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Pixel Qi Screens are for Laptops and Tablets, Not Just OLPC (Video)

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the tablet-screens-that-won't-make-you-squint-in-sunlight dept.

Displays 82

While at CES, Timothy Lord talked with Pixel Qi Chief Operating Officer John Ryan about how the company, which was originally founded to make screens for the One Laptop Per Child project, is now moving into the commercial market for laptop and tablet screens. Pixel Qi screens are not only inexpensive to make, but are easier to read in sunlight than standard LCDs -- and use less power, too. What they're doing now, says Timothy in the video, is "pretty cool," so check it out.

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More Slashdot Videos!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38717144)

More!

Re:More Slashdot Videos!! (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718204)

Well, it isn't the usual techy website video with logos that "slam" onto the image whilst burning, etc, I guess.

But, what early 80s voice synth did they dig up there?

Timothy Lord (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717180)

Was he the only journalist at CES? I never heard that name before last week.

The only one from slashdot. (5, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717236)

Timothy Lord is this timothy [slashdot.org] , who has been working at slashdot pretty much since it was formed.

Re:The only one from slashdot. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717520)

No kidding. First time I've heard his full name. Hi Timothy.

Re:The only one from slashdot. (2)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718320)

So weird seeing an editor. For a while I thought that only CmdrTaco was a living human, and the rest were AI's modeled after hyperactive drunks.
This guy actually accepted some of my submissions. Frickin' twilight zone...

Re:The only one from slashdot. (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719256)

For a while I thought that only CmdrTaco was a living human, and the rest were AI's modeled after hyperactive drunks.

No, the Editors are hyperactive drunks that modeled their lives after AI, the movie. Which explains all the Haley Joel Osment references around here.

Do they have stylus/touch capability? (4, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717192)

The "Alan Kay" Dynabook I keep talking about doesn't really need colour for it's most important function -- replacing a notepad. If the Pixel Qi screens have a high resolution stylus/touch capability, they might be ideal for such a device.

i.e. The Dynabook was conceived to be a useful, utilitarian device, not a video or game playing machine.

Re:Do they have stylus/touch capability? (4, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717352)

Agreed. Asus was getting really close to what I wanted in a tablet when they released the Eee Note [asus.com] . Then the iPad came out and killed any consumer interest in any other niche products.

Re:Do they have stylus/touch capability? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717664)

Thanks for the info!
That is an awesome device, IMHO...just what I was looking for when I settled for my Augen 'The Book'. (which I really like, but would really like the 'notepad with stylus' mode the Note has, and it runs on Linux!)

I will have to try and find a Note of my own now. :-)

Something like the Note is what I have really wanted for about 10-12 years now.
There have been a few devices that tried, but never combined all of what I wanted in one device that I could afford, until now.

Re:Do they have stylus/touch capability? (2)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718270)

They can be hard to find as they were never released in North America, and only sparsely distributed in Europe. The initial reviews also complained about some lack of polish in the included software; things that most eBook readers have nailed by now. For example the device is too small to read most A4/letter size PDFs a full page at a time, and the software doesn't support rotating the document to view it full width, so you have to constantly scroll both side-to-side and up and down when zoomed in on the PDF.

But the responsiveness of the stylus is supposed to be excellent. They have even lower lag than even expensive Wacom Cintiq displays or Windows tablets, which themselves have far, far lower lag than Android or iOS.

Re:Do they have stylus/touch capability? (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722546)

Asus is currently the most adventurous/innovative tablet manufacturer. The eeePad Memo has essentially the same form factor as the Eee Note.

Re:Do they have stylus/touch capability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38717434)

From a quick glance at the Qi forums (I was curious before anyone started posting here), they are working on a touchscreen model. I don't know any details about which style of touchscreen, and I also have no reference for giving you an ETA.

Re:Do they have stylus/touch capability? (2)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718438)

The screens themselves can probably be paired with any touchscreen and controller. See the Notion Ink Adam for an example of a capacitive touchscreen matched with the Pixel Qi.

