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Wallpaper is more than just a pretty picture. Go Tech shows you how to turn your mobile into a really ‘smart’ phone

Today, the mobile phone is an important device which no person could be without because of the numerous functions that have been incorporated into this miniature gadget that tries to make life a bit easier, more lively, and flexible.

There are many elements that can be placed on a mobile phone which displays the character or even the mood of the mobile phone owner such as body systems, key chains, ring tones, and pictures amongst others. Pictures for the mobile phone are much the same as those used on a computer desktop with the primary difference being its dimension and possibly its resolution. The actual limit towards the type or even quality associated with the picture or image you can use as mobile phone wallpaper depends upon the capability of the unit itself and never on the creativity of the person.

Among the really amazing things about mobile phones is the capacity to which they have evolved to customise them so as to suit the need of any person. Mobile wallpapers are extremely fun to create or download and have on your phone. These are pictures which are decorated on the screen of the mobile handset. Though they are used as a part of the decoration of the mobile phone on the one part, many people rely on them in order to convey their moods and feelings. They are a decoration and also a personal statement.

It is possible to easily obtain pictures of your favourite superstars from numerous sources on the Internet, with plenty of the newest pictures to be found. Many pictures can be downloaded from websites, free of cost. The types of pictures used as wallpapers are of various styles ranging from devotional, patriotic, personal or to any picture to ones liking. One needs to just download the picture and transfer it to the mobile handset, if the handset cannot access the internet directly.

Mobile wallpapers and images started as black-and-white sketches a few years ago, since handsets had limited capabilities, but then that is a thing of the past. Handsets now can take the JPEG, GIF, animated GIF and the PNG formats. There are many more proprietary formats, but if a content owner has his content in the JPEG format at the very least, and preferably in the PNG format, then the content owner can cater to over 99 per cent of the handsets available for sale today.

There is, however, a requirement for making available wallpapers in different sizes to suit many handsets in the market. Some of these sizes are 96x65, 101x80, 128x128, 128x160, 174x132 , 176x220, 208x320, 240x320, 320x480 and now for tablet computers, which also double as a mobile phone, 800x600, 1024x768 and 1280x800. There is also a huge demand for animated pictures, and these are generally in the animated GIF format.

The GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a bitmap image format that was introduced by CompuServe in 1987 and has since come into widespread usage due to its wide support and portability. The format supports up to 8 bits per pixel thus allowing a single image to reference a palette of up to 256 distinct colours. The colours are chosen from the 24-bit RGB colour space. It also supports animations and allows a separate palette of 256 colours for each frame. The colour limitation makes the GIF format unsuitable for reproducing colour photographs and other images with continuous colour, but it is well-suited for simpler images such as graphics or logos with solid areas of colour.

The JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a commonly used method of lossy compression for digital photography. The degree of compression can be adjusted, allowing a selectable trade-off between storage size and image quality. JPEG typically achieves 10:1 compression with little perceptible loss in image quality. JPEG compression is used in a number of image file formats.

The PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format is a bitmapped image format that employs lossless data compression. PNG was created to improve upon and replace the GIF as an image file format. PNG supports palette-based images (with palettes of 24-bit RGB or 32-bit RGBA colours), greyscale images (with or without alpha channel), and RGB[A] images (with or without alpha channel). PNG was designed for transferring images on the Internet, not for professional-quality print graphics, and therefore does not support non-RGB colour spaces such as CMYK.

I prefer the PNG format for images for mobile handsets since it is primarily lossless and my advice to content owners would be that the PNG format should be used as the base format and then the JPEG or GIF can be created from this format. I say this though most content owners in the film industry may have the base format in JPEG with a very high resolution. The reason I prefer the PNG format is its quality and sharpness, particularly, when it is brought down to the size that is required by mobile handsets.

Pradeep Anand is Managing Director of meragana.com

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