Category: Pixel Qi

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List of my ARM Powered devices used for video-blogging:

Posted by Charbax – November 14, 2011

Andy Frame is interviewing me on ARM's official YouTube Channel about my ARM Powered devices used for video-blogging and live video streaming from consumer electronics trade-shows.

List of devices featured in this video:

- Headmounted Display: Kopin Golden-i, OMAP3530 based, provides SVGA screen at eye-level for real-time monitoring of an IRC chat for asking better questions
- Headmounted Logitech c910 Webcam connected to the ARM Powered One Laptop Per Child XO-1.75, Marvell Armada 618 based, live-streaming the webcam video feed to http://ustream.tv (an optimal Headmounted computer, maybe Motorola's next version, can include the webcam and Android based software to live-stream the video to any live video streaming service built-in)
- Archos 101 G9, OMAP4430/OMAP4460 1Ghz to 1.5Ghz tablet, similar specs as in the Galaxy Nexus but in a 10.1" tablet form factor. Starts $269 unlocked no contract for 8". This is probably my favorite high-end tablet at the moment. I'll post my full video-review of the Archos 101 G9 in the next few days.
- Archos 70 Internet Tablet, OMAP3630 1Ghz single core, released about 13 months ago. I use this tablet every day as 7" tablets fit in any jacket pocket. Thus I mostly use this for checking emails, web browsing, watching video, playing games, using apps when I am outside. I am looking forward to upgrade this to a dual-core 7" tablet.
- My $87 FG8 Android Smartphone, it's my main smartphone for the past 7 months since I found it in Shenzhen China. It supports Dual-SIM cards (so I can use my home and foreign SIM numbers at the same time, or use voice SIM and data SIM at the same time), has a decent 3.5" capacitive touch screen, uses the wildly popular in China Mediatek MTK6516 ARM9 processor. I'm looking forward upgrading this to a Galaxy Nexus (because I am eager to try Ice Cream Sandwich) or to a newer faster 3G-capable sub-$100 Android phone.
- ZTE MF61 T-Mobile USA 4G HSPA+ Hotspot, $50 for 3GB/month pre-paid, $141 for the device, no contract.

OLPC XO-1.75 hands-on

Posted by Charbax – October 30, 2011

I got to play with the new Marvell Armada PXA618 powered One Laptop Per Child XO-1.75 laptop during the ARM Technology Conference. It seems to already be very stable and run very fast, although this is still a beta prototype, with beta software, OLPC, Red Hat, Marvell still have some work to do to optimize the software and complete the hardware so that it can be mass produced and shipped to children around the world starting early next year. Here in this video I walk around with it outdoors for a few minutes and show you some of how it looks like.

3M Invests in Pixel Qi

Posted by Charbax – September 12, 2011

3M (NYSE: $54 Billion current valuation) just announced together with Pixel Qi that they have invested in Pixel Qi Corp.

3M is the leading developer of innovative optical films for LCDs, probably the world’s largest. Together with Pixel Qi, they are capable of many interesting things. This should accelerate the availability of this screen technology to the mass market. First generation Pixel Qi screens are in over 3 million OLPC laptops being used by kids in the developing world, and Pixel Qi is ramping up deliveries of some of their latest screens to Chinese companies such as ShiZhu Technology and we should be seeing much more of that, hopefully also soon reaching the European and the US mass consumer market.

ST. PAUL, Minn. & SAN BRUNO, Calif. & TAIPEI, Taiwan, Sep 12, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- 3M, through its 3M New Ventures organization, has invested in Pixel Qi Corp., a developer of next generation LCD panels with operations in Taiwan and California. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded by LCD pioneer, Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen in 2008, Pixel Qi designs unique, innovative LCD screens that solve problems not addressed by conventional screens. Its first products are sunlight-readable, low-power LCD panels aimed for mobile device applications.

As consumers increasingly rely on connected, mobile devices in their daily lives, there is a growing, unmet requirement for display devices that offer portability, connectivity, long battery life and excellent indoor/outdoor readability in one device. Current displays are not able to solve all of these challenges simultaneously. Pixel Qi's unique technology platform eliminates the need for trade-offs and enables high quality, outdoor or sunlight viewing with excellent battery life and portability in one device. The combination of its technologies with those of 3M will create excellent new opportunities for both companies.

"Pixel Qi's full-function color screen technology, for the first time, gives consumers an outdoor-readable video display with exceptional battery life, usable anywhere, anytime. It's a first in the industry. In our collaboration with 3M, we have the ability to accelerate this into mass adoption," said Mary Lou Jepsen, co-founder and CEO of Pixel Qi.