Re: the Dynabook, purely utilitarian devices will not sell ... as someone once put it, the more game-like a product is, the more people will want it. (Paraphrasing, sorry). Relevantly, this was in reference to the introduction of color computer monitors in the '80s. Likewise, a Dynabook-like tablet will only be successful if it at least feels like a game, which means a color display.

Re:Do they have stylus/touch capability? (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722316)

Do you think Blackberries still sell because of their "hot games"?

Re:Do they have stylus/touch capability? (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38728870)

Just to be clear: my point wasn't concerning the availability of games or the ability to play games on the device. My point was more on the "feel" of the device.

If you were to put a simple B&W, text-only display on a modern blackberry ... no, they won't sell well, even if 100% of their functionality is still there.

That said, I was probably a bit too absolute in my original post, and blackberries are an example of that -- instead of creating a "game-like" device, RIM was a business tool that many professionals found to be invaluable. Still is, for that matter.

What am I missing? (5, Insightful)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717216)

These displays sound great - lower power, better color, sunlight viewability... but the British stiff they interviewed said that they haven't been able to get them into mainstream portable devices. Why? What are the drawbacks?

Re:What am I missing? (1)

Ender_Stonebender (60900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717252)

I wonder that, too. Seems like they'd be perfect for things that regularly get used outdoors in bright sunlight - like cell phones. Last I look, Pixel Qi wasn't offering a screen that was suitable for use in cell phone.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

lolcutusofbong (2041610) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720914)

Well, Pixel Qi screens are a) LCDs instead of ((S)AM)OLED, so when they need backlight, they suck power, and b) they have about half the DPI of most modern smartphones. I personally think we'll see them more at the low end of the phone spectrum. IIRC, there's already a dumbphone that uses e-ink for a screen, so Pixel Qi would be a step up from that.

Re:What am I missing? (2)

Elgonn (921934) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717264)

Price and supply. They're really just not available cheaply and in large quantities.

Re:What am I missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38717380)

What about the "inexpensive to make" claim in the original posting? Or is that relative to 55-inch 3D OLED screens? ;-}

RO

Re:What am I missing? (1)

theweakend (2554288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717522)

It's based off tft tech so it should cheap

Re:What am I missing? (1, Troll)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717362)

They look like crap. Google the Notion Ink Adam.

Re:What am I missing? (4, Informative)

theweakend (2554288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717578)

Keep in mind that was an early version, the viewing angels are really what made it look so bad and besides the notion ink really was a medicore device but it is settled get ics.

Re:What am I missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38722450)

The (viewing) devils are in the details.

Re:What am I missing? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38718054)

I don't need to Google the Notion Ink Adam; I have one. The screen is not nearly as bad as the Google would lead one to believe and is fantastic if you use it outside. (The software is by far the biggest failing of the Adam; the screen is the only thing that makes it worth having.)

Re:What am I missing? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721914)

The screen isn't bad per se, but the full color mode looks significantly worse than the average LCD. Inaccurate colors, horrible viewing angles from two sides (but fine from the others)... just not a very nice experience if you're used to regular screens.

The outdoor viewable mode might make that trade-off acceptable for you, but that doesn't make the full color mode's picture quality any better.

Re:What am I missing? (2, Informative)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718056)

Dear troll, you are entitled to your opinion. As I have one XO, I know how great these screens are (it is my opinion). It is also my opinion that you could have said 'X is much better than Y', instead of 'X is crap'. Therefore, my final opinion is (with all due respect) that you are a cunt and you should go fuck yourself.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721946)

Dear guy who likes to swear and insult people,

I've held an Adam in my hands and played with it - because I was planning on buying one for the oh so fantastic pixel Qi screen... and the sunlight-readable mode is great, really. But as soon as I switched to full-color mode, I knew it wasn't for me - washed out colors, extermely narrow viewing angles from two sides (and barely so-so on the others), low contrast... it just isn't a good display.

Yes, sunlight-readable displays are awesome. But until the full-color backlit mode looks halfway decent, they're not going anywhere. And the thread-starter's claims of "BETTER color" are just plain wrong...

