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Sony Will Drop Proprietary Hi-Res API in OS 5 Handhelds

Current versions of the Palm OS only support 160 by 160 screens. Last year, when Sony wanted to release models with 320 by 320 screens, it was necessary for it to write its own application programming interface (API) to let developers write applications that could take advantage of the higher resolution screens.

PalmSource is close to finishing Palm OS 5, which does support larger screens but doesn't use the same API that Sony does. A Sony spokesperson has told Cnet that its OS 5 devices won't use its proprietary API; instead they will use the OS 5 one.

While this will help simplify the process of developing future Palm OS applications and prevent a schism between competing hi-res standards, it does mean that applications which depend on Sony's API won't work in OS 5.

All applications which have been modified to work on Sony's hi-res screens won't necessarily break. It is just the programs which only run on Sony handhelds which will need to be modified. Mostly, this includes apps Sony has written itself.

However, Sony may still have to include a special API if it continues to use the 320 by 480 screens on the NR series. The maximum resolution OS 5 supports is 320 by 320.

Incidentally, this is the first time a company spokesperson has officially said that Sony will release a model with Palm OS 5. While it has been widely assumed that it would, before now the company hasn't officially confirmed this.

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WTF!!!

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 4:15:27 PM #
I hate Sony!! I can't believe they are coming out with a new device!!!!! I just got my NR70 and now it's completely obsolete!!!!

btw, I am just joking...for those of you that couldn't tell : )

I hope Sony will come out with a proprietory API to use the higher resolution, and it slowly becomes standard.

RE: WTF!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 5:41:22 PM #
Um, ooohh k.
Did you take your medication today?

R u sure your alright?

RE: WTF!!!
LarryGarfield @ 5/21/2002 8:46:31 PM #
I hope Sony will come out with a proprietory API to use the higher resolution, and it slowly becomes standard.

Oh, you mean the Microsoft Method? Sorry, that's an incredibly stupid idea.

--
This post is ROT26 encrypted. Reading it is a violation of the DMCA

RE: WTF!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 10:11:46 AM #
Larry,

If Palm isn't going to step up to the plate, then Sony should. I believe Handspring made thier own API for 16-Bit color and that became standard. I guess I don't see whats so stupid about that....

RE: WTF!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2002 11:26:48 AM #
I agree, if Palm is not going to support collapsible graffiti, someone needs to do it!! Go Sony!!
RE: WTF!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/24/2002 8:33:54 AM #
It looks like we are going to get our way...rumors have it that Sony is going to work with Palmsource on integrating some of the "Sony" features into the next Palm OS. If this is acting like Microsoft, then I say: Go Sony!

To Larry....try to obstain from insults with no backing. It just makes you appear to be stupid yourself.

RE: WTF!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/24/2002 9:18:10 AM #
Creating competeing proprietary APIs when existing APIs already support what is needed isn't just stupid, it's damaging for developers and consumers.
RE: WTF!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/24/2002 9:55:52 AM #
The problem is that existing API's do NOT do what we want. I really like the idea of virtual graffiti and highres+. I reiterate....if Palm can't step up to the plate, let Sony do it.
RE: WTF!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/24/2002 10:13:56 AM #
> The problem is that existing API's do NOT do what we want.

I can quite frankly tell you that you do not know what you are talking about.

RE: WTF!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/24/2002 10:32:58 AM #
>I can quite frankly tell you that you do not know what you are talking about.


Could you please explain then? As far as I understand, the current API's in Palm OS5 do not support VG or highres+.....is that not correct?

RE: WTF!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/24/2002 10:58:52 AM #
You can read some of the discussions further down in this news article, but the Palm OS has had APIs to handle pretty much any size display area since at least OS 3.x and possibly earlier. HandEra used these in its hi-res implementation. Sure, they added some additional functions for hi-res bitmaps and scaling legacy apps, but there is similar support in OS 5. It's worth noting that the HandEra 330 does all kinds of funky resolutions: 240x240, 240x320, 320x160 and 320x240 depending on the screen rotation and state of the graffiti area. As far as virtual graffiti goes, you don't really need an API for it. It's state (open, closed) only impacts the available display area for other apps, and there are already built-in OS functions and events that can provide that info without having a special API for vitual graffiti. A virtual graffiti API is only useful for apps that want to open/close or draw in the graffiti area on their own. Something that most normal apps have no need to do. Anyhow, long story short, OS 5 can easily support 320x480 with virtual graffiti using its existing APIs.
RE: WTF!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/24/2002 12:01:21 PM #
Wow! Thanks for the info!

