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Palm Offers Refund to m130 Owners

CowboyNeal posted more than 11 years ago | from the trading-colors-for-games dept.

Handhelds 222

EyesWideOpen writes "On Wednesday Palm began notifying registered m130 owners "that they were entitled to a full refund, including taxes paid on the PDA" for misleading them about the actual number of colors the product supports. The m130 was originally advertised as supporting 65,536 colors when in actuality it can only display 58,621. Owners who choose to forfeit the refund and keep the PDA could instead download a free version of the video game SimCity." Looks like a great deal for those who don't care about the bit depth of their PDA, and a way out for those who do.

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222 comments

sounds like fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203346)

I would be willing to get on of those just for the game...

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203347)

sim city.....neato

First post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203351)

First Post!

no subject (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203352)

my palm only knows one color - the color of seman!

Re:no subject (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203370)

whats seman? is that like see bob? see woman? or sea sick. and what does that have to do with anything.

SP reference (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203385)

SEApeople + SEAmen = SEAcioty

Uhuh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203355)

Yup.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203356)

FP

this sounds like fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203366)

I could sue someone for a few pixals!

sorry, your handheld had 1 broken pixal in the screen.

*slam*

64K on colours on a 160x160 screen. (5, Funny)

MavEtJu (241979) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203368)

I would be shocked too if I would find out that I can't display all 65536 colours on a screen with 25600 pixels!

Re:64K on colours on a 160x160 screen. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203382)

you, sir, are a moron.

Re:64K on colours on a 160x160 screen. (-1, Troll)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203423)

64K colors is 16 bit color. The most common format is 565, but 555 (15bit) exists too. That gives you 5 bits for red, 6 or 5 for green and 5 for blue. This means that if you want to draw a gradient of pure green on the screen there are only 64 (or 32) shades of it. In the worst case to draw a full screen gradient you'd have 5 pixels with the same color. This also means that if you have a grayscale image there are only 32 shades of pure gray.

So no, 64K is still not enough.

Re:64K on colours on a 160x160 screen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203544)

Don't bother. The guy is either a troll or just doesn't get it.

Re:64K on colours on a 160x160 screen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203838)

Or it was a joke

lighten up

Re:64K on colours on a 160x160 screen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203790)

Dang it; I fell for your signature :-(

Woo Classic Maxis! (3, Interesting)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203375)

Why cant i find cool old games like this for my palm? Can anybody direct me to a site that offers cool games for palms pilots (preferably classic games, like that flash version of pitfall somebody posted the other day)?

Re:Woo Classic Maxis! (4, Informative)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203420)

The only site I ever needed to Palm software.
http://www.pilotgear.com/
Just do a search for Simcity in the software section

Re:Woo Classic Maxis! (2, Insightful)

questionlp (58365) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203430)

There is always Bejeweled/Diamond Mines :)

That game is definitely a productivity virus... even more so than Solitaire (Minesweeper, Hearts, etc.).

Does it make a big difference to people? (2, Interesting)

10 Speed (519184) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203376)

Other than bragging rights what difference does the reduced amount of colours make?

I presume people are not purchasing these to watch movies

I think it will be interesting to see how many people ask for the refund...

Re:Does it make a big difference to people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203410)

Yeah, too bad the palm hardware doesn't provide enough processing power to actually drive those pixels, unlike 206 mhz StrongARM Pocket PCs.

Re:Does it make a big difference to people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203451)

perhaps this will provide a good oportunity for those unhappy with their palms for whatever reasons (short battery life, scratch on the screen, whatever) to get refunds.

And then they could even go and buy a new Sharp with the cash...

Re:Does it make a big difference to people? (5, Informative)

RatBastard (949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203585)

Actually, yes. Paml M130's generate 58,000 colors through some sort of dithering or pixel strobing technique. The display can only generate 4096 actuall colors. The problem is that this makes for really crappy images and, more to the point, is a flat-out lie.

The REAL point of contention is not the number of colors, but the fact that Palm Inc. lied to its customers.

Re:Does it make a big difference to people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203779)

Acutally, yes it does make a big difference, as yes I do watch movies on my handheld (not a Palm: Friends don't let friends buy Palms). Each storage card can hold a full length movie if it is compressed right, and some small software can run them.

Re:Does it make a big difference to people? (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203812)

dont hold out on us, what handheld are you using? the new clies take memory sticks (magic gate*snicker*) but i doubt those could hold a full length movie

is this really a big deal? (1)

GoatPigSheep (525460) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203378)

Would you return your pda because it only displays 58000 colours instead of 65000? I mean, unless you are doing photo editing on it, it doesn't really matter. Besides, not having to display the extra 7000 colours saves energy.

Re:is this really a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203414)

Besides, not having to display the extra 7000 colours saves energy.

and how exactly does that work? it's not like the pixels that are trying to display one of the 7000 colors not available just shut off.

