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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There has been weird rumors going around some blogs that iPad2 would use a 2048×1536 display.
As Pixel Qi provides 3x higher resolution in reflective black and white mode, that should basically serve the marketing tag line of a pixel density that is "Retina display".
iPad is very heavy at 680 grams. They could significantly reduce the battery weight using a lower power Pixel Qi display, thus saving on the weight of the whole device.
At CES 2011, Pixel Qi announced that they have a manufacturing partner making 9.7" Pixel Qi screen. If that means Apple may be using it, and if Apple only wants to work with LG to make their iPad2 screen, that could mean that the new manufacturing partner would in fact be LG, and that would mean Pixel Qi may have reached out of Taiwan into South Korea as well.
Some bloggers complain about the quality of colors on Pixel Qi screens, describing them to be "washed out". I didn't ask Pixel Qi about their color mode quality, but I believe this is only because the screen coating is anti-glare Matte type which is the only correct way to use this screen 100% outdoors and for e-reading. While iPad1 and most other devices use Glossy type screen those have lots of glare and reflections when used outdoors.
Apple has the opportunity to make of Pixel Qi a mass market screen technology, they have the opportunity to use it for allowing their customers true use reading e-books without the eye straining of a back light, they have an opportunity to launch an iPad2 with 20 hours or longer battery runtime and a significantly thinner design and lower weight.
But if they decide not to, it wouldn't be the first time Apple disappoint. Then Android Tablet makers will have that opportunity but uptake of the technology may not be as fast especially if Apple's marketing continue to make it sound ok for e-reading and mobile computing use to have a regular backlit LCD that is unreadable for ebooks and unusable outdoors.
Will it be in iPad2? Will it be in Kindle4? Of course she can't say anything about it, but I really hope so. Was Pixel Qi delayed a bit because of the success of the iPad slowing down potential investments in Netbook screens? How did they manage financing their startup through the economic turmoils of the past couple of years? Pixel Qi introduces a 7" model that is going to be mass manufactured by CPT after February, after the Chinese new year celebrations. The 10.1" 16/9 and the 9.7" 4:3 screens also are due to be mass manufactured soon.
This is the ultimate combination for the future of laptops, ARM Power and Pixel Qi display for 40-50 hours battery runtime. This Genesi laptop uses the Freescale i.MX51 processor.
Pixel Qi and CPT are preparing 3 different screen sizes to be mass manufactured in 2011, including a 7" 1024x600 design that will be shown early January at CES in Las Vegas.
CPT has a monthly production capacity of 40 million LCD screens. That's 480 million LCD screens per year. How much of these are going to be Pixel Qi types is to be seen. CPT is the worlds second largest manufacturer of mid-size (4.8"-11.6") LCD screens (behind CMI).
I'm hoping that the 3 sizes that they are working on are 4.8" or 5", 7" and 10.1", sizes which I think are the best for Tablet and E-reader use. 4.8" or 5" being the largest to fit in normal pockets (passport sized), 7" the largest to fit in jacket pockets and 10" being current top Tablet and about the size of an A4 page. But I also think 11.6" or 12.1" screen size like the one Google wants for Chrome OS notebooks could also be a good size.
This alliance started early last summer when CPT showed a transflective screen of its own design at a Taiwanese trade show. Discussions between the two companies at that show made it apparent that Pixel Qi and CPT should work together to bring stronger product to market faster. A close alliance was formed and the teams have been working together quietly all fall. They have created samples of a 7” 1024×600 screens scheduled for mass production in early Q2 2011, which will be first publically shown at the CES 2011 exhibition in Las Vegas in early January 2011. This represents an expansion of Pixel Qi’s manufacturing strength beyond its first LCD manufacturing partner who has been shipping Pixel Qi’s 10” screen.
These dual-mode reflective and transflective LCD screens are crucial to realize the combination of Tablet and E-reader into one product. Without this type of screen, I don't believe tablets can be used for reading books as backlights are not meant for reading, and for e-readers to use LCD also makes them more versatile thus also including all the tablet functions into one same product. Most importantly, this screen technology improves battery runtime for ARM Powered devices considerably, as in a 10" ARM Powered tablet or laptop, the backlight probably consumes about 80% of the devices overall power, consider thus a screen that can work without a backlight or with a lower backlight intensity, and you have a battery runtime multiplied by as much as 5x in that same product. Thus an ARM Powered Tablet or Laptop that had 10 hours battery runtime on a regular backlit LCD may have up to 50 hours using this type of screen. Thus also making this screen absolutely crucial for projects like OLPC and the Indian education $35 tablet project if they want to make it viable that these devices can be used places where there isn't a lot of power.
According to the new Pixel Qi products page at http://pixelqi.com/products, the 7" version of the Pixel Qi screen, thus suitable for more portable tablet form factors and e-readers, may be on display and perhaps available as samples starting this January at the CES trade show.
7" samples for CES 2011 possible
And according to their September 17th blog post:
New Screen Development: 7″
We are developing a 7” screen for tablets and ereaders that is planned for mass production in H1 2011. Samples will be available earlier, perhaps by late Q4 2010.
As I am typing this post on my awesome 7" Archos 70 Internet Tablet, I can imagine how it would be to have the device be even lighter (than its current 300 grams, vs 380 grams Galaxy Tab and 680 grams iPad) with a smaller battery or to have it last upwards 50 hours with a reflective screen suitable for e-reading. Kindle 4 should definitely use this, and this is I think the reason for Amazon to be secretly preparing their alternative Android application store.