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Palm Ships With 12-bit Screen, Says 16-Bit On Box

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the short-memories dept.

Handhelds 326

Launch was among the many readers to point out that "Palm recently announced that they made a mistake in their product description of the m130... it doesn't have the 16-bit screen they advertised. Rather then admit the mistake, Palm is using every ounce of their spinning power to mislead its less tech-savy customers into believing that the palm m130 can display 58,621 'color combinations' rather then the 'more than 65,000 colors' it had previously stated; only a 11% difference. This tricky language is meant to shade the fact that a 12-bit screen can only display 4,096 colors... that's a 93% difference." Have they not learned from the mistakes of history? On the other hand, the screen resolution is 160x160 pixels.

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326 comments

That's ok... (5, Funny)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117772)

There are plenty of geeks out there who would love to own a PDA with 4096 colors! That's the number of colors the Amiga could display. Think of the nostalgia value!

Bah. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117779)

640 colours ought to be enough for everyone...

Re:That's ok... (1)

DrFatal (587634) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117784)

4096 colors, that would be HAM (Hold And Modify) mode.. Sure, it worked for pictures, but I'd never read text in HAM mode. *brr*

Re:That's ok... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117982)

HAM worked in horizontal bands - turning the mointor 90 degrees (warning: monitors actually have to be specially desgined to allow this for safety and also earth-magnetic-field reasons - so don't do it for a long period with an ordinary CRT monitor. Fine with LCD ones, though) meant you could keep the number of colours, and put the HAM-color-fringes on the less-intrusive vertical axis (human perception usually has a horizontal bias, you see...)

OF course, later Amigas had HAM8, giving 262144 out of 16777216 colours - when a 256 colour VGA card for the PC was something of a luxury for most...

Re:That's ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117817)

I only want it if it can do 4096 HAM with flickery interlacing in 320x480!

Re:That's ok... (3, Funny)

pytheron (443963) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117843)

This would make doing a port of Hollywood Strip Poker Pro from the Amiga worthwhile :p

But... (-1, Offtopic)

Soluxx (545237) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117774)

My girlfriend always tells me that size doesn't matter...

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117826)

My girlfriend always tells me that size doesn't matter...

where is your girlfriend, and where may i hit on her.

REFUND!! REFUND!! (1, Insightful)

Ghengis (73865) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117777)

They should follow in HP's footsteps with a full refund. Then, maybe their customers can use the money to get a cool (and more honestly advertised) PDA like a Handspring or a Sony. Just my 2 cents.

Re:REFUND!! REFUND!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117800)

Yes, great idea. Maybe you should work for Palm. You sound like you have a good business head on your shoulders.

Buy a Zuarus! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117786)

Buy a Zaurus!

Re:Buy a Zuarus! (1)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117857)

...and be incredibly frustrated by the great hardware married with crap firmware and software.

Re:Buy a Zuarus! (2)

Artifex (18308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117946)

...and be incredibly frustrated by the great hardware married with crap firmware and software.

Or buy the Zaurus developer edition... and have only yourself to blame if the software is crappy =)

Bah! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117789)

It's disgusting to see the marketing spinners at work again... but what's even more disusting is that it will work. Watch and see - most people are too busy to care about the difference between 'colours' and 'colour combinations', and without a strong counter-spin from a competitor I am certain they will get away with this one.

Palm giving a refund? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117790)

Ok, so Palm should just refund the 4 bits to everyone who bought the m130. Hell, it's only 50 cents, what's the big deal? :)

Re:Palm giving a refund? (2)

stinkydog (191778) | more than 11 years ago | (#4118047)

Ok, so Palm should just refund the 4 bits to everyone who bought the m130. Hell, it's only 50 cents, what's the big deal? :)

Start 'New Math'

Thats 4 bits per pixel @ 12.5 cents each.
160x160 = 256000 Pixels.
$12800 per unit

Minus layer fees for the class action suite $12799.50 per unit
Equals $.50 rebate coupon for a per user

Right on AC Brother

SD

Poor Service (4, Insightful)

LaNMaN2000 (173615) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117792)

A company that actually cared about customer satisfaction would immediately offer to allow customers to return their PDAs, and a repackaging of unsold units to reflect the actual capabilities of the product. Though a recall would be expensive and likely require a product redesign, such an offer would likely be cost-effective and give consumers a reason to feel positively about the company.