Re:is this really a big deal? (5, Insightful)

Target Drone (546651) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203436)

Would you return your pda because it only displays 58000 colours instead of 65000?

Would you return your Pentium because it does almost all divisions correctly?

Like the Pentium bug this isn't a cases of whether users will notice a difference. It's about a company owning up to its mistakes.

Re:is this really a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203447)

From what I understand, yes, it is a big deal. The M130 is a 12-bit color display, that can only produce 4096 colors. That 58,000 colors they like to state includes dithered colors.

Check out the images at this site [geocities.com] for an idea what the difference was like.

Even if that wasn't a big deal, the fact remains that people may have decided to buy the M130 over other PDAs based on the bit depth; now they find out their decision was based on deceptive marketing.

Re:is this really a big deal? (3, Informative)

martyn s (444964) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203639)

That link doesn't work, so try this [digital-foundry.com]

I didn't know what dithering was before I looked at the picture but this is what I gather from it. If you have a 1 bit display (just black and white), if you make every other pixel black, and every other pixel white, it will give the appearance of being gray (especially at higher resolutions). That is what dithering is. This is opposed to showing a pixel that is actually gray (half black half white, that is, each sub pixel [red, blue, green] on equal intensity, at half intensity). So the difference between 12 bit dithering, as the m130 does, and true 58,000 colors is considerable. The fact that Palm's spin on it is that it shows 58,000 colors instead of 64,000 leads me to believe that they knew all along about the limitations in the device.

Even if you can get 12-bit (dithered) color to look almost as good as non-dithered 16 bit color (which you can't, but lets just assume), it's still fraud. 16 bit color can be made to look even better if it is dithered. The only way they could've avoided fraud (and even then it would've been sketchy) is if they said "16-bit quality color" or "as good as 16-bit color"

And whoever thinks that the difference between 12 bit color and 16 bit color is just for bragging rights, I suggest they play video games. Even with 32 bit color, if alpha is using some of those bits, you will *still* see color banding, especially in motion. The next generation of videocards is working on 64-bit color (although, they're not actually displaying at 64 bits, just 64 bits are used for calculations, to minimize cumulative color distortion through multiple passes).

Re:is this really a big deal? (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203775)

And whoever thinks that the difference between 12 bit color and 16 bit color is just for bragging rights, I suggest they play video games. Even with 32 bit color, if alpha is using some of those bits, you will *still* see color banding, especially in motion. The next generation of videocards is working on 64-bit color (although, they're not actually displaying at 64 bits, just 64 bits are used for calculations, to minimize cumulative color distortion through multiple passes).

Just a small nitpick, but 32bpp has a built-in 8 bits for alpha, so you're not sacrificing any color quality by using it. 32bpp means 8 bits red, 8 bits green, 8 bits blue, and 8 bits alpha, or 24bpp + alpha. Yes, you may still see color banding (not as much as you would with 16bpp, of course), but I really doubt you'll notice it so much. As far as the upcoming 64bpp cards go, you're absolutely right -- they'll still only display 24 bit color, but the added bits will allow for greater precision during multiple rendering passes (mmm ... 16 bit red, 16 bit green, 16 bit blue, and 16 bit alpha). If display technology were to catch up to video cards (is that possible? can CRTs do better than 24 bit color? I'd bet LCDs could, but that'll initially be very expensive), then we could actually display 64bpp. Of course, that still wouldn't shut up the people that complain that even though 24bpp allows for 16million colors, there are still colors it can't display (uniform steps between each 256 shades of r, g, and b means that there are some subtle shades that nobody will miss but photo professionals, if even them).

Re:is this really a big deal? (5, Interesting)

Osty (16825) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203456)

Would you return your pda because it only displays 58000 colours instead of 65000? I mean, unless you are doing photo editing on it, it doesn't really matter. Besides, not having to display the extra 7000 colours saves energy.

The problem is not that it can display only "58000" colors, but that it can really only display 4000 colors. That 58,000 number is arrived at by "using a variety of techniques--including turning pixels on and off and combining nearby pixels." (News.com article [com.com]) So yeah, if Palm advertised that the m130 could display 65536 (16bpp) and it can only do 4096 (12bpp), then I would be complaining. HP had the same problem [com.com] with earlier Jornadas they released, because they advertised 16bpp and only supported 12bpp (the crazy thing here is that they call the problem a "glitch", when it's a simple fact that the screens they used only supported 12bpp -- sounds like a glitch in the manufacturing process by choosing to use a cheaper screen). Compaq didn't have this problem, because they always advertised at 12bpp, not 16bpp.


In other words, the issue here isn't that the PDA can only do 12bpp, but that Palm advertised it at 16bpp and was caught out in their lie.

