Android 2.1 downgrades image quality

PC Magazine reports that Dr. Raymond Soneira of Displaymate Technology Corporation found that upgrading to Android 2.1 will downgrade the quality of images in your image gallery. He tested his theory on a Motorola Droid, where he discovered that Android 2.0.1 uses 24-bit color rendered in 2D, and Android 2.1 uses only 16-bit color rendered in 3D.

Google claims that this is due to a different company making the new version of gallery. Google, who made the original version, used 24-bit. The new Gallery was developed by Cooliris, also known for their internet image browser. Google didn't really comment on why there was a quality discrepancy, and Cooliris has yet to comment. 

In his original report, Dr. Soneira shuns Google for shoddy display development and suggests that they do away with the 16-bit graphics. He also criticizes the Nexus One's display in general.

"The Nexus One OLED display has many spectacular qualities, but it is also loaded with lots of rough edges, hasty unfinished beta display drivers and Android software including principal applications like the Browser and Gallery, poorly implemented image processing, poor system integration together with sub-standard factory display calibration. It really looks and behaves like a prototype for a very nice future display, not a finished production display for a world class mobile device that Google markets it to be. It will be interesting to see the degree to which existing units will be corrected and improved with software updates."

While he's upset with Google's implementation of display software and hardware, he had only good things to say about the Droid's display. 

"In terms of image and picture quality it comes closer to a high quality computer monitor or HDTV than any other mobile display we have tested – all the more impressive because mobile displays operate under challenging size, power and cost constraints."

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12 Comments

That makes me wonder why are my pictures in low quality jpegs on my iPhone... why do they do this, they are so cruel to us, smartphone users....

I agree with Dr. Soneira's statements above, but really, only the tech savvy like us would appreciate the differences between 24-bit and 16-bit graphics etc.

Ned said,
I would think the color banding would be quite noticeable to anyone.

only if they were looking at loads of gradients...

Edited by xn--bya, Apr 14 2010, 4:29pm :

Razorwing said,
well I don't even use the album feature on my Hero.. just give us the upgrade damnit.

Agreed! Hero users really need 2.1 now. Seem to have been waiting for an eternity.

I expected this to be about a different problem. I don't notice banding but I do notice the fact that when you zoom in on an image it doesn't increase the detail on high-res images, but just enlarges the zoomed-out image so that it's blurry. They should definitely fix that because why bother having a zoom function when it doesn't work?

Raikou Tch said,
I expected this to be about a different problem. I don't notice banding but I do notice the fact that when you zoom in on an image it doesn't increase the detail on high-res images, but just enlarges the zoomed-out image so that it's blurry. They should definitely fix that because why bother having a zoom function when it doesn't work?

If that is true, then that is ridiculous. Google should push Cooliris to fix this ASAP.

Raikou Tch said,
I expected this to be about a different problem. I don't notice banding but I do notice the fact that when you zoom in on an image it doesn't increase the detail on high-res images, but just enlarges the zoomed-out image so that it's blurry. They should definitely fix that because why bother having a zoom function when it doesn't work?

Oh, that is really absurd if that's the case. Not acceptable at all.

Eh, I didn't even notice this till I read this article. I still really like the new gallery, and its not like the images cant be viewed in higher quality elsewhere.

mr.r9 said,
When I went from 1.6 to 2.1 I noticed the decrease in picture quality. But at the same time, I gained a better image gallery, multitouch, better overall system...and so on. The benefits out weight this problem by miles

+1

I didn't notice the decrease in image quality when I upgraded to 2.1. What I did notice was the slower interface and more RAM being used by useless apps that I don't want running (Amazon MP3 Stream, Voice Search, etc.) and it's just slower in general. Makes me pretty dissapointed and I may root my phone and get a ROM to use...

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