Since most people probably saw the PDAs before they bought them, they must have been satisfied enough with the appearance of the display at the time of purchase. It would therefore be unlikely that a specification change would convince them to return the PDA and lose any data that they stored on it.

Why is it so difficult for companies to do the right thing, even if it will cultivate a more positive image for them in the long run, at a limited expense?

Re:Poor Service (2, Interesting)

Angry White Guy (521337) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117839)

If they wanted to save money, they could just send out a coupon to all the owners who filled out their little registration card. $50 off the latest and greatest Palm. Most people would already have a PDA and not want a new one, and the majority of the warranty cards would go unreturned anyways.
The appearance of doing the right thing, they save some money, and maybe the coupons will get circulated to someone who doesn't have a PDA, thereby getting a potential customer away from Handspring or HP...

Re:Poor Service (2, Interesting)

goonies (227194) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117916)

It's not even necessary to recall all the PDAs and repack them. Simply send out Stickers that say 12bit Display and tell the sellers to put one on every box. Plus maybe a handout that informs of the "typo" in the handbook.

12 bit? (3, Informative)

RawCode (464152) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117795)

This [wired.com] should explain that. From Wired:

The m130 actually supports 4,096 colors typical of a 12-bit screen. But by using blending techniques, the company can display 58,621 "color combinations -- approximately 11 percent fewer color combinations than we had originally believed" on the m130 handheld, said Palm spokeswoman Marlene Somsak.

Re:12 bit? (1)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117823)

It should surprise no one when a 12 bit display is advertised as a 16 bit display by a 2 bit company. Palm needs to free BeOS! It does no one any good sitting on a shelf!

Re:12 bit? (4, Insightful)

gonar (78767) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117854)

using the same techniques on a true 65k color display, you could probably get within 11% of true color.

does that make weasel words and misrepresentations OK?

this is bullshit marketing crap and they should be punished for it.

dont buy this product. e-mail them and tell them you won't buy any of their products because you can't trust them.

show them that honesty is important in business.

Re:12 bit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117872)

Well thats nice, but lets remember that this thing only has 160x160 pixels to play with. Assuming that this "color blending" scheme uses two pixels to represent one colour (Simple dithering), then this effectivly reduces the resolution to 80x160 (Or 160x80). So your choice is either 4bits less per pixel, or half the vertical resolution. Either way, that would seem to be deceptive marketing, no?

Re:12 bit? (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117968)

If I remember correctly from my psychology class, humans do not perceive color features with the same acuity as black and white. So the loss of perceived sharpness isn't going to be quite as bad as you suggest. Still doesn't excuse the fib though.

Re:12 bit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4118000)

Thats true. In fact, thats the principle that MPEG encoding works on; the human eye is more sensitive to the luminesence (sp?) information than the colour, so the colour information is encoded with more loss than the luminance component.

Having said that, with only 160 pixels in the first place, loosing half of them is a lot, and I'm pretty sure I'd notice that...

Re:12 bit? (4, Funny)

DrXym (126579) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117969)

... and when questioned about the blending technique, Palm spokeswoman Marlene Somsak replied, "each palm ships with a frosted glass display. The inability to see individual pixels or whole words for that matter dramatically increases the number of colors the user perceives".

reminds me of... (4, Funny)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117798)

an old Steven Wright joke that went something like...

I went to the 24 hour store and the clerk was closing up.

"I thought you were open 24 hours."
"Not in a row."

aw cmon (0, Troll)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117799)

Thats just 4 bits man, and so much hue and cry.. people have run away with millions of dollars, sure cant we let palm dearie to have 4 itsy bitsy teeny weeny bits?
And if you want colours GeForce is always there ;-)

Sounds to Me Like a Job for the FTC... (3, Interesting)

Vortran (253538) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117804)

Calling Mr. Muris! Mr. Muris? Are you there?

I do believe reading a quote from Tim where he said that the FTC will not tolerate companies not living up to their promises and misrepresenting their products.

I'll be very curious to learn if we get any FTC action on this.

