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Motorola's Rumored Android Phone Focuses on Screen Size 134

Posted by timothy
from the aging-eyes-like-size dept.
nottheusualsuspect excerpts from this speculation-laden report at Brighthand that "Motorola is reportedly working on a device that will have one of the largest displays of any smartphone. Code-named the Shadow, it will sport a 4.3-inch WVGA+ touchscreen, Google's Android OS, and a range of other high-end features. When it comes to screen size, the Shadow will be equaled only by the Windows Mobile-based HTC HD2. The closest Android-powered model will be the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, which will sport a 4.0-inch display. Most other models, like the Motorola Droid and Google Nexus One, have 3.7-inch screens. The display on this upcoming Motorola smartphone will allegedly have a resolution of 850 by 484 pixels."
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Motorola's Rumored Android Phone Focuses on Screen Size

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  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gregarican (694358) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @03:32PM (#30608802) Homepage

    This is rumor article about a rumored mobile device. This fascinates me and I'd love to know more. While I'm waiting I'll page through my Star magazine to see about Lindsey Lohan's latest escapades...

  • Key words (Score:5, Funny)

    by ianare (1132971) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @03:36PM (#30608834)

    Well, I might be the son of god, who allegedly created the universe.

  • Ugh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @03:39PM (#30608868)

    First, it's never a good sign when you measure your package using a decimal point, Slashdot. Second this article makes you look like a whore. You should be ashamed! What would your mother think if she saw you dressed in those fishnets, a stolen wonderbra, and humping an android? This is not the way to get in touch with your feminine side, young man. When you've put some decent clothes on, come back down and I'm taking you down to the hex shop and we're going to find you something to play with that won't hurt as much.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seventeen other employees post about it on Slashdot.

    Enough, already.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2009 @03:41PM (#30608896)

    Sounds really odd that it will be 850x484. I believe it will have 854x480 instead, which makes a lot more sense.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)
      But 854 sounds as odd to me as 850. It could be 800, making it 800x480, which is a more standard widescreen resolution. Why would 854x480 make a lot more sense? I've never seen that resolution before.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RedK (112790)
        Because that is the Droid's screen resolution, which is becoming ubiquitous as a resolution for newer big screen phones and portables. So if you've never seen it before, it's because you weren't looking.
      • by hsdpa (1049926) *

        Well, you're right. 800x480 is a very standard resolution, but we're talking about Motorola, right? ;-)
        Having 854x480, you still keep one axis standard (480) which makes 800x480 applications easier to port.
        Just google the different resolutions and you see which one's more popular and widely used:

        resolution - hits
        480x800: 365 000
        800x480: 1 270 000
        484x850: 73 000
        850x484: 102 000
        480x854: 80 200
        854x480: 475 000 -- // AC

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        But 854 sounds as odd to me as 850. It could be 800, making it 800x480, which is a more standard widescreen resolution. Why would 854x480 make a lot more sense? I've never seen that resolution before.

        854x480 is what you get when start with the vertical 480 pixels of VGA, multiply by 16/9, and round up. Hence WVGA. It's a standard Android 1.6+ resolution, and as said, several other phones have it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by icegreentea (974342)
        Its the widescreen (16:9) version of 800x480.
  • by Gonoff (88518)

    Until someone shows me something with a keyboard, I am sticking with my BlackBerry.

    The G1 was a good first attempt but everything since has been an iPhone wannabe, all shiny and pretty but missing that important item.

    • Until someone shows me something with a keyboard

      Motorola Cliq

    • by Fizzol (598030)
      HTC Touch Pro 2
      • WinDroid?
        • by J-F Mammet (769)

          There is actually an effort to port Android 2.01 to the Touch Pro 2 (and most other Windows Mobile 6.X devices from HTC). Right now it boots and the OS works, the touch screen works, so does the keyboard. Radio works so you can call people, but audio doesn't work completely so you can't talk just yet. 3G works on the Android 1.6 port, but not yet on 2.01. Wifi, GPS and other niceties like this are lower priority, but since they already work on other HTC phones it's only a matter of days or at worse weeks.
          It

    • by alen (225700)

      maybe my Curve is too small, but it's easier for me to type on my iphone in landscape mode than on my BB Curve

    • keyboards are too inflexible. I can't imagine using a hardware KB on a smartphone.