Re:is this really a big deal? (2, Redundant)

DeadMeat (TM) (233768) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203480)

You don't really get 58K colors; that's from Palm counting colors you get when you dither, which doesn't really count. Only 4096 colors are actually available in hardware.

And yes, if I had bought an m130 for viewing photos, I'd be infuriated, because that's blatant false advertisement. At least they're doing the honorable thing, if a bit late.

Re:is this really a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203554)

It's not 58,000 colors. It's more like 4096 actually. They came up with 58K color "combinations", whatever that means.

And yes, if they say it's 64K colors, then I made my decision based on that and I'm entitled to compensation if I don't get that.

But I've already got a PortaPam! (5, Funny)

EvilAlien (133134) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203379)

What would I want SimCity for?

"We lied to you, so here is a refund... oh, you like the product anyways? Well is is a crappy game for free. Oh, you already subscribe to alt.warez? Well... here... um. *click*"

Re:But I've already got a PortaPam! (0, Flamebait)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203541)

Actually, along with a cracked version of Bejeweled, Sim City(the color one, not that lame ass black and white one) is generally considered the hardest palm game warez to find. I've tried extensively across multiple news servers, never had any luck. I'm still trying to find a crack for Bejeweled because the wait time between games is over 100 seconds now.

I should've never showed my wife bejeweled. What the hell was I thinking?

Re:But I've already got a PortaPam! (3, Insightful)

0ptimus (27513) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203562)

I've got an idea! Why don't you just chalk up the whopping large registration fee and buy the program!? Wow, that's a novel thought.

Re:But I've already got a PortaPam! (5, Funny)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203666)

No, warezing is fine. It's when you think that warezing is a political statement that it gets lame and unacceptable. Here's an example:

"I pirated this because I'd rather spend my 20 bucks on hookers and blow." --ACCEPTABLE

"I pirated this because everytime I download warez the DMCA becomes my bitch!" --UNACCEPTABLE(But this mode of thinking automatically grants superuser access on /.)

Re:But I've already got a PortaPam! (4, Funny)

Bilestoad (60385) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203774)

But when you spend more than two hours searching for a $20 program you tell the world:

"Hey, my time is worth less than $10 an hour! Does anyone know of an opening at Jiffy Lube?" --PITIABLE

Re:But I've already got a PortaPam! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203577)

pfft, i dont know where you are looking, but when i got my palm, thoes where the first 2 games i downloaded. (im not going to post a link here though)

Re:But I've already got a PortaPam! (1)

BigBadBri (595126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203594)

What's wrong with spending 20 bucks to register the damn game?

Tightwad!

Re:But I've already got a PortaPam! (1)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203620)

Dude: Go buy Bejeweled. Quit being a cheap ass and pay the twenty bucks or whatever.

Your wife will probably think it's sweet if you go out and buy Bejeweled for her, too.

Re:But I've already got a PortaPam! (3, Funny)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203647)

Your wife will probably think it's sweet if you go out and buy Bejeweled for her, too.

if she's been playing a pirate copy you can tell everyone you 'made an honest woman out of her' :)

Really only 4096 colors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203388)

The m130's display hardware is only capable of 4096 colors. By switching colors very quickly they can simulate more, although it is not "true" 16 bit color. Sort of like claiming a 56k modem can obtain 256k throughput - using compression.

Re:Really only 4096 colors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203533)

So anonymous posts don't get scored or what?

Re:Really only 4096 colors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203591)

It if does get scored, it will be Score: -1 because the post is incorrect, Redundant, and most likely a Troll.

Re:Really only 4096 colors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203716)

Could you, in your infinite wisdom, explain how this post is repetitive when it was the first in this article stating that the m130 hardware is only capable of 4096 colors? 4 other posts were made after this one stating the exact same thing. Yet they are "informative" and non-repetitive? Now I can understand why your post wasn't rated, as it was obviously a waste of your and my time.

So can I sell SimCity if I don't want it? (nt) (1, Troll)

RallyNick (577728) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203395)

nt

Re:So can I sell SimCity if I don't want it? (nt) (0, Redundant)

RallyNick (577728) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203474)

No, it's not a troll, what I want to know is if what they give me has any value or is just thin air.

Re:So can I sell SimCity if I don't want it? (nt) (0)

Theom (567303) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203530)

They don't have to give you anything else than your money back. It's just a nice geasture.

Re:So can I sell SimCity if I don't want it? (nt) (1)

RallyNick (577728) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203770)

As far as I know if a company makes false claims about their product to gain customers from competitors, they not only have to give my money back but pay non-zero punitive damages as well so they have an incentive not to do it again.

In case of slashdotting, take two whores and call (0)

PrinceGrammarTroll (606511) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203398)

N a sudden change of plans, Palm has decided 2 offer owners of the m130 personal digital assistant a refund 4 misleading them about the actual # of colors the product supports.

