Pixel Qi 7 inch screen

Pixel Qi makes transflective displays that look like full-color LCDs when used with a backlight, but look more like a low power, outdoor readable E Ink when you turn off the backlight on a computer, eReader, or other device. The company has been showing off its technology for a few years, but so far very few consumer devices have actually shipped with Pixel Qi displays, and every now and again I hear someone refer to them as vaporware.

But Pixel Qi founder Mary Lou Jepsen begs to differ. Recently the company received a major investment from 3M, and this week Pixel Qi announced a new partnership with component distributor All American.

Here’s what caught my eye though: Jepsen published a blog post today where she points out that “over 3 million people” are already using Pixel Qi displays. That includes screens that have shipped with OLPC XO Laptops for students in developing nations, military products used by “soldiers jumping out of airplanes,” and tablets and netbooks including the Notion Ink Adam tablet and Clover SunBook.

You may not be able to walk into a store and buy a device with a Pixel Qi display just yet, but the company has sold quite a few screens so far and is in the process of ramping up production of its 10 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel displays as well as new 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel and 10 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel displays soon.

The new 10 inch screen will even be able to display color with the backlight turned off, which is something new for Pixel Qi.

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5 replies on “Pixel Qi: Over 3 million screens in the wild”

  1. Any word on if Pixel Qi will sell DIY kits for the new, higher res ten inchers? I’d like to put one in a netbook.

  2. It comes down to price.  If people do not INSIST on having a sunlight readable screen nobody will just put one in for the hell of it.  The break out product for a Pixel Qi, Qualcomm’s Mirsol, or Samsung’s Liquavista displays will be them appearing on an iPhone or one of the well know Android phones.  Because then people will say, “Oh, I can READ my screen in sunlight…nice…I want that in all my devices!”  

  3. I’m surprised more manufacturers have not looked to their screens as a way to optimize battery life. I don’t know what the cost is for a manufacturer to use a PixelQi screen over the standard shlop, but it would be an incredible bullet point when your device has 12+ hours of runtime just because of the screen drawing less power.

    I dream of a machine that you can use reliably outdoors all day.

    1. It would be an incredible selling point if it could actually give a device 12+ hours of runtime. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen in real world testing. The Adam got only 8.5hrs with the back light completely off. Not to mention the viewing angles were atrocious. I can’t imagine the pricing of these displays are all that competitive right now. Especially considering clover is charging a $250+ premium for their single-core atom based tablet.

      1. Yes, pricing is still not very competitive yet but that can change if they can get a large enough production run and they are getting more investors and manufacturing partners.

        While they’ve improved the screen a bit since the Adam came out and now offer a wider range of screen sizes.  Though there is still plenty of room for further improvement.

        Though traditional screen technology is also improving and can possibly make it harder to adopt Pixel Qi screens. 

        Examples of new enhancements include using ambient light to boost the back lighting and thus reduce the power needed to light a screen, as well as make it easier to see under bright light.  Along with other power saving enhancements.  Reducing the two main reasons to want a Pixel Qi screen.

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