      • by natehoy (1608657) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @04:46PM (#30609582) Journal

        And that's great, for you.

        Personally, after trying out an iPod Touch for a few days (even in landscape mode) I just can't type worth felgercarb on it. Audible feedback is just, well, annoying to me. And for some bizarre and unexplained reason, annoying to those around me as well. Can't say why. "tick. tick. tick-tick-tick. tick-tick-tick-tick. tick-whoosh-tick. tick."

        I can kludge along at a decent clip on my trusty old BlackBerry Curve, though, and could since the first day I got it. Nowhere near as fast as I can type on a desktop, but the feel of the actual physical buttons and the tactile feeling of pushing a button are huge advantages to me. I have to put a lot of text into my Blackberry, and I can't imagine NOT using a hardware keyboard.

        Isn't it great that both companies make devices? ;)

    • Re:Basic Requirement (Score:4, Interesting)

      by leighklotz (192300) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @04:09PM (#30609212) Homepage

      Until someone shows me something with a keyboard, I am sticking with my BlackBerry.

      The G1 was a good first attempt but everything since has been an iPhone wannabe, all shiny and pretty but missing that important item.

      Exactly. The danger series had good keyboards, as did the antediluvian Motorola T-900 series. I could clock nearly 30WPM on those. And as much as I like the folks at Palm, I couldn't use their chiclets at all.

      The G1 keyboard is just barely tolerable. I've noticed the amount of actual work I get done on my G1 is a tenth of what I used to do. Sure, I can see web pages more clearly and get the info I need more quickly, but as far as acting on it, without an ergonomic keyboard, I can't do much typing.

      I wish Android partners would give up on being what David Pogue calls an iPhone wannabe [nytimes.com], and focus on the real promise of small mobile devices.

      Or, else, stop agreeing with as the Onion's quote attributed [theonion.com] to Steve Jobs, "People who use keyboards are standing in the way of progress."

      • by Jeng (926980)

        Are there bluetooth keyboards that work with phones?

      • > I wish Android partners would give up on being what David Pogue calls an iPhone wannabe [nytimes.com], and focus on the real promise of small mobile devices.

        That worked so well for Windows CE, eh? Plenty of keyboards there.

    • Exactly the reason i never got one of the iPhones. must have keyboard.
    • by MrMista_B (891430)

      Y'know, the iPhone has a keyboard.

    • You mean, like, a droid?

    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      Using my Nokia 5800 with a stylus, rather than fingers, makes the touch keyboard work fine. Handwriting recognition is even better. And no, that doesn't make it an Iphone wannabe - Nokia were making phones long before the Iphone was even thought of, and Apple are still playing catchup to feature phones, let alone smart phones.

    • I want something with two screens, that can be flipped towards each other when not in use to protect against scratches, etc. Like the Nintendo DS. And for you, they could make a software keyboard on the lower one. It wouldn't be any more cramped trying to type on.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @03:44PM (#30608958)

    That we will have to test against to make sure our apps work right. Android is starting to get as bad as WinMo. We ported our iPhone apps over to Android, but testing and QA is starting to rack up on the Android side of the house.

    Love of hate Apple, their basic configuration is the same across the various iPhone/iPod Touch models. Make it work well on one, it works well on all 30M or so devices out there. Even Blackberry is basically 2 configs, classic and storm.

    But Windows Mobile is a nightmare as just about every handset has a different UI and hardware spec. And Google seems to be heading down the same road.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Love of hate Apple, their basic configuration is the same across the various iPhone/iPod Touch models. Make it work well on one, it works well on all 30M or so devices out there. Even Blackberry is basically 2 configs, classic and storm.

      Sounds like a formula for long term retardation of progress. Having to stick within rigid standards makes it hard to innovate the device itself.

      But this is Apple... where vendor lockin is a good thing from the same masses who cry about it when it's Microsoft.
      • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @04:06PM (#30609190)

        Sounds like a formula for long term retardation of progress. Having to stick within rigid standards makes it hard to innovate the device itself.