Have a nice day, and don't get yourself all worked up about your toys.

Re:What am I missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38722108)

I would like have a such screen on my camera. I see nothing on the screen outside, really nothing.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722874)

My point was that you didn't have to say it looked like crap. It's like saying "This Ferrari looks like crap. Google for Dodge Viper".
It is a great technology, it only has its drawbacks. I apologize for insulting you.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722992)

You're right. "They look like crap" was just easier to type out on my smartphone than "The subpar viewing angles and washed out colors in full color mode make it a pain to use for anything other than reading high-contrast text"... you're right though, next time I'll be more precise and choose my words more carefully :)

I hope you're right in that the technology behind Pixel Qi is getting better and better, but the version in the Adam was pretty horrible for full-color use - so much so that it was a deal-breaker for me, and I would LOVE a decent non-backlit sunlight-readable tablet display. Unfortunately, in my case, that made the disappointment that was the NI Adam all the worse :(

I'm still waiting on a 12.1" drop-in replacement version for my Thinkpad... with better color reproduction and viewing angles, of course ;)

Re:What am I missing? (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723362)

You are quite the ignorant fuckwit. They do look like crap, you have no idea what you're talking about. Most likely don't have the device either.

Moron.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38718142)

It looks great on my old OLPC-1! Color inside is bright, and the monochrome aspect was great for reading at the beach (just the unit was a bit too heavy to hold for long).

Maybe Notion Ink cut corners that OLPC did not?

RO

Re:What am I missing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38719098)

They look like crap. Google the Notion Ink Adam.

Yeah, I call troll too. The screen on my XO is the best black and white LCD display I have ever seen on any device, ever.

Re:What am I missing? (4, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717394)

It's only lower power if you don't utilize the backlight, and thereby also lose color.

The color display suffers from just as much contrast problems in sunlight as regular LCD monitors do.

There are other more promising (IMO) color displays on the horizon that offer high refresh rates, full color, and utilize a passive display that draws *NO* power whenever it is showing a static image.

Re:What am I missing? (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717500)

Care to share these "products on the horizon"?

Re:What am I missing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38717720)

I think he means those color e-ink displays that some Japanese (I think) team managed to get to 30 fps.
There was a /. article about them, but I can't find it anymore.
Of course they are far from production ready.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

jijacob (943393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717836)

And they are "color". Hardly the saturation we are used to, and really only good if the other alternative is black and white.

Re:What am I missing? (3, Interesting)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717938)

http://www.mirasoldisplays.com/ [mirasoldisplays.com] from qualcomm is just one example

Re:What am I missing? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719338)

It would be more impressive if their demo videos were of real products and not Adobe After Effects. The actual videos of real hardware look like they still have a lot of work to do with colour reproduction and refresh rates. The marketing on their website of microsecond pixel updates, video capable refresh rates and "Naturally Brilliant Color" is contradicted by the KYOBO eReader

Re:What am I missing? (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720126)

I only saw the B&W version and it was damn fast however the color one might have some power hungry mathemagic behind it...

Re:What am I missing? (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718558)

Electrofluidic displays, but they are probably beyond the horizon.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

theweakend (2554288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717950)

I believe this is what he's talking about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDoVzKd9H4U [youtube.com] this still has years until it's out, if ever pixel QI is ready now.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

theweakend (2554288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718030)

I stand corrected I haven't looked at their site in a long time it looks very promising.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718282)

considering I have been waiting for mainstream pixelqi screens for 4 years now (slashdot has articles back to 2008 on Pixel Qi)

I would say they have found some serious limitations that stop customers cold

Re:What am I missing? (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721020)

Seriously, Pixel Qi (and Mirasol) has been "an almost ready LCD killer" for ages now.

Granted, this is not unusal for new technologies—a real product is a lot harder than an imagined extension of a lab experiment—but given that really all anybody has seen is essentially marketing material, it's probably not wise to bet a lot of money on any of these techs. Some promising new technologies eventually change the world—but many more fade away unnoticed.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718088)

There are other more promising (IMO) color displays on the horizon that offer high refresh rates, full color, and utilize a passive display that draws *NO* power whenever it is showing a static image.