.sig - Would not a Microsoft employee, by any other name, smell the same?
Vortran out

Re:Sounds to Me Like a Job for the FTC... (5, Interesting)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117882)

"I do believe reading a quote from Tim where he said that the FTC will not tolerate companies not living up to their promises and misrepresenting their products. I'll be very curious to learn if we get any FTC action on this."

Perhaps it is about time to file a complaint [ftc.gov] with the FTC and see what they think of Palm and this misleading advertising.

UK trade descriptions act. Were these sold in UK? (2)

SomethingOrOther (521702) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117892)


Where any of these devices sold in the uk?
In the UK the Trade Descriptions Act [dti.gov.uk] would make a deliberate false description of the device very illegal.

Even if the false description was a genuine error, customers would still be entitled to a refund.

Palm Infocenter has complete story (5, Informative)

Launch (66938) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117815)

Apparently this debate has been going on a long time... Palm info center has a good article [palminfocenter.com] about it... And the PIC forum [palminfocenter.com] where the debate first broke.

if they plan on using palms to view their finances (3, Funny)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117819)

I sure hope red is one of those 4096 colours ...

Res, Colors... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117820)

On the other hand, the screen resolution is 160x160 pixels.

Not that you could actually tell the difference in number of colors... I'd think 4,096 is probably sufficient, unless you have to view something with 200 shades of pink, which really threw my digital camera. I had some sort of chunks of pink, from photographing a hot-pink Fender HM-Strat, looked really bizarre, but some dithering would have been acceptable.

Re:Res, Colors... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117841)

160*160 is 25600 individual pixels (Assuming all of them are visible) That means that with only 12 bits per pixel, every possible colour can used 6.25 times. You could very easily see the repetative colours with that.

With 16bit, you can have 65,356 colours. On a 160*160 screen, that means you can only show a third of all possible colours on the screen at any one time.

My point is that you could certainly tell the difference between a 12bit gradient and a 16bit gradient. Wether or not you could see the difference between 12 and 16 bit on such a small screen is a different matter. I'd assume that the LCD screen would quickly wipe out some of those 65,356 colours anyway, not to mention lighting. Usage would be an important factor, too (How many people display photorealistic images on a 160x160 screen?).

Still, its a bit of a gip...

93% difference (2, Insightful)

jukal (523582) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117822)

I belive that for the user experience the difference must be just a few percents - especially on a palm device with a limited resolution and screen size. Ofcourse, the coolness factor can decrease by 99%, but that does not matter in reality.

Re:93% difference (2, Troll)

ajs (35943) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117893)

The difference will not show in most of the productivity apps that are popular on palm devices, but the new big push, and certainly my reason for wanting color on a palmtop is the Web. Browsing the Web with a 12-bit pallette is going to hurt.

Try this. XFree86 allows -depth settings of 5, 15 and 16 among others. Try firing up a server under 16 bits. Bring up a browser and view a few sites. Then re-start the server at 15 bits and see the massive difference. Now imagine that difference magnified by a factor of 8! 12 bit display would really suck.

And all that assumes average Web needs. If you work with color-sensitive applications (no, Timmy pr0n is not the only thing that needs rich color), the palmtop becomes worthless for previewing someone's work while you're on the run.

Anyone an idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117830)

Does anyone have an idea how many color combinations can be shown on a real 16-bit display? That would be an interesting comparison with the PR-talk from Palm!

Re:Anyone an idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117900)

2^16 = 65536

Re:Anyone an idea? (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 11 years ago | (#4118036)

2 ** 16 of course, not that the human eye would actually be able to perceive the differences between some of them.

Better linkage.. (3, Informative)

SteveX (5640) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117833)

It's a shame that Slashdot linked to an article about the Jornada's problem that didn't mention HP's awesome response: Offering a full refund to anyone who bought one. Palm is coming nowhere close to this.

- Steve

Re:Better linkage.. (3, Informative)

Queuetue (156269) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117842)

Read the article - It does mention it.

According to AlexanderOgilvy, H-P's public relations firm for the Jornada handheld devices, an upgrade is simply not possible. (Jornada 420 owners will recall that last year H-P released a software upgrade to the device's display driver to increase resolution.) AlexanderOgilvy also confirmed that H-P would refund the full purchase price of any dissatisfied Jornada 540 series Pocket PC buyer.