Palm (PALM) began notifying registered m130 owners beginning l8 Wednesday afternoon that they were entitled 2 a full refund, including taxes paid on the PDA. Those owners who choose 2 forfeit the refund and keep the PDA could instead download a free version of the video game SimCity, which normally sells for $29.95, Palm said.

Palm's action represents a change of strategy 4 the company, which previously said it would not make any refunds 4 its error.

2 weeks ago, Palm admitted that its m130 handheld couldn't display the 65,536 colors the company had been advertising since the product came out N March. By using blending techniques, the company can display 58,621 "color combinations -- approxim8ly 11 % fewer color combinations than we had originally believed" on the m130, said Palm spokeswoman Marlene Somsak.

Somsak called the error an "honest mistake" and said the company was not aware of it until Wired News made an inquiry.

Palm issued an apology on its website. While it mulled over ways to compensate m130 owners, the company ruled out a refund at the time it discovered its error.

Its most recent decision also follows a class-action lawsuit filed last week in California's Superior Court in Santa Clara County.

Jonathan Shub, an attorney 4 the Sheller, Ludwig & Badey law firm, which filed the suit, said the firm would continue 2 pursue its case against Palm, although he considered Palm's decision 2 offer refunds "a positive development."

"We are closely monitoring the process by which these actions R being taken," Shub said.

While Palm has not formally replied 2 the lawsuit, it promised 2 fight it.

Interesting Coincidence (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203399)

"... originally advertised as supporting 65,536 colors when in actuality it can only display 58,621."

Linux users have so far crammed 65,536 Palms up each other's butts, but have only claimed responsibility for cramming about 58,621.

Huh, makes you think.

What? The m130 only supports 2k colors onscreen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203405)

I remember reading ON PALM'S SITE that the m130 actually only can display about 2000 colors, barely worthy of the descriptor "thousands of colors" they now show on the m130 page.

Not to mention there are only 25,600 pixels on screen.. and I'm sure 56,821 is some wacky dithering number they came up with.

I can't stand it when marketers willingly deceive people by fux0ring with numbers so badly they seem to come out of one's ass.

Comparison (3, Informative)

SiMac (409541) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203416)

For the lazy, the comparison between the Prism (real 16-bit) and m130 can be found here [geocities.com].

However, by inspecting this picture, i think that Palm may actually be trying to cover up the fact that there are only 58000-some colors using the dithering technique and that in real life there are actually only 4096 colors.

Re:Comparison (1)

xactoguy (555443) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203763)

Man... You actually expected a Geocities site to stand up to a mad rush of slashdotting??? Whoo boy, I wonder how long it took before that site exceeded the data-transfer amount?

what!? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203418)

you mean those registration cards actually might have purpose!?!?

Actually, (5, Informative)

shepd (155729) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203419)

Its not even 58k colours for real. That's simluated from the hardware limited 12-bit (4k) colour depth. (Or at least that's what TechTV sez).

Palm users were really ripped off, IMHO.

Re:Actually, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203668)

Actually, all (crt/lcd) monitors do this, whether they be 8 bit/16 bit/32 bit.

Perhaps read some stuff about CRT technology next time? (Or don't trust techtv, heh)

Re:Actually, (5, Informative)

shepd (155729) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203878)

Okay, I know quite a bit about how LCDs and CRTs use separate colour pixes and simulate the real colour.

I learned a LOT about the lies of LCD resolutions when I was shopping for a VR/Television headset (that I never bought because _no one_ had them for show in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, except for a barely pre-beta-production pair at the Sony shop that were priced exorbitantly).

Non-consumer LCD specs are rated at their monochrome specifications, that is to say they are rated at 3x their resolution with no colour guarantees (because that's the job of the controller, not the LCD).

Consumer LCD specs are rated at their full colour specifications whenever they mention "colours" in the same line. For example, "Displays 160x160 resolution at 16-bit colour". However, if colours are *not* listed on the same line, its fair game to say its a 480x180 pixel display, _but_ on a fully fledged consumer device one would have to back that up with OS support for a fake monochome display using the separate colour pixels (which Palm does _not_ have).

Now, as far as raw CRTs and raw LCDs actually having bit depths associated with them, this is false. As the raw pixels on LCDs and the minimum size points formed by the shadow mask CRTs are purely analog in nature, you cannot state a bit depth for them. You are only limited by what the controller can do for an LCD, and with a CRT you are unlimited (unless the designer of the controller was on LSD at the time).

Anyways, since you seem so interested in learning how all this works (as you asked me to look it up for you, but I don't need to, since I learned all this in the few EET courses I passed handily) I'll explain why all this is to you. What a nice guy I am, huh?

Okay, lets start with CRTs. These are complicated little beasties when you get into colour, so lets start with monochrome.