The only display I'm aware of that fits that description is Mirasol and refresh rates are high by comparison to e-ink but not to LCD. It's very easy to see the screen tear to shit through the various YouTube clips of it running. And that's not an artifact of YouTube since it's even visible on the Kyobo devices which appear to refresh from left to right instead of top to bottom. That said, for the purpose its intended for, a little tearing is still a radical improvement on glacial greyscale e-ink and it's perfectly adequate for light tablet use like browsing and so on. Give it a generation or two and maybe the refresh issues will be resolved satisfactorily that we see general purpose tablets using it.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718644)

Yeah, the refresh rate of the Mirasol still limits it to the ebook reader market. Current-generation is 15 fps, which is much better than current e-ink, but still not sufficient for general purpose use. I believe that a 30 fps version has been demonstrated, so the next generation devices might have a wider market. 60+ fps is probably only theoretically possible, at the moment.

Re:What am I missing? (3, Informative)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717402)

If they still operate like the one in my OLPC computer (I can't view the link at work), you disable color to make the screen daylight viewable. while annoying to some people, I think it's a fair tradeoff , and it works remarkably well.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719340)

If they still operate like the one in my OLPC computer (I can't view the link at work), you disable color to make the screen daylight viewable. while annoying to some people, I think it's a fair tradeoff , and it works remarkably well.

While a fair tradeoff, it does require that the UI not look like shit when color is missing. Is that something that's true of all Android UIs including apps? How about (likely worse) Windows?

OLPC, somewhat like Apple, can get away with it because the UI is likely optimized for the hardware. PixelQI is not something you can just slap into a device by replacing the LCD. It gets even worse for OSs with large 3rd party software stores - it would be a large undertaking if, for example, Apple created a new iPad/iPhone with this tech. It would a much bigger undertaking for your Acer/HTC/Samsung to do this without extensive OS support and ability to set distribution compliance standards... Google would need to step up and own this... perhaps Googlerola could drive it forward.

Re:What am I missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720018)

Huh? You can in fact simply replace the LCD panel in a number of devices. The resolution is the same and there are a good number of netbooks for which you can purchase Pixel Qi screens.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717428)

It's possible that they are non-consumer because they can't be produced at the same volume as demanded by a consumer-space product, so a production speed or cost issue. Perhaps they are technologically inferior to a typical phone screen in terms of fill rate and response times relative to their cost (i.e. not worth getting something like that for its cost compared to a samsung screen). They may be excellent screens for what they are designed for, but may not have so much of a product market here, where battery life gains are less critical and utility/features/coolness beats readability for average joe.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717628)

If it's cheap TFT displays, expect low resolution - 640x480 max?

Re:What am I missing? (4, Informative)

theweakend (2554288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717806)

"This module supports 1024 x RGB x 600 Wide-SVGA (WSVGA) mode and can display 262,144 colors. This module also supports two low power modes: a transflective mode with lower color and a reflective black and white (64 grayscales) mode." According to the spec sheet at http://www.makershed.com/Pixel_Qi_display_p/mkpq01.htm [makershed.com]

Re:What am I missing? (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722346)

Heck, that's rather expensive. I have an N130, so I could conceivably buy this, but it is more than I paid for the whole machine.

Mediocre Color (4, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717742)

These displays sound great - lower power, better color, sunlight viewability... but the British stiff they interviewed said that they haven't been able to get them into mainstream portable devices. Why? What are the drawbacks?

They don't have better color than a standard LCD or AMOLED. The original PixelQi displays have significantly worse saturation. In my mind this makes well suited for devices such as eBook readers whose primary use is reflective greyscale mode, but can also display color as well. Marketing departments however think that anything with a color display will automatically be compared to the iPad, and they are probably right.

Re:Mediocre Color (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718570)

I think the Kindle Fire would have been a prime candidate for the Pixel Qi, except for the $200 price point. People were already comparing it to the iPad, so what difference would it make? It might have even helped on the comparison, to solidify the Fire as an e-book reader. But I don't think there's any way they would be selling it for $200, even if they expect the hardware to be a loss leader.