The funding led by 3M New Ventures will play a key role in enabling Pixel Qi to develop its product offerings into volume consumer markets as well as digital signage and touch applications. The investment, which successfully concludes Pixel Qi's second (series "B") investment round, will also allow Pixel Qi to build and to strengthen its engineering and sales capabilities.

Stefan Gabriel, president of 3M New Ventures said, "Pixel Qi's technology enables displays of such lower power and high usability that the vision of ubiquitous displays comes much closer to realization. In combining Pixel Qi's disruptive display technology with our technology platforms, we can create new business opportunities in the consumer and commercial markets for 3M."

3M's Optical Systems Division is a world leader in the specialized films used inside liquid crystal displays to optimize the light throughput. Pixel Qi's innovative LCD designs use such film technologies, and other advances, to create novel displays and enable the best outdoor readable, power efficient displays available on the market. "By addressing the energy consumption and sunlight readability challenges in one package, Pixel Qi provides a ground-breaking solution for the next generation of displays," said Jim Bauman, vice president, 3M Optical Systems Division. "The combination of Pixel Qi's low energy, reflective display technology with 3M's innovative technologies will create exciting products for the mobile, handheld, tablet and other display markets."

Source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/3m-invests-in-pixel-qi-corp-2011-09-12

ShiZhu Technology shows Pixel Qi Tablets at Computex 2011

Posted by Charbax – June 3, 2011

Check out how ShiZhu's new Pixel Qi tablet series perform outdoors and indoors against other regular LCD based new Android tablets such as the HTC Flyer (with an anti-glare coating) and the Archos 70 Internet Tablet, you can see how the Pixel Qi screen is much more readable outdoors. This tablet is based on the Samsung Hummingbird Cortex-A8 processor. They are releasing also a 7" and they can provide them in several different designs.

Pixel Qi tablets can run on solar power

Posted by Charbax – June 3, 2011

A quite small modern solar panel can produce 1W of power, enough to power both the Pixel Qi and the whole ARM Powered tablet motherboard behind it. Think for a second how amazing this is. They can put solar panels on the bezel and the Tablet could basically be fully solar powered, have a bigger solar panel on the back of the tablet if you want to just charge it and not use it. This compact 1W Solar panel is $3. OLPC could be using this for the upcoming OLPC XO-1.75 Laptop and the XO-3 tablet.

ZTE Light Tablet with Pixel Qi screen

Posted by Charbax – June 3, 2011

While this is not yet with the anti-glare anti-reflective coating and the reflective mode for touch is not yet implemented in this ZTE sample, this is how the ZTE Light with Pixel Qi might look like, the fully optimized version should be shipping in the third quarter of this year.

Pixel Qi launches 10.1″ super thin 1280×800 screen

Posted by Charbax – May 31, 2011

Here's a new comparison between Pixel Qi and the iPad followed by Mary Lou Jepsen's status report on the latest Pixel Qi news, their first showing of the new 1280x800 thinner 10.1" wide view screen.

Mary Lou Jepsen of Pixel Qi at TEDxTaipei

Posted by Charbax – May 9, 2011

All screens are manufactured in Asia. 40% in Taiwan, 40% in South-Korea, 10% in Japan and 10% in Mainland China. The Drums are rolling for hopefully some very very big announcements coming from Pixel Qi's manufacturing partners for big product orders soon. I'm hoping for Kindle4 and iPad3 to announce the use of Pixel Qi starting this summer. Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs have the power to change the display industry. All they have to do is to sign to order a few millions of these screens with the LCD makers (hopefully they have done so already..) and the low power sunlight readable display revolution will reach us all.

Also watch: John Ryan COO of Pixel Qi and John Watlington Vice President of Hardware Engineering at OLPC

You have to consider, while it has been 23 months ago that I published my first Pixel Qi interviews from Taiwan (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14) while that might sound like a long time, in the display industry, 2 years is peanuts. Things move rather slowly there. Since then, there has been an economic crisis and a sort of re-focus from netbooks to tablets, although netbooks have sold more than 100 million units in 3 years, the display investments are focused on tablets. The display business can be considered to be the worlds biggest non-profit industry, the 5 biggest LCD makers who produce 90% of the worlds LCDs, produce for $120 Billion in screens every year but can only make small profit margins out of that because of the strong competition and the large volumes shipped. Those companies that produce the worlds LCD screens have very high costs, very high risks, little flexibility. Let's hope Pixel Qi has amply well convinced the big LCD makers like Quanta, CPT, Chi Mei, Samsung, LG, Sharp, Sony, Foxconn, let's hope that they have all signed with Pixel Qi and that they are all right now in the process of tuning the mass manufacture of millions of these screens for all the worlds upcoming Chrome OS notebooks, ARM Powered Macbooks, Kindle4s, iPad3s, a solution for using the interactive UIs of Android on all the worlds e-readers. It would also be nice to double the battery runtime and improve outdoor readability on all the worlds Smartphones using Pixel Qi.

