pixel-qi-logoPixel Qi is working on new screens for laptop and mobile devices that are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. They’ll consume as much as 5 times less power than an average LCD, which will greatly improve battery life. But more significantly, they’ll have two modes: a black and white epaper mode and a fully saturated color mode.

In epaper mode, the screens will be easy to read outside, will support resolutions 3 times higher than the color HDTV mode, and unlike epaper displays like the one found on the Amazon Kindle, Pixel Qi’s technology will allow for video-rate refreshing. In other words, you won’t have to wait a second or two for pages to refresh when flipping through the pages of a virtual book or web site.

The first screens using this technology will be 10 inch displays for mini-laptops. The goal is to ship samples to manufacturers in the spring and to begin mass production this summer. Pixel Qi’s Mary Lou Jepsen was one of the key people behind development of the OLPC XO Laptop, and it’s likely that the technology will be used in future versions of the XO Laptop. But a low cost, low power, high resolution display should also turn the heads of executives at companies working on consumer-oriented netbooks as well. Hopefully we’ll see these screens appearing in machines from Asus, Acer, HP, Dell, and Lenovo by the end of the year.

thanks Pixel Qi fan!

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9 replies on “Pixel Qi to sample first low power, daylight readable screens this spring”

  1. I think of the social engineering aspects that she ( Mary Lou Jepsen ) is suggesting,and I get the same feeling as when I first heard Martin Luther’s ” I have a dream speech “.This may be the first “viral meme” on the ‘Net that I WANT to see succeed.
    I’m going to buy one of the little buggers if that’s the only way I can buy into the dream…….

  2. Not to pour cold water on anyones party, but I will hold judgement until I see it for myself or read several impartial reviews. There is a lot of vaporware announced on a regular basis. Here’s hoping though.

    1. I agree totally with this comment. However, there is hope.

      As, there is a history to build on with Mary Lou as the former CTO of Intel’s display division ( and as CTO of the OLPC start up project, where she convinced some players in ASIA to take a chance on CHANGE… and with the OLPC XO-1 there were some very impressive energy savings tech results (iron clad results) that were BORN from that project).

      IF, and I agree that it is still the UNKNOWN an UNTESTED big IF (as we don’t have a product in hand to look at)… Well, that IF, is this… can the several watts of power used by the OLPC XO-1 (vs what the commecial netbook uses today) be advanced to the commercial market (along with any improvement of graphics that Pixel Qi is involved with now, and piggybacks on the research of the OLPC XO-1 where in the lab they might have had other ideas, but the goal was to deliver a unit by a certain date… and they did, and so might not have done all that they might have wanted to do).

      The Pixel Qi site says that the power savings over LCD are ONLY one factor, as the OEM manufacturer of the device has to do other things to save power to get to the full 5 fold battery use goal, as well. WE DO KNOW that the OLPC XO-1 project did a better job on power savings, vs what the commercial netbook manufacturer’s (including Intel’s competition to OLPC) DID NOT DO.
      We can list what OLPC XO-1 did that ASUS, Intel, ACER, DELL, MSI, HP, SONY, etc… did not do here:

      – dual mode screen (outdoor readable mode saved energy)
      – turn off the motherboard/processor when it was not needed (huge)
      – mesh networking where the “RADIO” turned off when it was not being used too (VERY VERY BIG saver of power).
      – etc
      AND OLPC XO-1 used a battery that had 2000 charges per lifetime (5 years) vs Lithium Ion with only 500 charges per lifetime (1 year). $10 user replaceable battery… and one that could be re-processed at the end of life into fertiizer.

      So – with those apples in the barrel, then tweeking this and that, and bringing it all to a commercial netbook, will it only makes dollars and cents (sense) to do it as even twice the power savings over the current netbook battery power usage (a big MESS as portable does not mean 2-3 hours or a 6 or 9 cell battery) is what we all would accept!

      Any day of the week a even a 12 hour (all working day or airplane flight) 3 cell netbook battery would be huge.

      I would say it is pretty bold to come out with 5 fold increase in battery use time (what is 5 fold equal, maybe 15 to 20 hours MAYBE???) as a constant theme on the Pixel Qi web page! If it is in reality only 4 fold, or 3 fold, well that still will be big NEWS. And 3 fold would be, for a 3 cell battery, I am guessing that even 3 fold could be 12 hours of use per battery charge (no sweat).

  3. On a completely different note, am I the only person to have looked at their dual language logo and thought that it looked like something out of Firefly/Serenity?

    1. The Pixel Qi logo is the Chinese character for Qi, a term that refers to all types of energy.

  4. Oh, god, I so hope that this works out, not only as a user but as a publisher and as somebody very concerned about the cost of education. Funny though, given the history of computer-related inventions and of every frickin’ thing related to OLPC, I’m actually hoping that they continue keeping a very low profile in deed until the very day that the assembly line is up and tested and the first products are on the shelves and ready to buy.

    1. There is one reason why this will all work out… A woman of highest and most noble class (of her degree in a field, she is the one reason for much of what we think of in mobile computing these days). I am pleased to introduce you, by video below, to the one and only…

      Mary Lou Jepsen
      Mary Lou Jepsen is a technological fiend trained in computer design and focused on social change. She was the founding chief technology officer of One Laptop Per Child, a group dedicated to providing affordable laptops to every child in the world. After leaving the nonprofit organization, she began the for-profit company Pixel Qi to work on developing screens for a world moving further and further away from the model of the central processing unit. In 2008, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Born in 1965, Jepsen received a B.A. in studio arts from Brown University and an M.S. in computer science from MIT.

      To see the plot, the entire story told by the author of this conspiracy of educating the masses of the world, and making us all happy while mobile (to say little about what this low power direction will do to help save the environment)… View these videos here:

      Big Think Videos featuring Mary Lou Jepsen here:
      1. One Laptop per Child
      2. Democratizing the Computer
      3. Wasting the Children of the World
      4. The Global Implications of One Laptop per Child
      5. Reshaping the Laptop Market
      6. The Environmental Implications of One Laptop per Child
      7. The Future of Computer Design

      ***The sum of those parts will indeed leave the picture clear as to what is in the amazing mind of Mary Lou Jepsen. May her dreams govern the future of all our future computing days.

      1. Note that Big Think has bumped the videos from their site (get to a report a bad link page). So, if you do check these out, and get the 404, then please drop them a note to put the videos back up, or fix the link to them. Thanks.

        However, the press page has other videos, but none were as good as the big think ones were to be able to see where the mind of Mary Lou Jepsen is heading.

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