Oh well ... maybe the Fire 2 will have a Mirasol or Pixel Qi display.

Re:Mediocre Color (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38722590)

A Kindle Fire with a Pixel Qi display is called a "Hanvon C18 E-reader".

http://www.mirasoldisplays.com/hanvon

Re:What am I missing? (3, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718014)

The "problem" is that there is a particular trend at this moment, and Pixel Qi does not fit in that trend. The trend being ultra high DPI, colorful, high-contrast displays. You've got devices like the iPhone and iPad sporting "retina" displays, which being something Apple has touted, is very much in the mind of consumers. Then you've got devices like Samsung's Android phones, with gorgeous colors and insane contrast ratios due to OLED technology. What stole the show at CES? Samsung's ultra thin, bezel-less OLED TVs. Consumers are interested in HD and picture quality, because that is what the industry has brought to everyone's attention (and rightfully so - I'm glad people are taking a little more notice over quality these days. I remember the days when most people couldn't be bothered to adjust the color / hue settings on their tube TVs to something even close to reality.)

Pixel Qi display technology offers more flexibility and versatility, but it is a step backwards in clarity, refresh rate, contrast ratios, etc. So OEMs are probably afraid to include technology that looks substandard under typical day-to-day use, although it is far more useful under other conditions like direct sunlight.

I think one of three things will have to happen for Pixel Qi to find more widespread usage. 1) Increase their visual quality of their display under non-reflective mode to be in the ballpark of your typical modern LCD panels. 2) Wait until the hype dies down over retina displays, OLED, etc, which may take a year or two. 3) Make inroads into non-consumer devices, such as military equipment, industries like the telephone company where field techs use ruggedized laptops and other instruments with displays that need to be viewable under direct sunlight, displays in cars, wristwatches, etc.

Re:What am I missing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721950)

I find it interesting that you think that Samsung's hideously over-saturated, red-shifted OLED colours are "gorgeous" but complain about people who didn't alter the colour-hue settings on their TVs...

Re:What am I missing? (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722396)

> 1) Increase their visual quality of their display under non-reflective mode to be in the ballpark of your typical modern LCD panels.

I am not sure they can - the technology seems to be a trade-off between colour quality and day light visibility. Basically the display is "two in one", and each of the two functions is fighting for space.

> 2) Wait until the hype dies down over retina displays, OLED, etc, which may take a year or two.

Good luck. Traditionally display resolution knows only one direction: up. Remember the days when "character block graphics" were common place? That gives you 80x48 pixel, and still it was considered graphics. I see no way that I am going back to a lower resolution display after having 800x480 on my cheap android phone.

> 3) Make inroads into non-consumer devices, such as military equipment,

Now that is an idea, but do they have the durability for industrial applications? It is a tough market to get into.

Re:What am I missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726550)

> I'm glad people are taking a little more notice
> over quality these days.
>
> I remember the days when most people couldn't
> be bothered to adjust the color / hue settings on
> their tube TVs to something even close to reality.

People still can't be bothered for picture quality. Only the default color settings are better today.

For proof, look at pixel aspect ratio. I often see 4:3 stretched to 16:9, which is horrible. I also see the opposite, especially when a TV station incorrectly tags the stream. There's also originally widescreen material broadcasted as 4:3 letterbox, but the consumer TV squeezes it to 16:9 (leaving the black borders intact). News, home video shows, and similar programmes which combine short snippets from various sources into one broadcast format, often stretch as desired (but not as appropriate from a quality point of view). Sometimes the material goes through mutliple incorrect transforms.

And then there is the "optimized" (headache) experience offered on many TVs, which squishes everything that gets near the screen borders..

So far I've not seen anybody adjusting to match the original experience. Not even when they are going to sit though a 100 min movie . People just let their TV in whatever mode it came with (except when it came with "force 4:3"). Most are just "stretch to 16:9" or "optimized".

TV stations don't help either. They often tag their streams incorrectly, causing the automatic modes to fail too.

