Sol Computer unveils ruggedized, pricey netbook with Pixel Qi screen

Sol Computer is a small California-based company that offers computers with Pixel Qi sunlight readable displays. The company’s notebooks and tablets are aimed at customers willing to pay a premium price for a screen that’s visible outdoors, including pilots and other professionals that work outdoors.

This week Sol Computer started showing off its latest product — a netbook with a semi-rugged case.

Sol Computer Netbook

The new Sol netbook is based on the Intel Classmate PC design, which means it has a case that’s meant to stand up to tough abuse — at the hands of children. It’s made of thick plastic with rubberized elements and it can withstand a fall from a few feet to the floor.

According to The Digital Reader, Sol Computer will sell a model with a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, and 160GB of storage for about $950.

That’s about twice as much as a typical Classmate PC, but Sol Computer builds a small number of these computers to order by taking existing products and retrofitting them with Pixel Qi displays. That’s not a cheap process.

Sol will also begin selling a 7 inch Windows tablet soon. The company started showing off a prototype at CES in January, but the case design has been refined since then.

The new tablet will be available with a variety of options including 16GB to 64GB of storage, 1GB to 2GB of RAM, GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth. It will have a low power Intel Atom processor, and a 7 inch Pixel Qi screen.

  • toronado455

    I guess OEMs don’t like Pixel Qi enough to offer it as a factory option.

    • Guest

      I wonder why that is. All the promo videos look nice, apparently it was good enough to go into OLPC laptops, but there really aren’t many other devices with it.

      I just want to be able to sit outside in the sun and use a laptop without having to turn the brightness all the way up and squint at the screen…

      • turn_self_off

         Actually the Qi screens are based on screen tech that was developed specifically for the OLPC project. So far i suspect that there is no big name factory backing them with quantity guarantees or something.

      • CyberGusa

         Actually, they got manufacture partners lined up but they don’t have the funds to create stock.  So they have to wait till someone makes a order before they even start making any screens and that can take up till a year from the time of order to fulfill.

        So they need a lot of orders or at least some really big ones before they’ll start building stock and be able to more easily provide the screens to whomever wants them.

      • turn_self_off

        Chickens, eggs and modern economics…

  • Jason

    Are there any ultraportables with a Pixel Qi screen that don’t have an Atom or equivalent CPU?

    • Ebi

       I’d get one if there was one. Well, it has to have an 11.6″ screen and small bezels. Any larger then I’d probably won’t be using it outside.

  • Curtis

    I’d rather buy a $600 Sony VAIO and $350 for a DSLR Camera, thank you very much.