The tube you are looking at right now is evacuated of all air. In the rear of it is a heating element, which causes a material in front of it to emit electrons. The amount of electrons emitted is controlled by a control grid in front of this material. This is what allows us to control the intensity, or brightness of the beam. This is controlled through voltage, and therefore is completely analog unless you choose to hook it up to a digital controller. After the beam is attenuated by the control grid, it then passes by "yokes", or electromagnetic coils in a standard CRT, or for an oscilloscope CRT, these are deflection plates. In either case, a voltage is applied to these. A higher voltage moves the electon beam away from that yoke/plate, however a lower voltage does not move it closer (this is why a TV requires at least a 4-way yoke, or 4 deflection plates). Moving the beam causes a spot on the phospor covered, lead impregnated part of the screen you see to light up (it actually excites the phosphor and causes it to emit light waves and x-rays rather than electrons). X-Rays (which are mostly of the soft form anyways) are curtailed by the lead, and the lead is grouned to remove the resulting electrical charge caused by all this electronic conversion away from the screen. Not to mention it keeps the EXTREMELY high voltage used called the "screen" from killing you. Beats me what this was about, nobody ever explained it (could that just be part of why I failed out of EET? :-)

Now we can see if this beam is moved about the screen it will create points of light all over. P22 phospor (which is what is used in starndard computer monitors) does not instantly stop emitting light when charged and, knowing this, we can use it to our advantage and move the beam quickly enough about the screen to keep the entire screen bright.

Now, modulating the yoke and control grid we can produce a picture. NTSC combines all this into one signal (bad). Fortunately, VGA does not, and is still completely analog (and could display google bit colour, if you so desired). VGA uses separate vertical and horizontal deflection signals, and also has separate voltage controls for the different colours red, green and blue (which we're about to get to).

A shadow mask placed behind the phospor on a screen allows the three beams integrated into a colour monitor to selectively hit various coloured phosphors on a computer screen. Basically, I really don't want to go into this anymore, because again, computer monitors are NOT my expertise.

So, as you can see, I've proven CRTs are purely analog, and therefore can display an infinite range of colour (disproving your bit-based theory of CRT colour).

Now to disprove your bit-based theory of LCDs.

LCDs are far more simple than CRTs. A fluid inside an LCD can be polarized at various angles with an applied voltage. The voltage directly controls the angle, and is completely analog. A polarized lense is placed either behind or infront of the LCD. A standard LCD (such as the one in a digital watch) has a mirror behind it which light bounces from when it strikes the LCD.

When a 90 degree twist is applied to the LCD is causes the display to be totally black, because it is a completely perpendicular angle to the polarized glass in front or behind it. If enough voltage to cause a 39.37837 degree twist to be placed on the LCD element, it will show up as a shade of grey, and that shade of grey is different than one at 39.28374 degrees.

When a Red, Green, and Blue colour filter is applied to these elements, you get a colour display, at the cost of requiring three times as many pixels. The display is still analog, and can display an infinite amount of colours, only limited by the controller attached to it.

HTH!

Re:Actually, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203809)

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Re:Actually, (2)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203832)

I know a few people who own the M130, the screens are fine. The color is great. This was a complete non-issue but Palm is doing the right thing by standing by their words anyways.

How can you be ripped off if the company offers to buy the damn thing back from you if you don't like it?

-- iCEBaLM

Re:Actually, (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203893)

>How can you be ripped off if the company offers to buy the damn thing back from you if you don't like it?

Cause they wasted my time should I have bought it and now I have to waste more time returning it?

But hey, if they will pay the entire purchase price, I'd call it even by simply not buying misadvertised Palm produts (ie: Never again).

Fortunately I don't own a Palm. I hate stylus based entry methods. :)

But my mind might change on that when I see all sorts of super-cheap refurbished m130s on the market. ;)

Palm misled their customers on purpose (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203432)

Palm misled their customers on purpose

-Use cheaper components.
-Advertise it has 16bit 65k color when it's really 12 bit 4096 colors.
-If no one notices Palms wins.
-If they do notice, see what happens. Say "sorry" and say "it's dithering".
-Palm states only 8 people wanted refunds.
-Palm wins.

This is the second time Palm has been nailed for false advertising. Slashdot, the media and most sites are so Pro-Palm and Anti-Microsoft, you never hear about it.

http://www.ciol.com/content/news/repts/102030713 .a sp

Wait until the new version of the Palm comes out, it's not what they said it is. But most people here will think it's great.

Re:Palm misled their customers on purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203482)

Last time I saw a palm article here, it was about how they broke often and left many people buying 2, even 3 units before they got one that worked. Pro-Palm? Not quite.

I agree with you though, I don't own a palm or palm-like device (useless in my eyes, and I consider myself high up the geek scale) but it's sad the way some items are marketed recently.

Hey (3, Informative)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203445)

It doesn't even display the 50,000 color number the claim.. it is 12 bit color.