Eventually the legacy content (4:3 and already converted letterbox) will loose economic importance and the problem will "go away". Just like the color problem..

And that is just TV related. Don't get me started on computer desktops or photo slideshows..

Re:What am I missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38718250)

I bought my tablet with the Pixel Qi option, but I paid over $100 more than if I had taken the LCD option.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

joh (27088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718530)

What are the drawbacks?

Poor colors, poor contrast, poor viewing angles in normal (color) mode.

Basically it has one tiny advantage (readable in bright light) that you have to buy with having what for all intents and purposes is a piss-poor LCD everywhere else. And most people use their devices indoor anyway where Pixel Qi displays look like a cheap LCD from five years ago. And the mainstream vendors know this very well.

Pixel Qi is not a miracle display technology. It has its uses in certain cases but it's not just better overall as some people seem to think.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

GSloop (165220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718962)

Basically it has one tiny advantage...
actually being able to _use_ your device in some setting where ambient light is better than minimal.

FTFY.

All kidding aside, I don't consider being able to use my device in high ambient light conditions "one tiny advantage."

I consider that to be a very large portion of available use that simply isn't possible.

At the current time, since nearly no-one has actually been able to use a tablet at the beach, or at the park etc, it SEEMS like a tiny advantage. Just like how a tablet didn't seem that impressive BEFORE the iPad came out.

But once people got a taste of a good tablet and saw the possibilities, that "tiny advantage" turned out to be a lot bigger than anyone thought. I think a reasonable decent reflective screen will have similar impact.

IMO, PixelQi [or related], screens that actually allow people to use devices outside are a HUGE deal, and eventually they will catch on. I can't speak for everyone, but for myself, I'm glad to give up a LOT of perfect color saturation, glitz and related for outside use.

Sure, I'd love my pictures to look fabulous, but I'd rather be able to use my device where I want. If I were to give up something, it would be something other than reflective mode.

I'd buy a decent quality PixelQi display on a decent tablet today if it were available. ...and Notion Ink wasn't there, IMO. Perhaps 2nd gen, or a major vendor here would step in and improve things.

-Greg

Re:What am I missing? (1)

joh (27088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719170)

I don't consider being able to use my device in high ambient light conditions "one tiny advantage."

Maybe, but you're a rather small market ;-)

Really, how often is the average user unable to use his tablet or smartphone due to the light being too bright? Don't forget that displays have become brighter and brighter in the last years. And what amount of poor colors, contrast and viewing angles do you think would he accept to have this fixed? I tell you what: He wouldn't be willing to give up *any* of this. He would gladly buy something that has no disadvantages and the additional advantage to be usable in bright sunlight, yes.

Modern LCD/LED displays are bad in very bright light (like direct sunlight) and very good everywhere else. Pixel Qi displays are Ok in bright light (they still have poor contrast and no color then, they look more like dark grey on silver) and bad everywhere else. Thinking that the mass market would prefer the latter is just not realistic.

I'm not saying that you're wrong or that it wouldn't be great to have the option to order a tablet or laptop with a Pixel Qi display. I just mean to say that there are reasons for the mainstream not embracing these displays.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721108)

Modern LCD/LED displays are bad in very bright light (like direct sunlight) and very good everywhere else.

Direct sunlight is unnecessary, in my experience. My laptop is almost unusable outdoors on a mostly cloudy day even when in the shade on my deck at the north side of my house.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

GSloop (165220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725150)

I agree with the other poster here:
You vastly inflate the ability of the LCD to handle high ambient light conditions, and vastly deflate the capability and functionality of the PQ screens. Perhaps you do that innocently, but it's hard to grant you credibility when your descriptions are so one-sided.

I have a hard time reading my OLED phone screen in the *car* when it's at all bright out. That's far from full sun.

When really outside, on a moderately bright day? Forget using the phone except in the most rudimentary way - or by shading and tilting the phone until you find just the right combination of low-glare and enough brightness to handle things. Even then, it's barely more than enough to make a call. You certainly wouldn't be using the device with ANY ease for more than 2-3 minutes. You'd shortly find another way to accomplish the task some other way - unless the pain of finding another way was really very high.

