Higher resolution support in Windows Phone 7: DPI 262?

One question has been bugging me ever since the Windows Phone 7 reveal back a few months ago and the revolves around screen resolution and quality.

We know that the preferred resolution is 800x480, which today is considered on the high end but within a few months will be closer to the norm in smartphones. This raises the question: what resolutions will WP7 support say in 12 months or 24 months out? Surely 800x480 won't be the bees-knees in two years from now. Heck, the 4th generation iPhone ("iPhone HD") is dropping this summer with an expected resolution of 960x640

We're pretty positive that Microsoft have some sort of upscaling plan in the works and the first hint of this may have just been found from one of the recent WP7 ROM dumps.

Specifically mention of a DPI 262 (DPI= dots per inch). Historically, Windows Mobile has supported DPI 192, 120 and 96. Windows Phone 7 supports 96, 131, 192, 262 and according to Da_G, WP7 resolution is scalable to just about anything.

Now DPI isn't resolution, but rather effects how dense the image is--the larger the screen, the less dense the pixels, you up those and your screen image is smoother looking. With DPI 262, Windows Phone 7 can (a) look better on current screens if enabled (b) work on larger screens e.g. 5" tablets and up. (c) be easier to read, think fonts/text and smoothness.

Hopefully this a positive sign of things to come.

[via XDA forums]


Reader comments

Higher resolution support in Windows Phone 7: DPI 262?


Technically, DPI *IS* resolution -- we use the word 'resolution' where we MEAN 'pixel dimensions'. This usage is so commonplace and supported by all major parties that it doesn't really matter, though.

I was thinking about this kind of thing the other day.

Thinking in broader terms, MS has a fairly rigid chassis requirement (a good thing IMHO) but in a year or two, whose to say Apple or any other company might add, I don't know, a "temperature sensor" to their phones (since we all desperately needed "digital compasses" and now its a standard...). Will MS update the requirements? What about phones that are already being developed by OEMs? It would probably take about a year to give the OEMs ample time to comply...

I'm not sure I agree with the claim that DPI isn't resolution. Surely, the denser the pixels, the more of them can fit on a screen - hence a higher resolution. They are directly linked and are good measures of each other.

If anything, the DPI shows the highest POSSIBLE resolution. Anyone can show a 480x320 video on a 1080p screen, but we can't therefore call it an HD video, or a 320 screen.

Well, the fact that WP7 will be able to scale to about anything is based on it's use of Silverlight, which is like WPF using an Hardware accelerated compositioning approach in rendering everything. As for 3D Graphics scaling and perspective are a permanent must, Silverlight supports this easily.

The question that remains is: will MS allow people to utilize higher display resolutions on bigger display devices to show more information, as currently no matter how big the screen and whatever it's resolution - the image is the same - similar to iPhone Apps on the iPad (stretched to fit), but due to the compositing nature in theory silverlight would not upscale the resulting image but render it in the higher resolution.

Applications on the Windows phone 7 are run on top of Silverlight; a technology that is vector based, not pixel based. So resolution changes will not affect greatly the existing applications, they will just scale nicely. Apps will likely will show more items, and more details.