        That sounds like a judgment from someone who has never had to develop on a device that doesn't have a rigid set of standards. Yes there may be less innovation, but there's also not the crapload of little issues that frustrate the hell out of a developer. Having developed on WinMobile, the fact that the every one of those devices might have a different screen size alone has stopped subsequent development. We may develop one version. It if doesn't fit the screen, it's a pain to make it fit, then there has to be a cost/benefit analysis. If there aren't enough customers to justify further development, we won't develop any further unless a customer pays for development. Then there's difference in capabilities from one device to another which is another large set of headaches.

        • by mobby_6kl (668092)

          Maybe you just suck at development. It does require a bit of extra effort of course, but it's still pretty easy to make WM apps work across resolutions. Even my shitty apps work fine in all standard resolution and orientation combinations, from 176220 to VGA and probably WVGA, which I haven't tested admittedly.

      • by mdwh2 (535323)

        Indeed - I guess the Iphone is now doomed to be restricted to a pathetic 320 × 480! Even my Nokia 5800, at a third of the price of the Iphone 3GS, is now capable of 640 x 360.

        What was the first desktop Apple resolution? ducomputergeek seriously believes that Apple would be better off to have remained at that resolution!

        Any decent computer system will support applications that can run independent of a fixed computer resolution. If Iphone applications aren't up to that capability, too bad.

    • Droid has the same resolution as the shadow. The physical size of the screen is irrelevant. Also, millions of Windows Mobile handsets have the same UI and hardware spec (because some are the same model), unless you mean that all different windows handsets are different - a tautology!
      • The physical size of the screen is irrelevant.

        That is totally not the case. In mobile design you are working around very tight constraints around how many pixels wide a target like a button can be, because a finger can only hit a physical target so small (on the iPhone, it's 35 pixels although you can fudge downward a bit).

        So when the physical screen size gets larger, that means you COULD design buttons smaller in pixel resolution to keep the same target size but allow more data to show. Otherwise your in

    • by beakerMeep (716990) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @04:06PM (#30609180)
      It's the same resolution as the Droid and Nexus One. There are really only 2 main screen resolutions out there.

      If your QA is backing up for android, maybe you did a bad job porting. Or maybe you should have designed for android to begin with.
    • by modmans2ndcoming (929661) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @04:06PM (#30609182)

      perhaps people should start using units that do not rely on pixels to display their app? how about em?

    • by Hurricane78 (562437) <.gro.todhsals. .ta. .deteled.> on Thursday December 31, 2009 @05:01PM (#30609736)

      WTF? Have you ever heard of dynamic layouting?

      Yes, I can write one UI that scales from 128x128 to 1920*1080 without compromises. And so should you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Threni (635302)

        I've seen that sort of thing on websites. It's easy - just make sure you only use the left 22% of the screen, and leave the rest blank. Or centre the 22% of content. Whatever.

        • by jonadab (583620)
          > I've seen that sort of thing on websites. It's easy -
          > just make sure you only use the left 22% of the screen,

          That's what you get when the website is created by somebody who spends more time using Photoshop than creating the actual markup or -- worse yet -- uses a WYSIWYG HTML editor like FrontWeaver or DreamPage.

          If the webmaster is competent, however, things can be designed so that they actually scale, taking up the whole screen at 1600x1200, but not requiring a horizontal scrollbar at 640x480, eve
        • That is STATIC layout. Unbelievable... is that all the imagination you got?

          Flexible widths, flexible heights, percentage values, flexible spaces, SVG, MIP mapping for all UI elements (so if you use a bigger screen, they have more details/functions and show things right in-place, instead of opening separate screens, etc)... there. Is that so hard to come up with??

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maxume (22995)

        Actually, I'm pretty sure the scalable UI is going to involve at least some effort above a fixed layout, which is exactly a compromise.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Scalable UI has many more benefits than just working on screens of different sizes. It means, for example, that user can arbitrarily change font size and family, and the UI will adapt. It enables smooth seamless vector zoom in and out. It allows for easy localization (as lengths of UI strings can change a lot when localizing, so widget sizes need to adapt). And so on.

