First look at HDMwIn for Gingerbread phones

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For those of you still rocking an HTC EVO 4G, you should definitely check this one out. It's TeamWin's newest update to their very own HDMwIn for EVO's running Gingerbread, and it comes with a couple of key enhancements that should get any HDMI fan salivating.

I had the opportunity to sit down with the lead programmer of HDMwIn, agrabren, and ask some questions about how it works as well as the new features. Join me after the break to see the Q&A, and don't be afraid to sound off in the comments if there's something I forgot to ask.

How long did it take you to perfect HDMwIn for Gingerbread?

I've spent over 100 hours getting all the little details right and all the algorithms working smoothly. I anticipate another 10-20 hours until all the wrinkles are fixed.

So HDMI just outputs on its own? The user doesn't need to do anything?

Exactly. The user plugs in the HDMI cable, and it just works. The user is welcome to make adjustments via the UI, but there's generally no need. But there will always be someone who is fussy and wants it to lock rotation, change scaling or modify the overscan defaults.

Did there not used to be auto-rotation? And does auto-rotation work for everything? I noticed it worked in both Nova and the YouTube app.

There was a rudimentary version of auto-rotation in old builds, but that required the UI to read the sensors. This consumed massive amounts of battery, and performed poorly. This new method requires no extra power, and offers a smoother experience to the user. Any application which natively handles rotation (either fixed, like Nova, or dynamic, like Messages) will work out-of-the-box. As for YouTube, YouTube isn't mirroring. It uses native HDMI support for Gallery videos and YouTube videos. That was one of the great new features. You no longer need to disable mirroring to use YouTube. It switches automatically.

You mentioned there's now YouTube app support. Is there also support for videos played in the browser app?

Only the YouTube app and Gallery app support HDMI out-of-the-box from HTC. So when those apps run, you'll have different output on your TV from your device. If you're playing video (or anything else) on the device in a player which doesn't natively handle the EVO's HDMI port, you'll get full mirroring. If the app is HDMI-aware, you'll get the app's intended behavior.

Are there any performance enhancements in the new HDMwIn? How are the scrolling speeds compared to the previous version?

We're using the same "Silky Johnson" technology which drove our previous accelerated kernels, so we're seeing the same smooth responsiveness and performance. Because we now do aspect scaling a little more accurately, it's possible the GPU isn't quite as taxed as before, but we haven't felt a noticeable difference. The device no longer has a polling loop running in the background, so that helps battery life and performance as well.

You mentioned there's a custom kernel involved. What kind of features does this kernal support? Are other kernals supported?

I always build our new features directly on top of the HTC kernels. Once we release the kernel and source code, we work with other kernel developers to get our code integrated into their kernels. This kernel has all the latest EDID fixes (for people who would plug in a TV and have the phone immediately crash) as well as the HDMI mirroring.

Are there any other cool things TeamWin is cooking up you can tease us with?

TeamWin is always cooking up new things. And I hope to be able to tease some of them in the next few weeks.

There you have it, folks. Once the UI gets smoothed out, expect to see this one updated in the Market, which will probably be soon.

Joshua Munoz