Falling off the grid: iOS vs. Android 4 vs. Windows 8 Metro

Falling off the grid: iOS vs. Android 4 vs. Windows 8 Metro

Marc Edwards of Bjango has put together a nerd-ily in-depth look at how different screen sizes -- original vs. Retina display on iOS, new vs. old Android displays, and Windows 8 Metro standards -- challenge designers who strive for pixel perfection in their work.

As you can see, scaling to any size other than exactly double is detrimental to the accuracy of how your original design is represented on screen. The asset scales of 140% and 180% required for Windows 8 Metro hit their target less than 25% of the time. Android’s 150% scale lands on a neat pixel boundary half the time.

I've discussed the tradeoffs before when rumors claimed Apple was going to release an "HD" but not 2x Retina display iPad 2. Marc takes it far further however, with charts, spreadsheets, and examples of what exactly all these different screen sizes do to the integrity of the design.

At the end of the day, would someone moving up from a feature phone to an Android or Windows 8 phone notice or care about blurry pixel grids? Many probably won't. I still think Apple does, however, which is why we'll either get the same size screen on an iPad 3, or a Retina display, and nothing in between.

Hit the link below for Marc's full rundown, and stay tuned for the next episode of the Iterate podcast where he goes over his findings.

Source: Bjango

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Falling off the grid: iOS vs. Android 4 vs. Windows 8 Metro


true but is time for HD Display, Retina has fewer pixels, there is one Android named the Rezound with 4.3 inch screen with 1280 x720p vs Retina 960x 640, and also has higher ppi than that of the Iphone, and I dont say the screen of the iphone is bad, but they need to release a bigger screen phone, and the technology on the HD display shows no degradation even if the screen is bigger, they could still produce high quality display with higher ppi and will maintain quality as good as the current Retina or who knows even better.

"...they need to release a bigger screen phone..."
Why? I think Apple has hit the two most important size targets: 3.5" and 9.7". Time will tell if the 4", 4.5", 5" and bigger screened phones remain attractive. My gut feeling is that they won't.
"the technology on the HD display shows no degradation even if the screen is bigger"
I'm not sure what's being said. Please clarify?
Also, be careful when comparing OLED (or AMOLED or SAMOLED) screens and IPS screen resolutions. OLED screens often use pentile pixel patterns, which reduces the red and blue resolution, even though the manufacturers use the green (full) resolution) in their specs. Displays with pentile pixel patterns have some serious issues for those who care about quality.

Advocating how? Building for exactly 2× for Apple's Retina displays requires only minor effort — the design stays on the same grid, but the quality is increased by double. Eventually Apple will only have Retina display devices and drop the need for the 1× designs. This has already been catered for well in their SDK.
On the other hand, those wishing to have pixel perfect designs on Android and Windows Metro will need to write some complex rules or have slightly different layouts for each scale. So it's Android and Windows Metro that get the additional dimension of fragmentation, not iOS.
Short version: Apple have done the absolute best job possible handling the medium PPI to high PPI display transition.

So in that long reply you all but admitted that future hardware will outclass current hardware. One can assume that means owners of current hardware will not be able to take advantage of some of those features that will be so heavily touted by apple. Kind of like how the iphone has always done right? Kind of like Android & Windows Phone are doing isn't it?
The word you are looking for is fragmentation & it exists on all platforms.