Thank God!

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 4:17:36 PM #
Welcome to the world of Standards! Hope this will make all of our lives simpler
RE: Thank God!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 4:21:06 PM #
yeah right. You wait for standards committees to make decisions on what to do next, you'll be waiting forever.

We need Resolution independant API's like Windows has

RE: Thank God!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 4:38:32 PM #
Yep, I like that BSOD driver!
RE: Thank God!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 4:01:27 AM #
Standards are great!
Everyone should have one (of his own).
RE: Thank God!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 4:23:46 PM #
Where does this leave the Handera 330? They are still running OS3.5.3 but are capable of 240x320 resolution. Will OS5 help aleviate the software incompatability surrounding that machine?
RE: Thank God!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2002 9:04:43 AM #
> Where does this leave the Handera 330? They are
> still running OS3.5.3 but are capable of 240x320
> resolution. Will OS5 help aleviate the software
> incompatability surrounding that machine?

I have seen pretty minimal incompatabilites currently with software on the 330, so I don't know what you mean by this. As far as the future goes, HandEra could support hi-res on the 330 using the methods/APIs Palm is using in OS 5, but would require an OS update. The way hi-res works on the 330 already isn't that much different than OS 5 anyhow, so I think the future is bright in that sense.

RE: Thank God!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2002 11:28:52 AM #
I loved the TRGPro, but Handera is getting left in the dust now. They still haven't even released a color device!
RE: Thank God!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2002 10:20:42 PM #
I am at a loss as to how a device with a very nice hi-res screen, virtual graffiti, very long battery life, and far more (and way cheaper) expansion options than any other Palm OS device is getting left in the dust. Equivalent options for my work would leave me stuck with a low res screen, shorter battery life, and cost twice as much with expansions added in.

Maximum resolution?

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 4:23:27 PM #
"The maximum resolution OS 5 supports is 320 by 320."

I thought I read somewhere (in PIC?) that OS 5 would support multiples of 160 pixels.

RE: Maximum resolution?
pontif @ 5/21/2002 4:29:57 PM #
OS 5 supports any multiple of 160. However, using today's technology, 320x320 is all that makes sense.

I THINK it should be possible for an enterprising developer to make a shim that will look like the sony API, but map it to the Palm OS API. If you've ever used the sony API, it was just identical to the Palm OS API except it used 16-bit values for pixel row/column instead of a byte (which isn't sufficient for 320x320) and 32-bit values for bitmap sizes as opposed to 16-bit values. The API lives in a library. All you'd need to do is write a library mimicing it, that turned around and called the Palm OS 32-bit library. From the docs, it looks like the calls are pretty much the same. They just live directly in the OS, rather than in the sonyhr library.


RE: Maximum resolution?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 5:33:32 PM #
From PalmSource's description of OS 5:

Multimedia -- The ability to record sound and play CD-quality digital audio brings higher fidelity sound to mobile devices. Support for high-density screens (up to 320 x 320 pixels) doubles screen resolution, and new selectable color themes will let users customize devices.

http://makeashorterlink.com/?I1C5239E

RE: Maximum resolution?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 5:37:27 PM #
> I thought I read somewhere (in PIC?) that OS 5 would
> support multiples of 160 pixels.

As someone else said, it does. I believe Palm phrases it as something like: they will support 320x320 in OS 5 but other licensees are open to provide their own [including non-square] solutions. It is not the big deal some are making it out to be. I read it as the solution PalmSource will provide to its licensees will include support for 320x320 and it's up to the licensee if they want to add in support for something else. Current Sony owners should be more concerned that they will slowly (or maybe quickly) lose hi-res support in updated and future apps on current devices.

RE: Maximum resolution?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 7:31:32 PM #
So let me get this straight...

If 320 X 320 is as high as PalmSource will support in OS 5, and Sony intends to use the same API with its OS 5 devices, is high res PLUS soft graffiti (as seen on the NR series) dead until at least OS 6 on Sony devices (and, presumably, Palm Hardware devices)?

It sounds like high res will be common, but soft graffiti will not.

RE: Maximum resolution?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 9:12:06 PM #
I think what Sony means is that if they are STILL doing 320x320, or when there is available API in OS5, they would use it. I believe Sony will still tweak the OS is necessary because it is TOO long to wait for PalmSource to do anything. Hmmm, I thought the split would make PalmSource better, it is still so dull but I guess old habit dies hard. Give them some time while Sony or anything other licensees will happily add better features using non-standard means to suit their product line up or target customers.
RE: Maximum resolution?
hotpaw4 @ 5/22/2002 12:38:50 AM #
OS 5 will support a 2x hi-density resolution. This doesn't limit the vertical number of pixels to only 320.