Re:Better linkage.. (2)

SteveX (5640) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117864)

Ah yes you're right, I missed that.

Still, the article is a pretty negative one considering that I don't think there's a better response HP could have made.. Most companies deny the existence of problems.

I have an iPaq and I'm still miffed about the fact that you can't push more than one button at a time (makes playing games on it very difficult). Compaq doesn't think it's a problem.

= Steve

Re:Better linkage.. (0, Redundant)

stevens (84346) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117855)

It's a shame that Slashdot linked to an article about the Jornada's problem that didn't mention HP's awesome response: Offering a full refund to anyone who bought one. ...

From the linked HP article: "AlexanderOgilvy also confirmed that H-P would refund the full purchase price of any dissatisfied Jornada 540 series Pocket PC buyer."

BETTER READING!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117929)

It's a shame that Slashdot linked to an article about the Jornada's problem that didn't mention HP's awesome response: Offering a full refund to anyone who bought one. Palm is coming nowhere close to this.

You mean you wish the article mentioned something like AlexanderOgilvy also confirmed that H-P would refund the full purchase price of any dissatisfied Jornada 540 series Pocket PC buyer. [66.240.133.115] ?

I would probably *read* the article before criticising others for not having read it, but hey thats just me! (and to see the parent got modded up in the 3 mins it took me to judiciously apply my mod points in other threads so I could submit this, realise I still couldn't post even after modding not in this thread, copy the text onto another computer, load the browser, copy and paste, ,still not post (with the message "you can not post to this page"), so send it to a computer on another side of the world to post from there!! wtf?!!)

On a related note, does "dithering" really count at all? I mean come on - theoretically a 256 colour device can "represent" a bazillion colours with enough dithering. Its how many *real* colours that should count IMHO.

Death to PDAs! (2)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117838)

No seriously, why would anyone buy PDAs with the likes of the Nokia and Ericsson PDA/Mobiles hitting the market ? Less functionality, less stable OS, all around its not as good a product.

So sure they've lied about the colours, but then they have to or it doesn't stand out _at all_ amoung similar products with better functionality and PDA/Phones that wipe the floor with it.

Re:Death to PDAs! (3, Informative)

aluminumcube (542280) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117933)

There are plenty of reasons to want a Palm over a 'Smart' cell phone-

Screen Size
I have an Erricson 68i, and it's cool, but the tiny screen isn't something I really want to read email on. Of course, people say 'Well, it's just for quick mobile messages' but the people sending me email don't know that.

Lots of Applications
Ever browse through the list of applications out there for Palms? People have developed applications for almost any need, from graphing calculators on par with TI-85s to databases that help Landing Signal Officers on aircraft carriers grade landings.

Better Text Input
I am not a Japanese schoolgirl, so I can't type 80wpm with my thumbs on a cell phone...

Better Sync with my Computer (OS X)
Most of the 'Smart' cell phones only offer Windows sync software that works with Outlook.

I think the only product that really gets the CellPhone/PDA hybrid right is the Treo, but I refuse to pay/live with Handspring's very plasticky build quality that feels like a toy.

that is just plain wrong (5, Funny)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117846)

before I was darn positive I could be playing the new Doom 3 on it and bask in the sheer beauty. Now I have so few colors that I'm not even sure it is still truly color.
I wonder if my e-mails and phone numbers will even work with the fewer colors?
probably not.

No Concerns (0)

Gaggme (594298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117851)

In all truth, can anyone beyond hardcore geeks tell the difference in you desktop when you swap from 16 bit color to 32-bit color? the difference there is a few million colors, so what with the big deal with a loss of 61,000?

even with 4K colors, you can accuratly display any photo on your PDA with minimal loss of quality.

Excellent example, the color books at Sherwin Williams, you really think that have over 4000 different colors in that book, and most of those almost look that same as another color.

Re:No Concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117940)

"In all truth, can anyone beyond hardcore geeks tell the difference in you desktop when you swap from 16 bit color to 32-bit color? the difference there is a few million colors, so what with the big deal with a loss of 61,000?"

The switch from 256 colours to 16 colours "only" loses 240 colours, yet the difference is obvious.

