Sol netbook

There’s good news and bad news for anyone that’s been waiting to get their hands on a mobile device with a Pixel Qi display. The good news is that there’s another company offering mobile devices with Pixel Qi screens. The bad news is that they’re really quite expensive.

Pixel Qi is a company that makes dual-mode LCD displays. When used with a backlight, the displays are full color screens that look a lot like any other LCD found in a laptop, tablet, or digital photo frame. What makes these screens different though is that you can turn off the backlight and use them with ambient lighting including room lights or even direct sunlight. In this mode the displays look more like black and white screens, but they use significantly less power, which can lead to longer battery life.

San Diego-based Sol Computer has introduced two new products with Pixel Qi transflective display: A Windows 7 netbook and a Windows 7 tablet.

The problem is that Pixel Qi screens are still rather expensive because the company doesn’t make that many screens and the small companies that have produced products that use them haven’t placed very large orders. That’s why the first netbook I’ve seen that comes with a Pixel Qi display costs $795, and it’s likely why the Sol netbook costs almost as much.

The Sol Netbook costs $749, making it more than twice as expensive as most other netbooks. Aside from the screen, the netbook has pretty standard specs, including a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N455 processor, 250GB hard drive, Windows 7 Starter Edition, and a 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display. It weighs 2.7 pounds and has a 6 cell, 4400mAh battery.

Sol is selling the netbook with 2GB of RAM, which I’m pretty sure violates the licensing terms for Windows 7 Starter (you can upgrade the RAM yourself, but typically PC sellers can’t install more than 1GB). It looks like Sol is simply taking an off-the-shelf netbook, refitting it with a Pixel Qi display, upgrading the RAM, and selling the finished product to consumers. In fact, you can pretty clearly see the Samsung logo in the company’s photos of the mini-laptop.

The tablet is even more expensive, starting at $1099. This device also features a 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N455 processor and Windows 7 operating system. It has 1GB of RAM, between 8GB and 32GB of storage thanks to a solid state disk, and a 10.1 inch display. The tablet has a G-sensor for detecting screen orientation changes and weighs about 2 pounds with a 3 cell, 3100mAh battery.

via The Digital Reader

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8 replies on “Sol Computer launches sunlight readable netbook, tablet with Pixel Qi screen”

  1. Wow, not just vaporware but _overpriced_ vaporware now.  Hopefully, 3M’s investment in Pixel Qi will turn into a buyout and 3M will have better luck getting the panels into production and into products.

  2. Pixel Qi’s only hope for life would be for the company to be bought by a major screen manufacturer and then quietly disbanded.

    Aren’t there sunlight readable smartphones on the market already that don’t come close to using this vaporware technology?  Awesome screens that use less power, etc.?

    Pixel Qi should sell their design if there are willing buyers. 

    Brad’s not going to switch away from reading on his Ipod touch any time soon.  He’s an Apple fan.  Pixel Qi should throw in the towel.

  3. Rip off, hopefully the ZTE Light will be a sensible price. Aren’t Pixel Qi screens meant to be cheaper to manufacture?

  4. And why, oh why in the wide wide world ‘o sports did they put one of these sweet displays on a power sucking x86 tablet?  Kinda defeats the purpose doesn’t it?

    1. You’re either kidding or confused, so I’ll pretend like you were kidding.

      There’s a reason why embedded hardware slates running garbage operating systems like Android and iOS don’t get treated with higher quality screens.  Meanwhile, “power sucking x86 tablets” like the Motion Computing J3500 have featured high quality outdoor and sunlight viewable screens for years.  Mine ran for over 24 hours on batteries.  What exactly is the purpose that I was defeating, besides using a toy slate for time wasting, attention distracting, socially issolating detours?

  5. Those are ridiculously lofty premiums for that screen considering the hardware inside both of those devices is outdated and inadequate. Tablets and netbooks with comparable specs both sell for less than half of what they’re charging. It also sounds like this is the same old screen that was in the notion ink; the one that never lived up to its hype.

  6. ZTE 7″ Light 2 Android Tablet with Pixel Qi should be out soon.  They have some YouTube videos that look to be produced by ZTE. 
    Sample video (less than one month old):

    ZTE Light- Make It Possible

     Any news on this, availability, pricing?   And will it have a WiFi only option (or do you thing that they will be only available with a Data Plan via Cell phone company)?Regarding Pixel Qi — it’s too bad that they don’t have 1280×800 7 inch screen (as some of my apps need 1024×768).   The 1024×600 required more scrolling, as with 1280×800, even if smaller, you can quickly zoom it bigger if you need to. 

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