Opinion

The Story Behind BlackBerry 10 Screen Resolutions

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BlackBerry 10 is going to be a revolution in terms of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry smartphones: new platform, new developer tools, new user interface, and pretty much new everything else. The new set of developer tools are simply head-and-shoulders above what they used to be, a blessing for most developers.  Yet to avoid fragmentation and more work for developers, RIM has decided to enlighten developers on their plans for the screen resolutions of future BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

We know from the state-of-the-art screen of the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha that the first BlackBerry 10 L-Series smartphone will have a screen resolution of 1280 x 768, giving an aspect ratio of 15:9.  RIM has also revealed that the BlackBerry 10 N-Series QWERTY keyboard smartphone will have a screen resolution of 720 x 720, giving a simple aspect ratio of 1:1.

In an effort to standardize the screen screen resolutions of future BlackBerry smartphones, RIM has stated that pure touchscreen BlackBerry 10 smartphones will use the 1280 x 720 standard screen resolution.  This makes sense for a few reasons.  First, it’s the same aspect ratio of your HDTV, 16:9.  Second, most of the high-definition content available comes in at 720p, which matches the 1280 x 720 screen resolution that RIM is aiming for.  As for the N-Series, its pretty much matching the horizontal dimensions of the L-Series so that most apps will only have to adjust vertical proportions of the user interface.

Now, you might be wondering why the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone has a different, and particularly higher screen resolution.  The primary reason for this is because the design and components of the first L-series smartphone were finalized before any of this 720p standard was set in stone.

Despite all this, the user experience shouldn’t suffer in the least.  The difference between 720 and 768 horizontal pixels is pretty negligible, (about 2.6 mm) on the Dev Alpha’s screen.  Also, RIM’s native and web development tools typically sort out this difference for you if you use relative dimensions in creating the user interface.  As for games, they can run at 1280 x 720 on a 1280 x 768 screen without too much hassle.  In general, most people will hardly notice the difference between the two screens side by side anyway.

Of course, porting games over to the N-Series from the L-Series specifications will be challenging because of the completely different aspect ratio to contend with.  Then again, games aren’t the first priority of those interested in a BlackBerry with a (non-slider) full QWERTY keyboard.

This is good news for both developers and consumers.  Developers don’t have to re-jig their app’s user interface for every BlackBerry device out there, and this in turn means consumers should be able to get the app they want across any of the available BlackBerry smartphones.

You can check out RIM’s official developer blog on BlackBerry 10 screen resolutions here.







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