The problem with 4,096 colours is that you only have 4 bits per colour gun, which makes the difference between adjacent colours easily visible to the naked eye. If you have sufficient resolution then this may not be a problem. Printers, after all, use only 4 colours.

Re:No Concerns (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117962)

Excellent example, the color books at Sherwin Williams, you really think that have over 4000 different colors in that book, and most of those almost look that same as another color.

Are you colorblind or something? I work in the printing industry, and flipping through a Pantone book, each color looks distinct to me. I couldn't say, hey, that's the same color as that other color. In other words, given an unlabelled sample, I could find the pantone color it was (Assuming it was run to a fairly normal density). Some of them are pretty close to each other, but not the same color.

Re:No Concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4118037)

Gee, you work in the printing industry and you can make out very subtle differences in colors? Dang, who'da thunk it...

Re:No Concerns (1)

RobertNotBob (597987) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117998)

Actually, hardcore geeks are never the ones I have to worry about when I am dealing with video or printing abilities. It's those darned marketing types.

I have met people who can instantly tell the difference between 24 and 32 bit color. And then the will complain endlessly if their monitor does not present 32 bit color EXACTLY like the monitor in a different room (lit by different types of lights).

Don't worry about the geeks; there are much better things to worry about.

Re:No Concerns (4, Insightful)

realgone (147744) | more than 11 years ago | (#4118033)

In all truth, can anyone beyond hardcore geeks tell the difference in you desktop when you swap from 16 bit color to 32-bit color?
Speaking as a professional designer -- yes, absolutely. Back in the day when 16-bit displays were all too common, I'd have to use them to show 32-bit work to clients. Almost invariably, those clients would notice the resulting dithering/banding in the art. I'd have to reassure them that these were screen artifacts that wouldn't show up in the printed output. And these were hardly tech-savvy people.

But beyond that, I'm not even sure your 16-bit v. 32-bit example is a fair comparison in this case. The differences between individual "adjacent" colors get smaller and smaller the larger you make the palette. To argue your case might be like arguing that the difference between .0001 and .001 is the same as that between 1.0 and 0.1; sure, it's only a decimal place, but the resulting error would be far greater in the second case.

Excellent example, the color books at Sherwin Williams, you really think that have over 4000 different colors in that book, and most of those almost look that same as another color.
Terrible example. Were you planning to use all 4,000 of those colors on your wall at the same time? (If the answer's "yes", I'd like to humbly apologize, Sir Elton John. My mother loves your music.)

Original pics (4, Interesting)

Draoi (99421) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117860)

Here [geocities.com] are the original pics that broke the story on the Palm message boards ..

And, yeah, I do have a Palm M130. My partner recently bought a re-con Handspring at Fry's and I was amazed at the qualitative difference of the tro screens .... *grr*

Blending techniques (4, Interesting)

hugesmile (587771) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117861)

But by using blending techniques, the company can display 58,621 "color combinations -- approximately 11 percent fewer color combinations than we had originally believed" on the m130 handheld, said Palm spokeswoman Marlene Somsak.

I wonder if those blending techniques amount to bleed from one pixel to another, and it's actually poor quality and the user's eyes that are doing the blending.

I imagine those SAME blending techniques would yield 65536 x 65536 colors in 16-bits, and so they are actually significantly more than 99% off the specification.

ok, graphics geeks... factor 58,621. You get 31 x 31 x 61. Looks like 5-bits, 5-bits, and 6-bits, blended. I'm wondering how they came up with that number of colors! Any ideas?

Excuse me? (1)

hacker (14635) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117865)

Why is everyone jumping on Palm about this? The Compaq iPAQ has a 12-bit screen and produces *ONLY* 4,096 colors. The m130, by contrast, produces *MORE* colors, using blending techniques.

Re:Excuse me? (5, Insightful)

Draoi (99421) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117888)

Except that people *know* it. Oh look, the crappy Compaq only has a 12-bit screen depth. I think I'll buy the cool Palm M130, 'coz it's got 65,000 colours ....

Palm published incorrect information which probably led many away from competitors' products. This is serious stuff. Now those people (including me) feel a bit deceived.