I've seen the PQ screens in full light, and it's not "dark gray on silver." It's probably not as good as a Kindle screen, but it's easily readable. [I'm glad to admit that there's little color content, but I don't consider that a huge issue - given the trade-off, namely, either be able to use the device or not.]

Again, I think if people were offered an option for this, I suspect you'd see very significant uptake. But that's hard to prove or even really know until it happens.

Time will tell I think.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

emblemparade (774653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721516)

Pixel Qi does both "eInk" and color, but unfortunately does both very poorly.

If you ever get your hands on one, you'll see the problems immediately. The B&W mode is faded and hard to read. The color mode is washed-out and has a ridiculously bad viewing angle. Seriously, it's barely usable. I'm sure all tablet manufacturers have reviewed Pixel Qi, and their reasons for not using it are simply that it doesn't deliver an acceptbile user experience.

I wanted this to work very, very badly, because both eInk and color tablets are an exercise in painful compromise for me. Pixel Qi sounds great on paper, but it demands too many compromises to be truly useful.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722418)

> I wanted this to work very, very badly, because both eInk and color tablets are an exercise in painful compromise for me.

A tablet has two sides, maybe it should have an LCD display on one, and eInk on the other? Better patent that before Apple gets it :-)

Cool Screen, OLPC Is Kinda A Bummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38718230)

The screen on the OLPC is truly awesome. It's the only LCD screen I've ever seen that actually works in direct sunlight. Alas, after using my OLPC for about a year, I accidentally popped the battery latches open with it turned on one day and while it still kind of boots, it's bricked beyond all reasonable reflashing efforts.

Re:Cool Screen, OLPC Is Kinda A Bummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38719516)

Email help@laptop.org ; from what little you said it sounds like you may have run into this issue [laptop.org] which happens if the software was never updated.

You may need a serial adapter to fix your XO; at least one company sells them.

Resolution sucks (2)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718806)

The Pixel Qi resolutions suck .. tablet displays going forward will need 250 ppi or high. Even laptops will likely require 200 ppi and up to be competitive in 3Q and 4Q of this year.

Re:Resolution sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38736642)

The new 10.1 inch screen has great specs, I have the old 10.1 in my samsung netbook, great in the sun with the backlight off.
http://www.pixelqi.com/products

Summary performance Pixel Qi 3Qi 10in screen
Resolution T 1280x800xRGB (transmissive)
Resolution R 3840x800 (reflective)
Brightness >200 nits typ (dark room)
Brightness >250 nits (room lighting)
Brightness >>2000 nits (outside, sunlight)

Wish List (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718934)

I have been wanting an affordable eInk/ePaper display the size of a painting that I can hang on my wall and update via wifi so my kids can "paint" pictures on their tablets and upload them to the wall display for the whole family to enjoy (and to encourage them to express themselves and cultivate their artistic talents).

Pixel Qi looks like it's not there yet, but may get there eventually.

Does anyone know if there are other players who are there already?

Re:Wish List (1)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720628)

Qualcomm Mirasol is pretty much there (full color, stable without electricity, 15fps), but so far they've only scaled it up to 6 inches; I think you'll have to wait 3-5 years to have a 24 inch version...

GNAXA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38719940)

into a sling unl3ss

"Pixel Qi" doesn't exist. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720450)

I've never seen one of these displays or any device containing or intended to contain one.

As such, they don't exist.

Get back to me when you have a real product, not just some crappy vapourware.

wow that looks really interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38722448)

wow that looks really interesting, but there is no subtitles or transcript /me cries ;(

come on, video reports are fine if you have subtitles or at least transcripts.

please please please

Isn't this just like fusion energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723508)

Every year we keep hearing about these displays, but there is no real product made with them. So what's the deal? Are they funded by Mr Rossi?

Seriously, Flash? On Slashdot? (1)

Benanov (583592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725844)

Is there any way we can get this video in a non-proprietary format? Uploading it to YouTube would be sufficient.

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