Android ready to support displays in 640 DPI range

android_dpi_categories_chart_2013

Discovered in the Android source commit is a new DPI category, XXXDHPI, which has been established for devices with a DPI of 640. According to Android engineer Dianne Hackborn, this density would typically be used for a 4K television screen which runs at 3840×2160 resolution. Like some others, you may be wondering why this would even be needed. Although the hardware and bandwidth may not be ready for such a high resolution yet, not to mention wallets and pocketbooks, the day may get here eventually and Android plans to be ready for it.

The system of DPI categories is a way for app developers to more efficiently serve up graphics and images on smartphones and tablets by providing an appropriately sized file for the device’s capabilities. The categories that exist up to now include:

  • Low DPI (LDPI) – 120 DPI
  • Medium DPI (MDPI) – 160 DPI (e.g. the T-Mobile G1)
  • High DPI (HDPI) – 240 DPI (e.g. the Nexus S)
  • Extra High DPI (XHDPI) – 320 DPI (e.g the Google Nexus 4)
  • Extra Extra High DPI (XXHDPI) – 480 DPI (e.g. the HTC One)

When creating apps, developers can produce several versions of the same image and package them in the app. When a call for an image is made, the app can detect the device’s resolution and figure out which version of the image will display the best. This is especially important for low-res screens as they are probably running on lower end hardware and not only would a high-res image be a waste, it needlessly consumes memory due to the larger file size, slowing everything down in the process. On the flipside, if you have a high-res device and a low-res image gets served up to you, you might think you are using the Minecraft version of the app.

For now this probably does not mean much for the consumer. No doubt though, the race is on for ever higher screen resolutions, whether it is the current crop of TVs pushing 4K screens or whether it is a 10-inch tablet or a 5-inch smartphone. You should probably expect to see some eye-popping DPI numbers in the future.

source: Android Police


About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, and an LG G3 along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his wife and kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active in his church, a local MINI Cooper car club, and his daughter's soccer club. Jeff is married, has three kids, and a golden retriever.


  • John Kiser

    This seems counter productive as all get out to me. What possibility would anyone have for a resolution that high on a 11 inch or lower device like… at all?

    • phila

      2 years ago you would have said the same thing about xxhdpi (440ppi)
      5 years ago you would have said the same thing about xhdpi (320ppi)
      15 years ago you would have laughed at the concept of a mobile phone with a 3.5″ screen and no keypad :-)