Re:Excuse me? (2)

Peyna (14792) | more than 11 years ago | (#4118039)

I don't know about you, but I can read numbers about what a display can do all day or I can pick up the two and put them side by side and decide for myself which looks better to me. More colors doesn't mean easier to look at and read, it just means more colors.

Re:Excuse me? (3, Insightful)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117920)

Compaq actually markets the iPaq as having a 12 bit screen. Therefore, people who wanted higher res may have bought the Palm instead, thinking they were getting something much better. Oh, by the way, I have a computer to sell you. It runs at 17 Ghz. Ok, I lied, it's only 1.5 Ghz, but your old computer was only 800 Mhz, so really, why are you complaining?

Re:Excuse me? (5, Insightful)

jerrytcow (66962) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117934)

Why is everyone jumping on Palm about this? The Compaq iPAQ has a 12-bit screen and produces *ONLY* 4,096 colors. The m130, by contrast, produces *MORE* colors, using blending techniques.

Because the blending technique is nothing more than dithering.

From the Palm support site [205.141.210.149] :
The color technologies Palm employed in the m130 handheld to deliver text and images include frame-rate control and dithering techniques. (Frame-rate control turns pixels off or on to deliver a specific shade of color. Dithering uses a group of adjacent pixels to convey a composite color.)

If Palm gets away with this, we will never know the bit depth of video cards, handhelds, cell phones, etc. since companies will be able to claim any number they want because their product's display can dither. I say nip this in the bud and get Palm to admit it only produces 4,096 colors.
And yes, I am aware that they claim it uses "frame rate control" too, but it seems this is nothing more than a pixel flashing so it appears to be a less intense color - surely all displays could do this too.

Why this doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117879)

1) 4096 colours is enough for something of that resolution. The Amiga500 displayed that many colours at higher resolutions and looked just fine (all considering).
2) Palms are not 19" raster blasters, nobody is going to notice

Re:Why this doesn't matter (2)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117891)

You've entirely missed the point.

The device has been marketed, branded and sold as a having 16bit capabilites, when in reality it only has 12bit capabilites.

It's got nothing to do with asthetics.

Why this does matter (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117901)

Simple answer: They lied about their product.

Imagine you buy a PC which is advertised as having 512Mb of RAM. When you get it home, you find that the BIOS only reports 256Mb of RAM. Miffed, you call the company, who then explains that this is true, it does only have 256Mb of RAM, but using swap space, it'll really be just like having 512Mb of RAM. Except it will be more like 448Mb of RAM, because you can't have a 256Mb swap.

Are you saying you wouldn't be pissed?

To be fair... (3, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117883)

Not that I want to defend potentially misleading advertising, which there does appear to have been here, but the story is a bit unfair. It starts:
Palm recently announced that they made a mistake
Then in the next sentence:
Rather then admit the mistake, Palm is using every ounce of their spinning power
So they admit it but they don't admit it? Hmm. Get them for the dodgy advertising, sure, but I'm not sure how you can accuse a company of not admitting a mistake when your proof of that mistake is the company's admission of it.

What does 58621 represent? (3, Interesting)

joshtimmons (241649) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117884)

The only thing I can come up with is that it's 31*31*61. (Obviously not a coincidence)

16 bit color would be 32*32*64.

12 bit color would be 16*16*16.

When they refer to color combinations, they can't be possible color values for adjacent pixels - that would be a huge number.

Any ideas?

Re:What does 58621 represent? (1)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117958)

Does the word "dithering" mean anything to you?


Each pixel can display 16^3 different colors. By placing differently colored pixels next to each other they get "color combinations".


Also known as "false advertising".


Re:What does 58621 represent? (2)

Ami Ganguli (921) | more than 11 years ago | (#4118001)

If you combine two adjacent pixels on a 12 bit display, you have levels from 0-30 for each colour channel. That's 31 levels per colour. 31^3 = 29791 unique colours for two pixel dithering.

That's still not the right number, but they must be thinking along those lines somehow.

Add the frame rate control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4118041)

Flicker some pixel pairs for half the brightness and you've got all 58621. Cynical.

nEVER aGAIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117899)

bought a palm pilot years ago, but never again. their os is outdated and haven't seen anything that's caught my eye since i don't know when. and now this! after reading the supposed appology, it seems obvious that they are just trying to hide what they did. i mean, the average joe will not understand it, which seems to be what they wanted. technically, they appologized, but about what!? not only for this, but i don't see myself buying a palm product again. too over-priced for what you are getting: aka ripoff.