What Google should do. Now.

Posted by Charbax – January 21, 2011

Larry Page is the new CEO, here's what I think Google should do.

1. Make White Spaces happen. Things are moving far too slowly. I want to see White Spaces deployed to provide free wireless broadband to the whole world as an alternative to the proprietary 3G/4G/LTE networks. It should be deployed using the FON.com model, Google can invest meager $50 million or whatever is necessary to mass produce the first 1 million routers to activate White Spaces sharing all over the world. The idea should be this, users get these routers that may initially cost $50 to manufacture because the White Spaces chipset is new, but could eventually cost below $20 per router. They install it in their homes, connected to whatever ADSL, Cable, Fiber that people already have in the home. This router creates a White Spaces hotspot that reaches much further than within their home, to cover their whole neighborhood with bandwidth. The router is clever in that it can dynamically throttle bandwidth, if you are at home and you need to use your own bandwidth your bandwidth is 100% prioritized for you to use, thus it does not feel at all like you are sharing your bandwidth, that bandwidth sharing is only of the bandwidth which you don't need yourself. The whole global network uses OpenID and such with increased level of verification of every users real ID, to authenticate each user on that network, so this is not used as an untraceable anonymous global Internet access, but where any illegal activity could be traced back by local authorities if needed (obviously, proxies and encryption can always be used if someone really wants to be anonymous).

Listen to Larry Page talk about White Spaces, this is more than 2 years ago. What has happened since?

2. Open Google Marketplace to all devices. If there is one point where I think Google might be evil, it's in their policies to hamper innovation with Android. It's been about a year and a half that Archos has put Android tablets on the market, still they are not allowed by Google to install the full Google Marketplace on the device. Google needs to stop now. Open several versions of the Google Marketplace if they want, for different types of devices. Or basically just add a settings menu in Google Marketplace that allows apps to be filtered and highlighted differently in terms of how they have been tested (mostly by users themselves) to work better or worse on every different type of device. Allow in those settings for the user or device to present itself automatically for example "without 3G", "without compass", "without back camera", "without android buttons", "at this specific screen resolution", then filter apps from there, but never block access to all apps on all devices, if some apps don't work correctly on certain class of devices, so be it. I believe 99% of the 200'000 apps in the Google Marketplace work 100% just fine on about 100% of the cheapest Android tablets on the market.

I understand that Honeycomb should be opening up Marketplace for more devices. For tablets it's kind of a certain. But still, will Google allow even the cheapest ARM9 Tablets full access to Honeycomb OS and Marketplace? Honeycomb for Laptops is a possibility. Honeycomb for e-ink e-readers, maybe.

In any case, it's kind of sad that it took Google more than 2 years to open up Google Marketplace for more devices. This has let Apple all alone in the market of iPad and iPod Touch.

3. Campaign for Net Neutrality on wireless networks for VOIP access. There has been a lot of rage on the blogosphere about Google's partnership with Verizon in the USA leading up to a Net Neutrality proposal that exempted wireless networks.

It is understandable that bandwidth on wireless networks such as 3G, 4G and LTE have to be managed because it only takes a few users to download some BitTorrents at full speed on one base station for a whole area of up to 1km in diameter where users might experience dropped calls and the like. As far as I understand, even for LTE, bandwidth is limited, although it could be argued that carriers should then just build more base stations closer to users, if they do spend significant money to expand their networks or not, it's understandable that wireless networks need to be throttled somehow.

But, that should absolutely not allow carriers to block voice-over-IP usage. That is pure evil. Wireless bandwidth shall be used HOWEVER the user wants to use it. If carriers don't like the idea of becoming dumb pipes of data, that is their problem. They should have considered that possibility when they decided to become carriers.

Carriers have made enough trillions of dollars of profit already, not for them to justify that they should be allowed to continue to gouge the consumer of thousands of dollars per year in completely data bandwidth prices. When you consider the price of 1MB of SMS messages sent costs about $10'000 to the consumer. We are in the year 2011, 1MB of wireless data SHALL NOT cost $10'000 to the consumer.