They claim that by 'color mixing' you can get more colors..

Re:Hey (3, Interesting)

spongman (182339) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203540)

(not trying to be palm advocte here, but...) that's technically true. most displays today (including regular CRTs) can only display 768 colors (256 red, 256 green and 256 blue), it's the 'merging' of those colors that gives the 2^24 combinations. it all comes down to what constitues 'pixel'.

I guess the real problem is that it can't display 50K+ colors at the advertised resolution, since it needs to use several real pixels to make a high-color pixel.

A pathalogical example: a 1024x768x24-bit display can display 1024x768x24 or 1x1x(the total number of different permutations of 24-bit pixels on a 1024x768 display). of course, you'd have to look at the 1x1 display from a long way off for the dithering take effect.

Re:Hey (1)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203649)

I bet this gets even more confusing when you look at LCD's where 4 "pixels" can be, say, represented by 2 red areas, 2 green areas, and 1 blue area.

On the other hand, this reminds me of a old ModeX resolution trick for VGA-only boards. You could actually set the screen to 320x600 to simulate 18-bit color at 320x200. It works very well, using every 3rd line as R, G, B with 6 bits per color (64 shades of each, leaving you with 64 unused palette entries)

Re:Hey (1)

martyn s (444964) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203697)

Umm, no. Pixels are made up of subpixels. A red subpixel, a blue one and a green one. All pixels are equal, therefore you can't have a red pixel and a blue and a green one.

Anyway, if you're telling me that my monitor really has 3 times as many pixels as I thought, then yes, you're right. Dithering gets more and more effective the higher the resolution is. But the fact is, the standard is not to call subpixels pixels. They are subpixels. If they really considered them pixels, then they should've advertised that they have 76,800 pixels and not 25,600 (160x160). But according to standard definitions of "pixel" and "resolution" they were being fraudulent.

It's like saying, yeah, this car has 600 horsepower. But our definition of horse power is that 4HP = 1 of what most people call horsepower. We have very strong horses.

Re:Hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203749)

Oh yeah? Well my megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes. Your 2^20 megabyte is bogus. We have very strong bytes! My byte could kick the ass of 1.048576 of your bytes.

Re:Hey (3, Insightful)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203822)

Well if you want to redefine the definition of pixel, then fine. A CRT driven at 32bit color can manage only 768 colors measured at the subpixel level. And Palm's M130 can only manage 48 and not the 128 they claimed. Which is the point - they lied about the color capabilities and now they're still distorting the truth so they don't look quite so bad. Offering refunds for 58K colors instead of 65K sounds like Palm are great. Refunds for 4K colors instead of 65K sounds justified, nothing more.

Re:Hey (2)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203555)

I can make over 16 million colors using only red, green, and blue, so I'd say they're telling the truth.

Re:Hey (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203723)

I can make over 16 million colors using only red, green, and blue, so I'd say they're telling the truth.

Uh ... no. You can make over 16 million colors for a single pixel using varying levels of red, green, and blue in that single pixel (16777216 colors, to be exact, with a 24-bit display, giving 8 bits per red, green, and blue, or 256 shades of each merged together using the color properties of light to blend a new color). Palm has 12bpp to work with for a single pixel, or 4 bits per red, green, and blue. That's 16 shades of each, for a combinatorial total of 4096 different, unique colors. Their "blending" involves dithering (if I have a block of four pixels, and set the top left and bottom right to blue, and the top right and bottom left to white, then from a far enough distance, it looks like I have a blue that's 50% lighter than normal blue ...), or using various sub-pixel techniques (if I want a brighter red, I could adjust the red subpixels next to the pixel I'm dealing with and it will look brighter, but it will also be blurrier and could sacrifice the colors in the adjacent pixels), and such (I don't know what else they could do, really). In other words, your "mixing" of red, green, and blue is different than the "mixing" they're doing.

Class action lawsuit maddness (2, Interesting)

idleprocess (606281) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203476)

Its most recent decision also follows a class-action lawsuit filed last week in California's Superior Court in Santa Clara County.

I know it's a little off-topic but regardless of how Palm decided to handle this situation, we should all be glad that a class action lawsuit wasn't filed. In Madison County IL. there is a group called ILAW (Illinois Lawyer Abuse Watch (I think))investigating class action lawsuits and some of their findings are scary.

Verizon went through a class action lawsuit and all the participants were awarded some trivial $20 refund, or some voucher for a free month of service while the lawyers raked in millions of dollars.

These 'millions' get written off by the company and get passed to us. Not to say all Class-Action lawsuits are bad, but some are down right scary.

I know off-topic a tad. Oh well.