160x160 (3, Insightful)

KittyTheCat (542416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117904)

My first thought is that on a 160x160 pixel screen, you can only ever possibly see 25,600 colors at a time because there are only 25,600 pixels total.

Re:160x160 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117914)

Subtract one...silly, then subtract the other one...what is the answer now?

Re:160x160 (2, Informative)

crosbie (446285) | more than 11 years ago | (#4118020)


"display 58,621 'color combinations'"

Colour combinations?

This is the same as the number of different arrangements of 4,096 symbols in a sequence of 25,600 (160x160).

If the number of different combinations of 2 symbols (binary) in a sequence of n (bits) is 2^n, then the Palm can display 4096^25600 different colour combinations (ignoring symmetry).

That's.... erm...

2 ^( 25600 x log2(4096) )

which is: 2^307200

Cor! Wot a lot of colour combos! (and quite a few of them are probably copyrighted, obscene, etc.)

160x160 - exactly my thoughts (1)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 11 years ago | (#4118022)

Exactly my thoughts - I'd mod you up if I had the points. Why do people get so worked up about this? Perhaps if you were trying to look at a larger picture which scrolled around on the screen, this would be a problem, but I believe that for most uses it's fine as it is and you *can't* notice a difference.

COMMON SENSE WARNINGS WHEN DEALING WITH A UFO (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117909)

This is guide is written by slashdot readers for slashdot readers. Got a suggestion? suggest it by replying this discussion thread

1. Do not touch or attempt to touch a UFO that has landed. Passing through the Earth's atmosphere the skin of the craft will be hot. There is also a possibility of radiation. There is also a chance of steam being produced from the heated hull at the landing site.

2. Do not stand under a hovering UFO at low altitude. There is a possibility of radiation danger.

3. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONTACT ALIENS if they appear, any movement on your part may constitute an act of aggression. If possible, back away VERY slowly. Make no gestures what so ever.

4. Note the shape and size of the craft, use nearby objects for a size comparison.

5. If you can take some photographs but ... BE VERY CAREFUL. Flash photography may be seen as an act of agression, and could even have harmful effects on the aliens. The use of a tripod might also be confused with a dangerous weapon.

6. Do not touch any artifact from an alien spacecraft, the artifact may be dangerous, leave this to the authorites.

7. Get away from the area QUICKLY. Inform the local authorites or the military.

Re:COMMON SENSE WARNINGS WHEN DEALING WITH A UFO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117952)



#3 makes me confused.

What if "back away VERY slowly" is an act of aggression in their culture?

Re:COMMON SENSE WARNINGS WHEN DEALING WITH A UFO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117985)

well you have to draw the line somewhere. got any better suggestions?

Screen resolution limits colors? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4117912)

The resolution of the screen is 160x160 -- that's 25,600 pixels. How can 50,000+ colors be displayed in 25,600 pixels??

Re:Screen resolution limits colors? (1)

thannine (576719) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117979)

Resolution has nothing to do with it. if you have a 16 bit display, every pixel can show 65000+ different colors, but of course not at the same time.

MS Wins (5, Insightful)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117935)

<preface>
I own a Palm device, actually an Handera 330. I've had one in some form for 5 years. I like my Palm. I want to keep buying palms, but I won't be able to.
</preface>
<rant>
As much as I hate to say it, it appears to be only a matter of time before Microsoft takes over the handheld arena. Palm, like Netscape before it, is not the suffering saint being crushed by the giant, but rather a bunch of incompetent fools. They have has 95% of the market in handhelds just a few years ago, and what have they done with it? Nothing! They issue late releases that tought minimal imrpovements and then pull stunts like this. If it were not for Sony and Handspring, I believe that Palm would already be gone. Please! Get your act in gear or leave the party.
</rant>

YEa, right. WAS Re:MS Wins (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4118023)

only a matter of time before Microsoft takes over the handheld arena.

I heard that in the late 1990's. Microsoft was comming out with a PDA. It was going to bury Apple's Newton.