4. Destroy Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Foursquare and other over-hyped social networks and location based services. This is a call from a user who gets tired of these boring, unoptimized, wastefull, meaningless excuses for social networking and location based services. What a waste of time! Google has to fix this now!

Twitter only benefits famous people. That's why they keep talking about it. For 99% of users, twitter is absolutely useless, for anything else than to follow whichever famous person you like following, in lists of garbled, meaningless, unoptimized, spammy, messy 140-character messages. Make it stop, please.

Facebook is the newer type of Myspace that is a trend in high schools globally. It's for not much more than grouping school kids together and have them waste time on farmville, a tool for massive stalking of a bunch of people you never spoke to for 10 years or more. Make it stop, please.

Social networking will be extremely useful eventually. Location based services will revolutionize everything that we do. Just not in those forms. Google needs to make a social network with location services in a way that absolutely makes sense. Make it so people get to do constructive things in the world, people move more, do more things, people get to be more productive, meet more people. End the global era of wasted opportunities, wasted efforts, mutual disdain, rejection and loneliness that can be felt by everyone.

Social networking that makes sense changes organizations, it changes companies, it changes communities, it changes countries. It auto-regulates humans use of global resources and actually makes democracy work.

Yeah those may be high hopes for Google's social network, but who else than a company of the worlds top 24 thousand Phd software engineers can we rely upon to make this work?

5. Merge Android, Chrome OS and Google TV into one ARM Powered software platform. Google needs to focus on bringing the full Chrome browser on top of Android, provide it with full Google TV features, make it all boot on one ultra optimized ARM Powered software OS image. Read my previous post "Recipe for the ultimate ARM Powered device" for more on how this all-in-one software should work.

6. Bring Internet access to the next billion people faster. It's all good how Android is taking over the smartphone market. It eventually does bring cheaper Android devices mostly made by Chinese vendors themselves. Still it is not going fast enough. Google should make it a priority that a $50 Unlocked Android Phones shall become available globally. Google should invest billions of dollars in One Laptop Per Child, have it run open source software that is supported by millions of people. Reaching the $75 Tablet should be a priority. Invest billions of dollars in Pixel Qi to mass produce their screens as fast as possible, make sure all devices can last 10 times longer on a battery as soon as possible.

The thing is western countries have a lot of electrical power so they don't care enough about not having to recharge a 2300mAh battery every night. Consumers in wester countries don't care enough about the price of the smartphone as most are still buying smartphones subsidized by a carrier who charges upwards $3000 in 2-year contracts that for example most Americans feel are natural thing to sign up for when getting a smartphone.

Getting mobile computing to the next billion people within 2-3 years should be a priority for Google, and if that risks to disrupt the actual business models of the carriers in developed countries by the availability of $50 unlocked Super Phones, $75 Tablet/E-readers and $100 Laptops in every super market, so be it.

7. Monetize independent web video production and make VOD the worldwide standard through YouTube and Google TV. YouTube has already become the worlds largest bandwidth infrastructure, streaming out more than 2 billion video streams per day, hosting and encoding all the worlds video, it's impressive. Yet, Google now has the opportunity to reach much further and completely monetize YouTube. The YouTube Partnership system is a drop in the bucket compared to what they should do. I'm not allowed to become a YouTube Partner even though I have over 12 million video views (including what I put on other channels and what I had put on Google Video), the reason being Google only allowes residents of G20 countries access to even apply to become a YouTube Partner.

Of those that are conservatively monetizing YouTube video views with overlay advertising, they could do so much more. Why not provide a one-click donation button under every video, on every channel page to allow viewers to sponsor the future productions of their favorite content creators? Why not embed price comparison links with commission payments on one-click sales under every video that talks about a product that can be bought by interested viewers? Why doesn't Google provide a global subscription plan à la Hulu, but where it gives access to much more than just established Hollywood/TV contents, but where it also monetizes ads-free or higher definition viewing of all independent content? Why doesn't YouTube offer pay-per-view solutions worldwide, for example, let viewers choose to pay very small amount of money to get a direct link to download any of the videos as an uncompressed video file or on-demand encoded to chosen codec and bitrate/resolutions?

YouTube needs to become much more than the worlds biggest bandwidth infrastructure project. YouTube has to become Google's biggest source of revenues and profits. It needs to become a tool that changes media and ultimately that improves democracy.

What do you think Google should do now that they have a new CEO? Post in the comments.