Color Combinations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203481)

If that 4k colors dithered to be 50k+ colors thing is true, then why stop there with the marketing lies? Lets see, 25,000 pixels, each can be one of 4096 colors... hey thats 25,000^4096 color combinations!!! What? thats not ever how screens are specified??... damn.

problem with the story (1)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203485)

In the last slashdot article [slashdot.org] about this it was plainly stated that the difference is actually 4-bit (16 bit advertised, 12 bit really) which in actuality means the difference between 60k some odd colors and 4096 colors...

My only question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203507)

Where did the 6915 missing colours go?

OT: Where is PalmOS 5.0?! (0, Offtopic)

Hoser McMoose (202552) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203522)

Ok, totally off-topic, but something I've been asking for a while, where the heck are PDAs based on PalmOS 5.0?!

The operating system was released back in June, and (silly me) I figured that PalmOS had worked with PDA manufacturers (or at the very least Palm themselves) beforehand so that actual products using this new operating system would be out shortly there-after. Well it's now 3 months later, and the best I've heard are some far-off rumors that the new handhelds MIGHT be coming sometime sorta not too long from now, like next year!

Come on Palm, Handspring, Sony et al. EVERYONE knew basically what was going to be required for this new OS LONG ago, why is the hardware lagging so far behind the software?! It's not even like the hardware would require that much in the way of development, since any current PocketPC PDA should be able to run PalmOS 5.0 with virtually no hardware modifications.

Anyway, that's just my little rant for the day.

Reminds me of my HP Jornada 690. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203557)

Everywhere you look, they claim 64k colors. however, only a blind woodsman would believe that claim after looking at images on the device. Everything's obviously dithered, sometimes so badly you can't even tell what the image is supposed to be. Background bitmaps look like crap unless they're converted to 256 colors using a 690-friendly pallete.

SimCity really worth it? (1)

Arcaeris (311424) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203589)

Well, if you felt like you were getting hosed, this deal is for you. Everyone wins, even those who didn't care.

Acquiring SimCity for PDA without this deal is rather ridiculous. $30 for a game that you can fit on 1 floppy, compared to a regular massive PC game is sad. Sure it's smaller and you can play in class and stuff, but why not just have a Game Boy Advance? Cheaper, and you're not fooling anyone anyway.

Since I am RED-Green Colorblind (3, Funny)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203599)

I can only relate to this vicariously through you. Hell, you think Twister is tough for you! "What do you mean left foot red?

Forget all those Colors...I want mine RUGGEDIZED! (2)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203614)

Protected from the elements and able to withstand 4 foot drops drops is what I am looking for [microsoft.com]! Wher the Hell do you want to go today!

Wow.... (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203619)

I'd be supprised if there was any actual, noticable diffrence between 64k and 58,261.

I mean, there are only 25k pixles on the thing.

Never mind that (1, Offtopic)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203631)

I am still employing Cowboy Neal with crayons and a sketch pad. I thought everybody else was too...

Re:Never mind that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203694)

There is no yellow colors available with the Cowboy Neal option. You see the yellow crayons disappear when Cowboy Neal mistakes them for cheezwiz.

Strobing can work (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203660)

IIRC, the original game boy used black and white strobing to create the four color effect. I've seen calculator programs (for the ti-8x and 9x calcs) that could display color images as well.

Of course, the contrast wasn't as good or anything. It would be interesting to see comparisons between the two. Someone posted a link, but it was to geocities, and obviously it's dead now.

Does anyone have the details on how this supposed color increasing worked? I think it would be intresting to see.

Re:Strobing can work (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203875)

With the calcs, you can only get 2 colors, blue, by overvolting the display, or brown, by undervolting the display. This involved a lot of work because you had to over/undervolt each pixle on the thing. With greyscale, we got 16 shades of grey on the 89 without a problem, so greyscale was fine, but color was a major problem...

So is this going to become the norm? (3, Interesting)

guttentag (313541) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203674)

  1. Advertise that your product offers much more than it really does.
  2. If anyone complains about your false advertising (which is against the law), wait until after the product has secured its place in the market (and in people's homes/offices) before admitting anything.
  3. Offer a full refund for the 12 people who would actually rather have their money back than live with their underperforming machines. Placate the rest with a downloadable version of a software product that's over a decade old (after all, the company's only cost-per-download is for the used bandwidth... it's not like they're giving away physical items)
  4. Result:
    • the 12 people who knew they were ripped off shut up because get their money back
    • the FTC will never get involved over false advertising charges
    • the company still sells (number of units that would have been sold if its claims had been true - 12) units
    • the vast majority of consumers think they got something for nothing (software) and laud the company
  5. Repeat with next product release.
Looks like a great deal for those who don't care about the bit depth of their PDA, and a way out for those who do my a$$... looks like a great marketing/disinformation strategy for Palm.

And no, this is not "the way business is done," this is "false advertising." Unfortunately, false advertising is only against the law if people complain.

