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Mobile World Congress: Resolution Revolution

Technologizer @ Mobile World CongressI didn’t mention Toshiba’s TG01 in my roundup of Mobile World Congress phone debuts, since Toshiba avoided the rush by announcing the phone a few days early. I got a little hands-on time at Toshiba’s booth today, and while it turned out the prototypes on hand weren’t really ready for prime time–touch input was achingly slow when it worked at all–the phone’s screen resolution made a major impression.

The TG01 is one of several new phones at the show to sport a 480-by-800 display–others include LG’s Arena and HTC’s Touch Diamond2 and Touch Pro2–which gives it 2.5 times more pixels than the iPhone’s 320-by-480 screen. Toshiba also says it incorporated technology from its Regza flat-screen TVs into the TG01’s screen, and while I don’t know if that’s hype or mundane fact, the results are impressive.

What will more pixels bring to phones? Prettier interfaces, for one thing, since it’ll let typography look crisper at the same font size, for instance. And high-res phones will be able to fit more of a Web page or document on screen at once (although at some point it’ll be debatable if that’s a benefit–if text is too teeny-tiny it’ll cause eyestrain).

I’m not sure if any of the high-res handsets at MWC fully take advantage of the potential of the extra pixels–the iPhone has a slicker interface than the TG01 despite its resolution handicap. But I’m looking forward to what the technology will permit in future phones, and I’m wondering how long it’ll be until there’s an iPhone that matches it. Resolution is one of several ways in which the new phones at the show are leaping past Apple’s phone from a hardware standpoint–while continuing to lag it on the software front. More on that in a future post.

Oh, and when I do get a high-resolution phone it most likely won’t be the TG01: Toshiba doesn’t sell handsets in the U.S., and has no plans to bring this one stateside.

Toshiba TG01


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