RE: Maximum resolution?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 1:35:19 PM #
PalmSource only became a separate company last year. if you think you can do better (like so many of you boa****l PIC posters), why don't you apply got the job or better yet create a start-up company!

Thank you Sony

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 4:36:58 PM #
It's great that Sony is willing to give up their own API and use the Standard OS5 API. They will have to rewrite some of ther own Clie applications for future Clie on OS5.

Thank you Sony for not using the "Embrace & Extend" strategy like M$ does (remember the browser war?).

RE: Thank you Sony
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 9:15:06 PM #
NO, I do not want Sony to wait for PalmSource. They will slide back in innovation and make the Sony devices boring and uninteresting.

Sony screws its own users

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 4:40:46 PM #
some heads should roll on this one
RE: Sony screws its own users
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 5:31:27 PM #
Huh? Your comment makes no sense.
RE: Sony screws its own users
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 5:58:07 PM #
I think he might be upset that the HiRes software (mostly games) he already owns will no longer work on the OS5 machines.
RE: Sony screws its own users
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 9:39:38 PM #
There are just a couple of Sony-only games and, unless the developers are utter fools, they will be updated to OS 5 about as soon as the first handheld comes out.

Don't most developers already know this?

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 4:51:11 PM #
Wasn't this already pretty well known? It's been posted several times on PIC already (maybe not as a headline, but certainly in comments to various articles).

At this year's (U.S.) PalmSource, PalmSource already told everyone that Sony would switch to the new OS5 high-density APIs. Sony said so too and that they'd release a compatibility layer to allow applications written for Sony's High-Resolution API to run on OS5 CLIE devices. Has this changed?

RE: Don't most developers already know this?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 4:58:53 PM #
No, but most people don't even know what API stands for, so any news of Sony getting rid of "this thing" for the default one sounds bad. *sigh* It makes more sense to have higher compatiblity by adopting the same platform, which is the whole idea of the Palm OS, unlike the old mips/sh3 world of WinCE.
RE: Don't most developers already know this?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 5:27:54 PM #
Thanks for the update but because a few developers who were able to go to PalmSource know about this doesn't make it common knowlege.
RE: Don't most developers already know this?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 7:19:20 AM #
>>Thanks for the update but because a few developers who were able to go to PalmSource know about this doesn't make it common knowlege.

Ahh - no. It was mentioned here on PIC.

Wasted Real Estate

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 5:10:08 PM #
Someone please tell me I'm not seeing what I think I'm seeing!

Is Palm really going to force a "square" resolution on OS5? Why on God's green earth do we have to waste 25-30% of the screen real estate on a static graffiti area? How difficult, "bloated" or incompatible could it become to at least have collapsing graffiti like H/E & NR70 built into OS5?

IMO, one of the great needs of the handheld form factor is to increse the viewable real estate as greatly as possible. I love the Palm m1xx series but will never own this very functional-affordable device because of decresed screen real estate. Remember the old 8-10" monitors on notebook PCs with same form factor as today's models?

Imagine reading an eBook, viewing a spreadsheet or document, viewing today's events, looking at photos, writing "sticky notes", playing games, searching a map, reading e-mail or surfing the web on a Palm m5xx, H-S Edge or T615 with 100% more viewable screen area! Just examine your Palm OS device and note the mass of unused screen space that could be available with a flexible hi-res API and a creative hardware design. Imagine what 90-95% of the device "front" in screen real estate, at say 320x480, could offer!

I do not desire to desert Palm OS for PPC, but I cannot imagine this feature going through another OS cycle in the stone age. Does this make sense to anyone else out there?

PS - Thank you H/E (330) & Sony (NR) for at least trying ... and ugggghhhh even M-S PPC.

RE: Wasted Real Estate
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 5:35:30 PM #
OS 5 "forces" a square screen in the same way OS 4 does. Notice how there are a several OS 4 devices that don't have square screens. Licensees will be able to modify the OS to include a digital graffiti area if they want to under OS 5, the same as they could in OS 4 and even OS 3.

I think future versions of the Palm OS will have a digital graffiti area standard. But OS 5 is about porting the operating system to ARM chips, not remaking the UI. That comes later.

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