.

"I posted first" is always off topic.

For every complaint I get from someone that I deleted their flame, I get a compliment that these forums actually contain useful information. If all you want to do is carry out flame wars, there are plenty of other sites available.

News Editor

RE: Re: 2nd post
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 4:28:45 PM #
Big thanks to ed for being so considerate to serious users of this site. I get very annoyed with people who find that there is nothing better to do then post stupid/pointless/rude/mean comments designed to annoy other users.

On the forums, there tends to be a lot more constructive discussion going on. Part of it is that people are unable to hide behind an anonymous name, and the other part is the strong ddedication of the visitors to this site.

If you want to post something completely un-pda related, go to the forums where people have discussed tons of different things in a civil matter. And, if you want to hold a debate, theres plenty of people who are willing to present and listen to the facts in a friendly/informative manor. Who knows, they might even change your mind!

RE: Re: 2nd post
BillFugina @ 9/3/2001 5:01:15 PM #
I'm not trying to start an argument, but isn't this discussion itself totally off topic?

RE: Re: 2nd post
mikecane @ 9/4/2001 12:26:23 PM #
OT to the article, perhaps, but germane to PIC being useful. At one point, this site was deteriorating due to the sheer volume of boneheads who couldn't be bothered (or couldn't figure out how!) to register and filled the after-article discussions with irritating idiocy. If Ed and Ryan have been pruning these comments, I say more power to them! Most people come here to express their opinion of an article or topic, not to engage in the kind of meaningless dribble that too often ruins other sites.

Any resolution is the future.

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 5:07:17 PM #
Yes the screen might be 6 inch QVGA res pixels, but the OS should be able to handle any resolution, dare I say, just like Win CE, either via virtual windows or compressed format.

either way, the future is not 160*160 or 240*320, but Any resolution that user find it fits to use.

RE: Any resolution is the future.
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 6:10:20 PM #
EXACTLY. Malign Windows CE for its many faults, but handling different screen resolutions isn't one of those. Palm OS needs to adopt a similar screen handling system in order to keep developers from tearing their hair out and developing WinCE apps.

RE: Any resolution is the future.
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 11:35:07 PM #
I think the main title of this thread isn't very accurate. It isn't 240x320 that they're calling an emerging standard, it's their APIs. To support HandEra 330's screen completely, you need to support various resolutions. It's 240x320 with the virtual graffiti area closed, but 240x240 with it open. In landscape mode there's something like 320x160 with the virtual graffiti area open and 320x240 with it closed. Their APIs support all of that, and handling other resolutions seems possible if they wanted to do it that way.

RE: Any resolution is the future.
rueyeet @ 9/4/2001 12:11:30 PM #
I do think, though, that the screen is a large consideration in many PPC consumer purchases, especially given that PPC focused on multimedia to begin with. I've seen many a comment from PPC users here who admit that WinCE is more troublesome to use than the Palm OS, but the hi-res color and full multimedia support of, say, the I-Paq made the trade-off worthwhile.

Now if the Palm-powered machines could add in the hi-res color, and the multimedia support, without sacrificing the simplicity and ease-of-use of the Palm OS, that trade-off would disappear....since a Palm machine can share Microsoft apps just as well as a PPC, and that's the only remaining inducement to deal with WinCE's foibles.

So screen resolution will be important, as far as the great brand war of Palm-Powered vs. PPC goes.


I.M. Anonymous @ 9/3/2001 5:56:55 PM #
Let's face it folks, the new clie has upped the ante in visual quality of the Palm OS; a definite quantum leap. And those pocketpc's, they don't know the meaning of the term--low resolution. Palm better act fast.


Davy @ 9/3/2001 9:07:33 PM #
Let's see

320 x 320: 2 Succesful Color Clies
320 x 240: Handera 330
160 x 160: Every Palm from the Palm 1000 to the m505 (at least 20 Palm models, including specialty Vx's). Every Visor (6 models). And the Sony Clie 300 and 320.

Emerging Standard? Hey Satansism's an emerging standard if you look at it like this.