The 1st attempt was 'windows for pen'. Apple's Netwon outlasted that. Palm came into existance and outlasted 'windows for pen'

Then I heard that Microsoft's PDA would have more features than the Newton. The Newton line was sporting quicktime, text to speech and speech to text in 1996-1997 timeframe. Only in the next CENTURY did Microsoft's platform catch up.

Windows for Pen - dead
Windows CE - dead
now its some other product. When will that be dead too?

Apple's Newton was killed off by Jobs, so that helped Microsoft.

Like 'death of UseNet', Microsoft taking over I'll belive it when I see it. Until they DO Take over, I can use Palm OS in a handspring and send data over the cell phone. And if palm/handspring goes tits up, I can pick the Sybian phone(s). If they die, someone will have a BSD or gnu/linux one. Only when I have no other realistic choice than an MS software based phone will I hold my nose and buy one.

I own a 130 (1)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117943)

While I agree this is false advertising, I didn't notice the claims when I bought it - I actually turned one on and played with it so I knew what I was getting. Because of that, I guess I'm neither suprised nor really upset. From my point of view I can't see how 16 bit color would be noticably different on the very-low-res screen anyway. It is still a lot better than my IIIC was.

Re:I own a 130 (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 11 years ago | (#4118035)

Liking a screen or not is a subjective thing. Some people object to being able to see the pixels on the palm units but I personally find it easier to look at than the higher resolution screens on the iPaq, at least for text.

160x160? (1)

forsaken33 (468293) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117944)

Look at some of the Sony Clie handhelds out there, sleek cases, 320 x 320 screens, and (at least mine has) 16 bit color. Absolutely beautiful. Add in a mp3 player and they look quite attractive :)

Not that unique (1)

borud (127730) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117947)

lying on the specs seems rather commonplace when it comes to gadgets. I recently discovered that a camera I own does not have 3 different resolutions. in fact it has only two, but the software that came with the camera for downloading pictures from it uses interpolation to generate images of the highest "resolution".

hey presto! three resolutions.

160x160 is standard (2)

Imperator (17614) | more than 11 years ago | (#4117990)

On the other hand, the screen resolution is 160x160 pixels.
As of the last time I coded for PalmOS anyway, the documentation made it clear that 160x160 was the size of the a PalmOS system's screen, and I could assume that and even hard-code it. (Of course, a few months later I saw PalmOS systems from Sony at 320x320, but...)

take action (5, Insightful)

mhatt (6281) | more than 11 years ago | (#4118017)

If you're mad, vote with your wallet. And print out the following letter and mail it to:

Palm, Inc. Corporate Headquarters
400 N. McCarthy Blvd.
Milpitas, CA 95035

--
This is in reference to the "updated characterization of the Palm m130's color capabilities." I just wanted to let you know that your deliberate attempt to conceal the truth has convinced me that I will NEVER support Palm by buying one of its products. The knowledge base article claims that the difference between the advertised 16-bit display and the delivered 12-bit is 11%, and compares actual colors with "color combinations", using some crazy formula, to arrive at this figure. This is a blatant lie. A 12-bit screen can display only 4096 colors, a 93% difference. You are comparing apples to oranges for the sole purpose of deceiving customers who bought this product and abating anticipated complaints.

This bit of dishonesty is unacceptable and likely indicative of deeper lying dishonesty. Perhaps your marketing division would benefit from the honesty lessons that your financial division should have learned in the wake of the public attention brought to corporate dishonesty in fiscal reportings. I have no wish to deal with a company like yours. It is very clear that your customers are not your first priority, though whether you have made such claims I don't know.

I am a computer science major and tech enthusiast, who both buys many tech products myself and makes recommendations to friends and family who actively seek out my advice; many of them won't make such purchases without first getting my input. Be it known that not only will I not recommend your products, but will go out of my way to recommend against them.

Thanks for your time.
--

Of course, change it a bit so it makes sense for you.

Hey Launch!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4118018)

How about learning the difference between then and than?

How strange.... (0, Redundant)

psychofox (92356) | more than 11 years ago | (#4118040)

Compaq did the exact same thing with the iPAQ when it first came out. They swore blue in the tooth (no pun intended) that it was a 16bit screen.
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