Downgraded image quality in Android 2.1 confirmed by Google

And_gallery For any Motorola Droid owners who recently upgraded to Android 2.1 and noticed a slightly hazier outlook, yet thought their mind was playing tricks on them, you can rest easy. Turns out those pictures that suddenly lost their crispness was because of an "upgraded" Gallery app, and Google has now come clean on the matter.

On the original shipping firmware for the Droid, which was the short-lived Android 2.0, and the subsequent update to 2.0.1, Google themselves had developed the Gallery app and was using 24-bit 2D color rendering. Once 2.1 hit the scene, the chore of updating the app fell into the hands of Cooliris, who used 16-bit textures rendered using 3D techniques, basically downgrading image quality.

Since the Nexus One has been using Android 2.1 from the start, it may be hard for owners to notice a difference without any basis for comparison, but according to DisplayMate Technology Corp., their independent testing has confirmed the issue even in Google's flagship smartphone.

To my severely myopic eyes, the AMOLED-equipped Nexus One has one of the sharpest screens I've ever used, but hopefully Google can get this issue resolved in Froyo, because it's very obvious in the above images.

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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