RE: Standards?
kevdo @ 9/4/2001 12:18:26 AM #
When I saw this article earlier today I was skeptical. But the more I think about it, 240 x 320 may not be so crazy after all.

Look at these issues.

1) Most would agree a "soft" graffiti area is a desirable and likely future of Palm OS.

2) Pocket PC screens are 240 x 320

3) 320x320 is cool. But 320 x 320 with soft graffiti would be 320 x 480. That's probably too expensive.

The convergance of #1 and #2 make 240 x 320 actually something plausable. There would be economies of scale by matching the screen resolution of the Pocket PC screens.

It would, also, match the one thing that Pocket PC types point to as an advantage over Palm -- bigger screens.

So, as much as I think the current HandEra implementation is "cludgey" (Sony pixel doubling obviously is more elegant) - I do think that this might happen.

It all depends on what Palm thinks...

RE: Standards?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/4/2001 1:48:10 AM #
Kludgey? Not IMO. It's software-oriented, as opposed to Sony's throw-more-hardware-at-it solution. If anything, I'd think that rewriting the Palm API's to use enhanced fonts is more elegant than just slapping more hardware on the device, and getting limited backward-functioning.

The way HandEra did it, you may have less pixels, but you get more use out of the pixels you have, in more programs. It seems more elegant to me than looking at programs on a 320x320 screen emulating a 160x160 screen. :S

I woulden't push too hard for 320x320 as a standard, personally - I believe that Sony makes those screens themselves - I can't imagine them giving good pricing to Handspring, or Palm, for that matter.

For those of you who've never heard that funny german-ish word before, take a look at http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/entry/kludge.html

RE: Standards?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/4/2001 12:14:48 PM #
>> It all depends on what Palm thinks... <<

Actually, since Sony's agreement with Palm allows Palm to get all the OS extensions, etc. that Sony makes, while HandEra's agreement would require Palm to negotiate a license agreement from HandEra, it really depends on what Sony thinks. Why would Palm license something from HandEra they could get for free from Sony?

RE: Standards?
rueyeet @ 9/4/2001 12:20:02 PM #
to the thread originator:

That's why the term used was "emerging standard" rather than "current standard." And I can't see anyone hoping that the current low-res standard for Palm's machines will stick around for long.

in reply to the rest of the thread:

Again, trade-offs: throw hardware at it, and it takes no software overhead, but becomes hardware-specific; do it with software, and it could be adapted to any hardware, but takes up software overhead.

I do favor the software solution, though, since it could be adapted to various hardware....consider what use landscape and virtual Graffiti capability would be if more units were developed with the Treo k180 thumb keyboard.

RE: Standards?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/4/2001 12:33:44 PM #
Palm may get get Sony's software OS extensions, but my understanding is that Sony's hi-res API is just all of Palm's calls with an "HR" stuck on the beginning of the functions and the old Palm API calls draw 2x2 pixels instead of a single pixel. Palm would still have to write new code to interface with whatever hardware they decide to use, since Sony's likely under no obligation to give them a good price on that. That's why I would expect 240x320 screens might be more appealing to some manufacturers, since they're more commonly available.

HandEra's API seems more flexible in that it mainly uses the existing Palm drawing/windowing APIs, but expects programmers to check and use what size the window/screen actually is. So it's not really fixed to 240x320 either, except that they provide functions to scale up legacy screens up to the new resolution. Probably more of a pain for some developers porting old apps, but more flexable in the long run.

a real standard or just another option?

AriB @ 9/4/2001 2:29:24 AM #
In order for qvga to become a "standard" it must be
1) adopted by at least either Palm or Handspring
2) come out in a color version
3) offer true backward compatability with 160X160 apps without distortion
Sony already has 2) and 3) and will probably get 1) as well because of that

RE: a real standard or just another option?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/4/2001 7:50:41 AM #
A standard can still be optional. There's nothing preventing a color 240x320 screen from appearing. HandEra has shown a very high level of backward compatability. The only way to avoid any distortion is to just keep doubling the screen resolution, which is a horrible route to take. The Palm OS needs to move more in the direction of supporting varying resolutions, not just two square ones.

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