Microsoft Tribe


1080p support on Windows Phone, yay or nay?


Straight up? NAY.

Before I explain why, let me first introduce myself as a person who's against the trend of large phones. And also phones with extremely high PPI. Why? Because in terms of ergonomics, large phones are uncomfortable, and barely usable with one hand. And having more PPI than you need, causes compromise in many other places (battery life, performance).

The biggest problem with smartphones are the battery life. Dumbphones could last a week, and with smartphones we've downgraded that to a day. The second biggest problem is durability. They break easier than dumbphones. So IMO, these are the two biggest issues that needs to be worked on by the entire phone industry.

Now, why do I say no for 1080p support? You may think that no harm can come from it, that Microsoft is just opening more doors.

But that door needs to be closed. At least for now.

1) The world does not need more high PPI phones. By supporting 1080p, manufacturers like Nokia will be pressured to produce a phone with 1080p. I've already explained why this is bad.

2) The 'bigger is better' trend for phones is stupid. Screen size will tend to get larger to fit the pixels. I've also explained why this is no good.

3) 1280x768 is PLENTY. Seriously, who NEEDS more than this? Personally I don't even need anything above 800x480! Even the iPhone has only 640 horizontal pixels. Your phone is not meant to be viewed from an inch away, so enough of this 'I don't want to see pixels on my phone'.

Sure, I understand that we will sooner or later live in a world where distinguishing pixels are a thing of the past, but now is not that time. There are compromises that we cannot afford to make.

4) Stick with 5:3. This one may be quite personal, but 5:3 is a superior ratio compared to 16:9. 16:9 is only popular because that's the standard for videos. But 5:3 (1.667) is a closer number to that golden ratio (1.618) than 16:9 (1.778). In fact I think 16:10 should be revived, made as the new standard for all movies/videos, and all screens from phones to TV's will have a 16:10 aspect ratio. Just because it's the closest to 1.618.

And also, Windows Phone began with 800x480, a 5:3 ratio. That is the iconic resolution and aspect ratio for Windows Phone. Even when Windows Phone supported HD 720p (1280x720, a 16:9), they made a 5:3 equivalent (1280x768), that was superior to 720p. If they were to eventually support 1080p, I hope they will come up with a 5:3 resolution than betters 1080p. Just to put the primary focus on the 5:3 ratio.

Please, don't start the 'I want to watch movies on my phone and 1080p + large screen will be good for that' argument. A phone is not a device primarily for watching movies. It's a device you CAN watch a movie with, and that's it. A mobile communications device is never going to be an optimal device for you to watch movie on, that's just never part of the design intention of a phone.

If you want to watch a movie on the go, bring a tablet/laptop with you.

Now, there is one exception that would make me accept 1080p support on Windows Phone. If they intend to replace Windows RT with it.

If Microsoft is going to ditch RT and make Windows Phone double as a tablet OS, then 1080p support would be inevitable.

Otherwise. NAY.

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