The $35 Indian Sakshat Tablet project based on my video, how to make it work

Posted by Charbax – January 21, 2011

On June 26th 2010 I published this video which unveiled the Indian $35 Tablet project's Bill Of Material for the first time:

India's Minister of HRD, Shri Kapil Sibal, or one of his colleagues, watched my video.

On July 22nd 2010, the Government of India's Ministry of Human Resources Development announces the $35 Tablet, announces they plan to have a Chinese manufacturer deliver a few million of these in India for education.

I would like to be serious a bit, as there are literally billions of children on this planet who are waiting for tools for a better education, they are growing old with a missed opportunity to learn. I don't have anything against Governments watching my video-blog to find out what are the best ARM Powered devices on the market, but I would like to suggest a few more things they can do if they would like the project to be successful all the way:

1. Don't work against OLPC, announce you want to join their efforts. Doesn't mean you use OLPC's Marvell 610 platform, just means you share all knowledge and collaborate towards a same goal. You are supportive of each others goals, this is not a competition, this should be a collaboration.

2. Turning a tablet into a successful educational tool is not a piece of cake. It's probably not enough to just take whatever cheapest materials and deliver it like that.

3. Denounce Intel's blatant corruption attempt, 4 days after the announcement of the $35 ARM Powered Android Tablet project, Intel India is quick to suggest the Government should rather (basically give up on the ARM Powered Tablet) and just use the "Donation of 1500 Intel powered tablets" for pilot project (to last a couple years or so preferably, enough time to delay all other real mass low cost deployment attempts), same thing Intel did all over the world to block OLPC from reaching developing countries. Intel has subsidiaries all over the world, they may not be instructed centrally by Paul Otellini for all it does all over the world, but they seize any opportunity at preventing other potentially disruptive technologies from catching on. I mean seriously, what could Intel seriously want to do helping a project to make a $35 ARM Powered tablet for education running Android? Intel can afford to buy India a couple million of these ARM Powered tablets to help get things started, but is that anything near what they had as intention?

4. If you are a Governmental Non-profit project, you setup a Website, open source the code, informations about potential suppliers (real-time information about manufacturing requirements). Tell me in the comments if India's HRD has been open about this project, I haven't seen it. If they chose to make their project secret, it would have a harder time to get implemented. Be open about the full Bill of Material. If you listen to my video, you can hear the AllGo Systems representative list these Bill of Materials:

ARM9 Processor: $5 (Freescale i.MX233)
Memory: $3
WiFi B/G: $4
Other discrete components: $3
Battery: $5
7″ 800×480 resistive touch screen: $15
Total bill of material: $35

If this is it, then clearly publicly say this is it. Let people know what alternatives there may be, let the community discuss what alternatives could be used.

For example, I am pretty sure an educational tablet cannot be made without a 7" Pixel Qi screen. For one it's the only way to hope it has low enough power consumption to last long enough for children in India who don't have a lot of power, perhaps no power at all (let it be powered by Bicycles, hand crank, sub-$5 A4 sized solar panels..). A reflective screen is the only way the tablet can be used for reading ebooks, the only way it can be used outdoors during the day in places where a child might not even have a roof on the school or no school at all.

5. The Bill of Material should be calculated openly with the prospect of using that budget that you have for it. Meaning if you can produce 1 million units, that obviously affects the price of each Pixel Qi 7" screens, perhaps making it as cheap as a normal LCD screen.

6. Be open with how you plan to finance the project. This whole deal with the Chinese manufacturer not wanting to pay HRD $13 Million just sounds weird. Why should the manufacturer pay India and not the other way? Usually, as far as I know, a manufacturer would be paid on shipping of completed product, and India's engineers can work at the factory to monitor yield, quality and batches before mass production is started and while they are being mass manufactured.

7. Be open about how it is designed. The reports (2) on this tablet being a copy of some Chinese design may be true for the casing, but that does not mean that the cheap Freescale i.MX233 ARM9 based SoC on Motherboard, electronics, Android software porting to that specific ARM9 processor (perhaps one of the cheapest ARM SoC in the world), all that does not mean AllGo Systems didn't actually do this original work. I believe they have. The fact is the Chinese market, Chinese manufacturers have so-called Open and Free designs for those cases that can be used for cheap ARM Powered Tablets, cheap ARM Powered laptops, cheap ARM Powered e-readers. But that does NOT mean that what is inside is always a "clone" of some other design. OEM's might have turn key solutions, all ready made designs that they produce and deliver low cost, but they also produce the designs of foreign companies.