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A4-like screen sizes for tablets

To show two side by side apps by scaling uniformly.
  [vote for,

The A0, A1... A5 paper sizes are defined with a length to width ratio of sqrt(2), so that when you tear one sheet into two the smaller sheets have the same length-to-width ratio.

A big drawback of non-windowed operating systems for tablets (like the one on the iPad) is that they make it impossible to interact with more than one app at a time. For example, it would be convenient to copy something from a webpage to a document, by opening them both side by side and dragging stuff from one to the other - but this isn't possible with only full-screen apps.

You would rarely need to interact with more than two applications at the same time, so I think a split-screen side-by-side view would suffice in the vast majority of use cases.

Of course, much of the time you would still want to run your applications full screen. This would require most app writers to support two different modes - full screen and split screen, which is extra work.

A tablet computer which has a screen with a length-to- width ratio of sqrt(2) would eliminate this problem, because now when the user enters side-by-side mode, the operating system can simply shrink the app uniformly to take just half the screen.

It's true that fonts will become smaller, but only by about 29%. If the app uses at least 11 point font while in full screen, I think text would still be readable (just a little under 8pt) while in side-by-side mode.

The aspect ratio 1.414 is between standard (1.333) used by the iPad and all, and widescreen (1.78), so it would be quite natural to use. While watching widescreen video there will be some letterboxing (but not as much as on a standard screen), and for standard aspect video there would be black bars on the sides (but not as much as on a widescreen)

A real A4 sized display would be about 14" across, but this could be a smaller device as well, as long as the ratio is sqrt(2). I think a good resolution to have is 1154 * 816 (very low error rounding to integer pixels).

arvin, May 07 2010

Paper Size http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_size
For people who aren't obsessed with office supply stores and don't understand paper sizing (and Americans, who use stupid paper). [In No Particular Order, May 07 2010]

For [Ian]. http://www.youtube....ature=youtube_gdata
Not sure how soon it's coming... but the demos are nice. [Jinbish, May 08 2010]

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       I think the general idea of standardising screens to sqrt2 ratio is a good one, especially for windowless displays where there's no menu bar. So [+].   

       Oh, and I second the motion to make the Americans conform to rational paper sizes.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 07 2010

       //people who aren't obsessed with office supply stores// You can't just assert the existence of entities without giving some evidence that they exist. In fact, evidence that they could physically exist would be better than nothing!
pocmloc, May 07 2010

       8pt font is not exactly easy on the eyes.
DrWorm, May 07 2010

       unless you're an ant
hippo, May 07 2010

       I'm certain I recall an A4 screen that was available as part of the early Macintosh range. My recollection is of a screen that could be physically rotated to either landscape or portrait format   

       Personally I don't like uniformity or conformity. My vote is for randomly Quadrilateral screens.
xenzag, May 07 2010

       [MB] //make the Americans conform to rational paper sizes// sqrt2 is rational?
mouseposture, May 07 2010

       I'd prefer a spherical computer screen, please.
goldbb, May 10 2010

       Inner or outer surface?
pocmloc, May 10 2010

       <topologist>What's the difference?</topologist>
mouseposture, May 11 2010

       I know the idea specifies "non-windowed" OS, but I find the whole idea a bit moot - I've had a great little Fujitsu tablet since about 2004 with a touchscreen (8.9 inch). A wee bit small - but very useful for reading.   

       The notion that you only have one application open at a time is a bit daft... and earmarks the iPad out as an evolution of "a big phone".
Jinbish, May 11 2010

       //What's the difference?// The location of [goldbb]
pocmloc, May 11 2010

       [xenzag]: You recall correctly. There was the Apple Portrait Display, a vertically oriented monitor that showed a full, pixel-accurate greyscale page at 72DPI - American letter-sized, as I recall; the Apple Two Page Display, which showed two side by side; and the Radius (third party) Pivot monitors, which swivelled from landscape to portrait orientation and signalled the video card to switch modes automagically. The latter functionality is still missing from modern pivoting displays as far as I know.
BunsenHoneydew, May 15 2010


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