Pixel Qi is the name of the California-based company engaged in designing screens that, in their own words, can “solve real world problems.” This is something that isn’t possible with conventional screens currently available. They had set out to design a screen that would include the best of both worlds, that of a normal LCD display with full color when the backlight is on. With the backlight turned off the screen gets transformed to an almost monochrome display that is nearly identical to e-paper displays found in many of the e-ink enabled e-book readers. The end result, the screen is as visible indoors as it is in bright light conditions while drawing the least from the battery. All this while the screen is able to render high definition video display in both the screen modes.
From a technical point of view, Pixel Qi’s displays, also called 3Qi, essentially comprises of three settings: a full-color, bright, conventional LCD mode; a energy efficient reflective e-paper mode that is readable even in bright sunlight; and a basic color transflective mode that is also equally power efficient. Power consumption is in the range of 2.5 W when the display is running in normal color mode, which comes down to a minute 0.5 W with the backlight turned off. This translates to much longer duration of battery life on a single charge.
The reason why Pixel Qi is using existing LCD technology as the base on which the new energy efficient screens have been built is simply because the company wishes to make the best use of the extensive LCD production line already in place which will save manufacturers a lot by not having to invest on setting up new production lines. This will also enable them to introduce the new screens to the market much faster. Its somewhat like using the same old silicon for designing newer chips even when there are other options available as anything new will take longer to reach to the end user.
Pixel Qi has already tied up with a number of manufacturers that would incorporate their display technology in the products they come up with, though unfortunately none of them are yet to make it to the market. It’s two names that come to mind right now – Innoversal Lattice Tablet and the Adam from Notion Ink. While the Adam might be ready for a year end launch, Innoversal has said they wish to launch their tablet next month.
This apart, the company has also come up with a DIY pixel qi screens that you can fit onto your own laptop in place of the regular LCD screens. More extensive usage of the revolutionary new technology is yet awaited though a plethora of tablets having Pixel Qi screens were on display at this year’s Computex show.