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Google Nexus One display actually not 800×480 resolution?

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 6:34PM EST

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Interesting read at  Ars Technica for all you folks following the Nexus One display controversy that has been making the rounds recently. This article attempts to explain why the Nexus One with its AMOLED has many users report blurry text rendering on the Nexus One. Hit the jump for the highlights of the article and hit the read link if you are ready for some serious graphics hardware and software processing information.

The technically detailed article describes how some of the Nexus One display issues may be attributed to the underlying hardware and the method by which Google has chosen to represent the screen’s resolution. Here are the highlights of what the author says is the cause for these anomalies:

  • The AMOLED display of the Nexus One has an unusual arrangement of pixels known as the PenTile Matrix developed by Nouvoyance. Each pixel consists of a double-width blue or red subpixel element and a green subpixel element.
  • The PenTile display uses a series of local filter operations and subpixel positioning to approximate a standard RGB-striped LCD display.
  • The actual hardware resolution of the Nexus One display is 480×800 pixels, but no pixel contains all three colors. If you remove the signal processing noted above, the total effective resolution of the display is actually 392×653.
  • The actual resolution may be negligible if the what you see is pleasing but here is where it gets tricky. Your eyes have 20x more rods (more numerous, more sensitive but don’t detect color) than cones (color sensitive) which means your eyes are better at detecting intensity/luminance transitions than detecting color/chrominance transitions. Because of the pixel arrangement and signal processing required by the display of the Nexus One display, your eyes will see the colors as bright, vivid and pleasing while text is blurred.
  • With this unique PenTile pixel arrangement, you also have twice as many green subpixels and red and blue subpixels that are twice as large as the green subpixels. This arrangement can produce color fringing that is visible around the edges of text if you look closely enough.
  • According to the CEO of Nouvoyance, the color fringing can be eliminated by tweaking the PenTile display driver hardware and that the color fringing seen on the Nexus One may be not be apparent on other devices because of these tweaks.

Pretty interesting stuff. What do you guys think?