          In short, yes, it's harder, but it's well worth the effort. If you look at modern desktop UI frameworks, they're all dynamic-layout-centric -

      • Yes, I can write one UI that scales from 128x128 to 1920*1080 without compromises. And so should you.

        Please show me Photoshop running at 128x128 with no compromises.

    • by Night64 (1175319)
      I'm not a developer, but even so, I have a hard time with this so called screen size problem. I'm typing this on a 19 inch 1440x900 screen, but Chrome would work just fine in 800x600, or 1024x768 or my 10.1 inch, 1368x768 netbook screen. Why is so hard develop for Android with regard to screen size? Nevertheless, it seems that all Android 2.0 have the same resolution, but different sizes. Or am I wrong?
      • Because all the sizes you mentioned are somewhat standard sizes and more importantly, geometry. The aspect ratio is either 4:3 or 16:9. At that point, Chrome only has to switch between two different aspects and then scale appropriately. Because Android is flexible, one Android device might have a completely different aspect ratio than another. That makes rendering things more difficult. Not impossible but difficult.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tlhIngan (30335)

        I'm not a developer, but even so, I have a hard time with this so called screen size problem. I'm typing this on a 19 inch 1440x900 screen, but Chrome would work just fine in 800x600, or 1024x768 or my 10.1 inch, 1368x768 netbook screen. Why is so hard develop for Android with regard to screen size? Nevertheless, it seems that all Android 2.0 have the same resolution, but different sizes. Or am I wrong?

        It's not that it's hard, but it's impractical to test. Ever test high-DPI on Windows? And see how badly ap

        • But mostly, it's high-DPI. And Windows apps already prove that most devs can't handle high DPI. Or flash apps.

          Windows apps "prove" that because Win32 APIs for UI have very primitive support for scaling. But e.g. Qt applications, or WPF applications, don't have such problem on Windows.

          Oh, and look at Linux. For all the flaws of Linux UIs, one thing that they do get exactly right is dynamic layouts everywhere - and it works. I can change font size or DPI freely in e.g. GNOME, and all dialogs scale and reflow as needed.

          All you need is to force developers to use dynamic layouts. Just don't provide any means for pixel-p

          • > I can change font size or DPI freely in e.g. GNOME, and all dialogs scale and reflow as needed.

            Almost all. There are still some application developers who insist on hard-coding sizes.

            • I believe that doing so would violate GNOME HIG, and therefore any such application cannot be a part of GNOME desktop.

              In any case, I haven't seen any such application in a long time. Can you give some examples?

              • The vast majority of GTK/Gnome apps are not part of GNOME desktop. The libraries try to make it easy to follow the HiG, but some people will just insist on doing things as they're used to, no matter what.

                Sorry, can't dig up any examples now, I'll get back to you.

    • by zullnero (833754)
      Ha, you never did Symbian development, I take it.
    • WinMo never did run right on any of the dozens of devices I've tried it on. It crashed, it memory leaked, it lost connection to its devices every couple minutes. It has an oboard critical task sensor that would cause it to fail when the loss of the minimal utility the device offered would do the most damage. It lost data - lots of it. It sucked the life from endless batteries in record time and many thousands of minutes from my life that I would like back. Platform diversity was the least of its problems

    • That we will have to test against to make sure our apps work right.

      Here's a brilliant idea: use dynamic scalable/reflowing UI layouts. You know, like we've been doing on the desktop and the Web for the last 15 years or so?

      In fact, I'm so generous I won't even patent that idea. Feel free to use (but also check with Nokia, just in case).

  • Size doesn't matter!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When you're sporting only 4.3 inches, keep telling yourself that.

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @04:00PM (#30609118)
    It's only a matter of time before I can get my hands on a 65 inch mobile phone, with Blu-Ray, a media center, and digital cable.
  • That's no phone... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vandoravp (709954) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @04:09PM (#30609210) Homepage
    ...that's a tablet. Seriously, do they think cargo pockets are the predominant pocket variety?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zullnero (833754)
      That's what I thought. Plenty of a certain nearsighted crowd like their big screens, but the overwhelming majority of people wouldn't mind finding a way to make their phone smaller and consume less pocket.

