PalmInfoCenter.com Bottom Line:
- $9.99 until Feb 15 then $19.99
- Superb Image Quality and Size
- Full Clie Support
- Supports EXIF thumbnails and data
- Few Bells and Whistles
- Poor image Panning
- No 8 bit colour support
*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms
By Edward Green
JpegWatch is a Image viewer that will read industry standard Jpeg files
straight from a VFS memory card.
Another Picture Viewer?
There is no shortage of image viewers available for Palm OS handhelds;
many devices include an image viewer out of the box. However the majority
of viewers require the user to convert their original image into a application
specific format, offering low compression and no compatibility with viewers
on colleges or friends handhelds, let alone other devices. In the world
of desktop computers their are a smaller number of image formats readable
by a range of applications, Jpeg being the compressed format commonly
used for Photographs. With JpegWatch this universal format is accessible
directly from a Palm OS device. JpegWatch supports VFS devices from Palm
and Sony as well as Handspring devices using MemPlug springboards.
Installing and Managing Images
JpegWatch comes with a desktop application which will convert a wider
range of image formats into Jpeg and modify them to suit your device,
handling whole batches of files in one operation. It is very easy to select
the contents of an entire directory and re-size all the images to 320x320
Installing the Jpegs onto your handhel's memory card is pretty straight
forward. You can either use Palm Desktop 4.0's Install tool, which will
automatically create an Image directory on your memory card, or on the
Clie you can simply use MS Import and drag the files into a folder of
your choice. JpegWatch doesn't mind where you place the images, as it
has a full file explorer, although helpfully you can set a default directory.
Once installed JpegWatch allows images to be viewed, deleted and for
notes to be attached. These are saved in a separate .txt file with the
same name as the image. Image details saved by EXIF (Exchangeable Image
File Format) Digital Cameras are also available, providing data on the
source camera, flash usage, focal length and much more. Sharing images
with other JpegWatch users is also straightforward, even if they use
a different card format as images can be beamed and received between handhelds.
A 16 bit 320x320 image in a Palm format will normally take up about 190k
on a memory card. The same file as a Jpeg will typically take up under
50k. There is however a small trade off, in that JpegWatch takes a little
time to decompress and display the image For a 320x320 image that time
is only a couple of seconds, however a 1600x1200 image from a digital
camera can take ten times that to process. Neatly JpegWatch supports the
EXIF thumbnails which many digital cameras encode into the images they
produce, which means you can flick through a set of images without having
to decode the Jpegs. JpegWatch doesn't provide a multiple thumbnail gallery
like many other image viewers, but this would probably be slow due to
the decompression required.
Image quality at 320x320 in 16 bit color is superb, but image quality
on low resolution devices is good as well. JpegWatch supports both 16
bit color and dithered 4 bit gray devices; it doesn't support 8bit color
on the Sony n710c. Once the image is loaded you can scale the image from
twice to one eighth scale, and if the image is larger than the physical
screen you can pan by dragging the stylus across the screen. Unfortunately
JpegWatch then has to redecode the whole screen area, rather than smoothly
scrolling the whole image as other viewers offer.
JpegWatch does offer full RGB brightness control, allowing you to lighten
dark images, or compensate for a displays colour shift. This setting is
universal and effects all images rather than the adjustments being attached
to a certain image.
The images can be set to display as a slide show, although the decompression
time of larger images isn't ideal for this purpose. JpegWatch can also
be controlled remotely by the N7x0's series audio controller, ideal for
As an Image Viewer JpegWatch lags behind other products in terms of bells
and whistles, however many of these shortcomings are due to the use of
the Jpeg image format. Here JpegWatch comes into its own. For those users
who are always running out of memory JpegWatch allows you to store as
many as ten times the number of images in the same space. Images can be
transferred directly via a memory card reader from and to other devices
without conversion, making it an ideal solution for Digital Photographers.
For those users who want a picture of their significant other, the kids
and the dog one of other the image viewers may be a better bet. Personally
I could never go back to using PDB based image viewers. JpegWatch is a
professional and powerful solution.