One thing bugs me quite a bit about the micro controller hobbyist hardware that is available and that is the complete lack of LCD screens that offer less than 16/18 bits per pixel. Surely it would be worth the time to make the controller firmware accept a paletted data format, or even use a fixed palette, offering 8,4 or even 2 bits per pixel.
A lot of people buy these screens for displaying moving images, either animations or games, just think about how smooth an animation you could get if you could send only quarter or an 8th of the data each frame? full screen animation at 120+fps even with slow avr’s.
… rant over.
There’s probably a money issue at the bottom of this.
Screen writers probably don’t want to pay someone to write firmware because they know someone will write open source software to make it possible without them having to spend any more than is necessary.
Or the extra time to write the firmware is (in their eyes) money lost from sales because the screen wasn’t on the market earlier.
(I’m glad I’m a programmer and not a businessman.)
Sourcing LCDs for a project like this is very complicated. Many ppl have asked why I do not use an “off the shelf” LCD. I call BS on their knowledge on the issue. Same on people claiming they can get TFTs for dollar a piece. It simply does not work that way in real life - nevermind you saw a couple of refurbished Nokia screens on ebay. You can’t design a plastic injection molded product around a component you might get if they are on ebay.
In order for a display to be readily available, it has to be used in consumer electronics - alot.
Pokitto LCD is a “featurephone” TFT made to our spec. We couldn’t change the display direction but the cable and wiring was drawn by yours truly. Even then the conditions for availability are harsh.
Are you sure a lot of people want to display moving images, as opposed to those who simply need a display for some device they’re building? I’ve never wanted to do that (I don’t have my Pokitto yet), but that’s not a big sample.
And beyond that, a lot of the cheap devices that are popular with makers (GPS, MEMS, xDOFs, etc) are cheap because they’re breakouts around devices built for big commercial markets, like cell phones. So even if there is a big demand for color depths between 3 and 256 in the maker market, there may not be cheap devices to build them around unless there’s some other market using them - and that also seems to be uncommon. Commercial products I see either want 2 or 3 colors for a simple information display (so you can find cheap 2 or 3 color oleds), or deep displays for photos or something similar. Is there a market I missed somewhere?
Ok, I may have exaggerated the amount of people who want this sort of feature. But anyone attempting to make any sort of video game with an Arduino is stuck with either 1bpp or something far too slow. Pokitto wouldn’t have worked at 16mhz.
Yeah, the only people I can think of who want to animate low quality images are people creating retro-feel gaming systems. But thanks to MAME, there’s no market for those outside of educational systems. And yes, Pokitto may not have worked at 16 MHz, but you can get systems that are 5 to 10 times faster than that for a minimal cost increase (with similar bumps in memory and io hardware), so why would you use a 16MHz cpu?