Re:So is this going to become the norm? (0)

ovit (246181) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203706)

You just think you're so smart don't you? Any company that followed the plan you laid out would quickly be out of business.

Not quite sixteen bits... (1)

chrisgagne (605844) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203708)

Ok, so its 15.83913 bit color. That's only .16087 bits short of what they advertised. Now if you convert bits to dollars (2 bits = 25 cents) they've only shorted you 2 cents. They're giving you a game that's worth $29.99 retail. So what are you complaining about?

Shave and a hair cut, two bits.

http://www.chrisgagne.com/hosting

giggle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203755)

OFFTOPIC, SORRY

I just bought "In Memoriam" 9/11 DVD .. on the back, the warning says..

"WARNING: This program contained in this videocassette is licensed only for advertised, private home use. All other rights-including, but not limited to, duplication, broadcast by any means, and all forms of public display or public performance-are retained by the copyright proprietor. The FBI investages allegations of copyright infringement, and federal law provides severe criminal and civil panalties for those found to be in violation."

Notice how it says VIDEOCASSETTE and not DVD? I think they made a boo-boo ... is it possible for someone rip rip this and put it online and not get in trouble since it specifies video cassette only and not DVD?

Re:giggle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4203861)

Judges aren't fucking idiots, and that isn't an EULA, just a warning. They could write:

"If you copy this elephant, you will be raped in the ass repeatedly"

and copyright law would still apply to them equally. I can't believe EULAs have warped the way people think about copyright so bad for you to post something like that.

Palm Mods coming right up! (0)

Antarius (542615) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203780)

So, it can only do 58K colours?

No matter. The Germans or the French will come up with a mod shortly that'll either allow you to get 32-bit True Colour via either a software patch or the installation of a 2K resistor!

I can still remember the smart arse who did the impossible on the old Atari ST (not STe). It could display a maximum of 16 colours at a time, and had a pallette of 512 colours. (Not a typo).

Yet, someone got it to display 65,536 colours through software hacks - at the same time that those 37337 PC Owners were bragging about their 256 colour SVGA!

Yup - a mod that costs about 5c to boost the Palm to 32-bit colour sounds wonderful. And then the next week, we'll see one that will play high-res DivX;-), and expand the on-board RAM to 5 GigaBytes for the price of a coldie down at the pub.

I'm feeling some hostility here (3, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203804)

Even though the Palm can only display 4096 colors without resorting to ugly hacks (like pixel flickering), I don't see what the big deal is.

Ok, they lied in their marketing, that's bad. But they seem to be trying to do the honorable thing here. If the color depth is that important do you just get the refund and buy yourself a Handspring.

But lets work the numbers here: A 160x160 pixel screen has 25600 pixels total. The 12 bits per pixel can only display 4096 unique colors. This means that in the worst case scenario, every color will have to be spread across 6.25 pixels. This doesn't seem all that bad to me. In fact it sounds like just the sort of design tradeoff I might have made. Going all the way up to 65536 unique colors is kind of a waste since you'll never be able to get all of those on the screen at once.

Of course Palm should have advertised it as a 12bit screen right from the start, but I'm not ready to hang them out to dry for this. On the contrary, offering Sim City (which is still a fine game, despite what the vitriol filled posts on here might say) seems like a nice gesture to me. Palm certainly could have done worse.

Does anybody remember IOmega and the Click of Death? Years in lawsuits that just make the scum sucking lawyers richer and richer and what do we get? A coupon from IOmega for some paltry sum off of our next purchase of an IOmega product, long after most of us had swarn off IOmega forever. Would you guys have preferred that?

Re:I'm feeling some hostility here (4, Insightful)

topham (32406) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203889)


The 12bit colour isn't a PALLET of 16.7 million (or 65K) with only 4096 displayed at a time.

It's only 4096 colours total. You don't get to choose which colours are in the pallet.

You get 16 shades of red, 16 shades of green and 16 shades of blue. You get to mix them as well, but thats it.

So, yeah, even though there are only 25,600 pixels on the screen you could still display an image, via scrolling with the full 65K colours. Now your left we fudge tricks to get the same colour range.

I think this move by Palm is a good move though.
Many people are probably more than happy with the display.

I wonder what palm is going to achieve with this.. (1)

theridersofrohan (241712) | more than 11 years ago | (#4203828)

First a points:
Face it: The palm m130 is a cheap 160x160 pixels handheld. 16bit colout on a 160x160 cheap screen is _not_ that much different than a 12bit colour screen. What are you going to do? Run photoshop on your palm or show your vacation pictures to others on a frikin 160x160 screen?

That being said, I own an m130 and have been insanely pleased with it. However, this offer puts me into temptation.. Do i return the m130 and use the money (+£100) to buy the much sexier m515? I might be a righteous person and not do it. But others?

This might be an economical disaster for palm...

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