      One of the reasons why I never bought an iPhone, Droid, HTC WinBrick, or BB...I resolved that I would not ever buy another smartphone bigger (height, width, or thickness) than my old Treo. By making their phones smaller, Palm actually kept my brand loyalty. They made their Pre smaller AND made their
      • That's what I thought. Plenty of a certain nearsighted crowd like their big screens

        Did you actually not notice that a lot of people browse the web on their phones these days? Sure, not everyone wants to do that, and you guys can carry on buying the standard handsets that are still made in abundance.

        Incidentally, being nearsighted would help you to see tiny text on a small screen, not hinder you.

  • WVGA+? WTF? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JesseL (107722) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @04:21PM (#30609326) Homepage Journal

    Does anybody keep a mental table of what these obscure abbreviations actually mean anymore? I can remember that VGA is 640x480 and SVGA is 800x600, after that the letters get meaningless and I've got to go . So why not just save the trouble and tell me the damned resolution from the beginning? [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Numbers are scary; but allow the informed to make accurate comparisons. Gigantic acronyms are impressive, and retard easy comparison.

      Blame marketing.
      • by maxume (22995)

        All the people that blithely put up with it deserve an equal share of the blame.

    • Does anybody keep a mental table of what these obscure abbreviations actually mean anymore? I can remember that VGA is 640x480 and SVGA is 800x600

      The ones that start with 'W' are merely the wide versions of the originals, so generally you take the width of the next higher-up resolution and use that with the height of the one you're dealing with.

      VGA = 640x480
      WVGA = 800x480 (common for cellphones, but due to panel sizes, they're also coming out in 854x480)
      SVGA = 800x600
      WSVGA = 1024x600 (usually seen in netboo

      • Where did you get the idea that WVGA is common for cellphones? Only some of the most recent top end phones have WVGA.
        • by Tumbleweed (3706)

          Where did you get the idea that WVGA is common for cellphones? Only some of the most recent top end phones have WVGA.

          Sorry, instead of 'common for cellphones', I should have said 'commonly found on cellphones'. Few other devices use that resolution, except MIDs and the like.

          And if you lived in Asia, that resolution would seem pretty normal for a smartphone. :(

  • Sure, you can carry over-sized mobile devices in a purse or other small bag, but sales of such devices probably do a lot better if people perceive they can carry them on their person and still be normal people.

    Right now, the standard layman outfit of jeans/slacks + shirt provides limited options... keys + wallet + other junk already leave little space for more than a tiny cell phone as it is.

    I'd bet some apparel company could make a killing, for example, if they made a real attempt to market cargo pa

    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      Talking of bags, I find it hilarious - for decades, men have pigeoned themselves into being unable to carry a bag that's of a too small size, because it makes them "feminine" (the horror). And now we have a whole range of gadgets that people might want to carry, but they can't fit into their pockets. Perhaps one option to this is to produce trousers with ridiculous oversized pockets, but there comes a point (especially with netbooks) when it all fits much more easily in a small bag. Perhaps once and for all

  • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @06:07PM (#30610364) Journal

    Maybe it's just about the right time for the hefty, shoulder-carried piece of tech to come back in fashion. Anybody remember the boom-box?

    Actually, the first thing that popped into my head was to imagine Sting singing "I want my big screen phone".

    Start workin' out guys. Annoying, shoulder-carried big screen portable TV with a phone in it. Videophone your GF on the subway. Oh, this is Slashdot... nevermind.

  • I've been waiting for the right Android phone to replace my G1. The Verizon Droid is pretty close to what I've been hoping for, but it is for Verizon, not Tmobile. The Cliq is still too bulky, slow processor, etc. I love the form factor of the new MyTouch, but I've got to have hard keyboard, and again the processor is blah. If someone would just make a nice slim package with hard keys, a larger screen, and a great processor I would pay for it immediately. Android is a great mobile OS, we just haven't got t
  • im more interested in the screens they are developing that transmits the screen directly to your retina get the feeling once that gets out on the market no will give a damn how big your phones screen is lol

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