3qi-oneYou know those Pixel Qi displays we’ve been talking about for the last few days? It turns out there’s a major advantage to these screens besides the ability to flip over to ePaper mode and read them outdoors. They also use far less energy. According to Time Magazine, that hacked Acer Aspire One netbook that Pixel Qi founder Mary Lou Jepsen is carrying around gets an extra hour of battery life because of the low power screen.

Jepsen says that once someone develops a good eBook reading application, the battery life could be extended to as long as 40 hours, because an optimized eReader would only use the amount of electricity necessary to display the text and images, while shutting down unnecessary processes.

Apparently it costs less than $200 to build the Pixel Qi display right now. While the folks at Time suggest that this is a low price, I’m guessing it’s going to have to come a lot lower before we see this screen show up in low cost mini-laptops. It’s not hard to find a netbook that costs around $200 these days.

Update: The screens will not cost $200. Rather, that’s how much netbooks using the screens could cost.

via Gizmodo

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7 replies on “Pixel Qi display’s impact on battery life”

  1. I shall wait a 7 size screen for low cost netbook running with AA cells.

  2. $200 is a lot more than the same type of screen cost on the OLPC XO Laptop…

  3. If you take the time to educate yourself about the goals of the OLPC team, where you had to build a netbook that would be able to run where there was NO ELECTRICITY AT ALL and they had to generate it maybe with a hand crank to power the system, then you start to understand where this is all headed. When you check out the specs of the OLPC XO-1 it had several key power saving features: First – the motherboard shut down when the CPU was not needed to be used, Second – the Mesh Networking also shut down (saving power), Third- the screen had it’s power saving features too, Lastly, the system was not over powered, and was built lean and mean, low power wise with just enough system strength JUST to get job done (vs the over powering that is done with modern notebooks and desktops).

    If you check out all the Mary Lou Jepsen video interviews at Big Think – you will get a picture that by just changing the screen, that you do not gain a huge advantage battery wise, you have to change the whole system, and your philosophy of system design too.
    see: https://bigthink.com/maryloujepsen
    The full list of videos is here:
    https://bigthink.com/maryloujepsen/ideas

    These videos show the most evolutionary thought in computer in 20 years.
    Pixel Qi screens is just one step in the right direction.

    1. I wonder what was the battery life on this Acer model originally; looks to be 3cell, so around 3h. Quite a nice improvement already.

      Also, about errors in the summary…

      Yeah, those screens are an evolution of OLPC XO-1 screen and are meant also for the XO-2…meaning they are marginally more expensive than normal LCDs.

      And this:
      “Jepsen says that once someone develops a good eBook reading application, the battery life could be extended to as long as 40 hours, because an optimized eReader would basically tell the display to go to sleep in between page loads. Any text or images already on the screen would continue to be displayed until the screen powers back up to flip pages again. This is basically how the display on eBook readers like the Amazon Kindle work.”
      is completelly backwards. She doesn’t talk about the screen going to sleep (it’s LCD, it needs to be activelly sustained…), but about the rest of the device sleeping when the screen displays static image. Kinda like OLPC XO-1 does/will do fully once the software gets in shape…

  4. It costs so much because they ordered a very very small batch. I’m sure the price will go down pretty darned quickly. I think I read that her target was $25/screen.

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