Pixel Qi’s LCD netbook display rivals e-paper

March 14, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Pixel QiPixel Qi has said it will ship a screen that combines the benefits of HDTV and epaper for 10-inch netbooks, according to an announcement at the Emerging Technology conference in San Jose. The Pixel Qi 3Qi display has an ‘HDTV mode’ with normal colour saturation for watching video as well as an e-paper mode with three times normal resolution, five times better battery life and reflectivity rivalling the electrophoretic imaging technology used by E-Ink. The price is also expected to be the same price as a normal LCD screen.

Some of the battery savings come by turning the backlight “practically off”. Pixel Qi’s Mary Lou Jepsen said, “You’re spending a lot of effort to update over a million pixels 60 times a second; why not just self-refresh the screen? If no pixels are changing, why is the screen on, why is the motherboard on, why is the fan on? Why not just turn it off until a packet comes over the Internet or there’s a keyboard event?.”

With all these netbooks, these small inexpensive laptops, the idea is who cares what CPU is inside it? Do we need a gazillion gigahertz or a machine that’s low cost with batteries that last a long time?” It seems that laptop manufacturers agree, “every time I meet with a CEO of a big laptop company, they tell me they studied my design.” Last autumn, one of them told her “the CPU wars are over; nobody cares. It’s the screen wars now“.

What you have in your laptop right now or in your phone is a small HDTV; but reading is not the same as watching. Why not be able to read it outside? Why not go for higher resolutions? The number one reason people like to read on paper is resolution. You also want a paper-white state, not to be staring into a torch because you have a backlight on full blast.”

According to Pixel Qi’s official blog, they will be sampling their 10-inch screens this Spring and plan for “high volume mass production this summer”. We very much look forward to seeing the end product.


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