LCD displays are pretty much the de-facto standard for netbooks today, while e-Ink displays dominate the eBook reader space. While LCD screens look great indoors, have fast refresh rates for playing video, and support full color, e-Ink screens use significantly less power, have a high-contrast quality that makes reading text easy, and are easy to read outdoors without a backlight.
There are a few companies working on displays that offer the best features of both display types. Pixel Qi has gotten a lot of attention for its dual-mode LCD screens which offer a high-constrast, nearly black and white view for use in direct sunlight, and a full-color LCD view indoors. But another company called Liquavista is working on its own solution, with the first Liquavista displays due out in 2011.
Liquavista uses a technology called electrowetting, which basically involves using electrical charges to rearrange colored oils. The company’s displays are color screens which can be easily read outdoors without a backlight. Indoors, you switch on the backlight and the screens look more like typical LCD displays.
Eventually Liquavista expects the screens to be used in phones, notebooks, tablets, and possibly even televisions.