Wednesday, August 27, 2008

LCD Changes - More Entertainment Friendly Widescreens On The Way?

It's been a while since I've seen 4:3 aspect-screen laptops for a while.  If you look carefully, you can still find it at your local electronics superstore.  These days, we pretty much see only widescreen laptops.

My original Powerbook 1400cs had a resolution of 800x600.  Then a series of Windows laptops took me to 1024x768.  Finally, my current Powerbook rests at 1280x800.  I love the wide aspect as it gave me room to fit chat windows, widgets, or notes that I happen to have open.  The higher resolution the better in my mind, so long as my eyes can take it.

But in Yahoo News' (via PC Magazine) article regard laptop screen size, the argument is against laptop makers produce screens with 16:9 ratio, a move away from the mostly 16:10 screens on the market now.  In a move towards 16:9, the height of the screen is sacrificed.

The article only provide the dimensions of the screen and we added the size or resolution to offer mobile warriors more perspectives of the change.

What we see are the loss of screen surface area as well as resolution.  What we also see is the changes in the resolution as a result.  For work, this can impact buying decision but according to Yahoo, we may not have the luxury of such a choice as laptop makers will move mostly to 16:9 screens.

Here are some points we've gathered from the article:

  • Bigger screen the better.  One way to compensate for the loss in resolution and surface area is to move to a bigger screen.  The increase in weight will vary from model to model.
  • 16:9 is better for movies.  
  • Battery life may increase in additional to any Intel changes to next generation mobile platforms due to a smaller surface area the laptop battery has to power.
Are the manucturers doing this to because of the bottom line?  Perhaps.  However, if I can  get longer battery life and a lighter laptop, it could be a change in mobility however minute.  For mobile workers who need that extra space, it would be natural for them to gravitate towards a laptop with a bigger screen.
The assertion that the change in aspect is for cost saving is likely true, also keep in mind that more people are using laptops as their desktop replacements and bring with them certain habits including watching movies on their computer.  And if it is perceived by the consumers that 16:9 screens provide better entertainment experiences and extending battery, this is going to happen and there really isn't something we can do about.  
This is hardly a "write to your Congressman" situation.  
When the change over from traditional 4:3 screens to widescreens was made, it also changed the work habit of mobile warriors.  I encountered programmers who stuck with their 1600x1200 LCDs so they can see more lines horizontally.  At the same time, spreadsheet warriors occupy both sides of the argument.  On one side, they like to see more rows just as the programmers do while some like to see more columns.
I have read some interest comments from users regarding this issue and that comes to mind is the 16:10 allow for the control to be displayed without hinder viewing of movies.  
I trust this is probably the end of aspect ratio changes for years to come.  

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