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.
OLPC is working to design an unbreakable screen and thus may not have the XO-3 prototypes ready to show at CES in January. Marvell and its partners will likely have lots of tablets to show by then though. An unbreakable and sunlight readable Pixel Qi screen is an important feature of the XO-3 to make it a viable option for developing countries, as well as its abilities to be used for full productivity and for fast text input.
Marvell has supported OLPC since the beginning, they have thus far provided the WiFi Meshing modules on XO-1 and XO-1.5. Marvell co-invested with Google, News Corp, Novell and the others into the founding of OLPC to bring about the XO-1 which forced Intel and the whole laptop industry to respond with the 100 Million netbooks that have been sold in the last 3 years to limit the effects of OLPC's potential disruption of the laptop market. Marvell and OLPC have now signed an agreement in which OLPC is to develop XO-3 Tablet(s) based on one of Marvell's ARM System On Chip processor solutions.
Marvell can justify the investment as an R&D investment in which everything OLPC develops, as all OLPC hardware designs are open source, can freely be used by Marvell's manufacturing OEM partners to also release commercial tablet products based on these technologies.
OLPC will use these funds to develop the Tablet that can be used for productivity, for constructionist learning as Nicholas Negroponte said at the Mobilize 2010 conference last week:
How do you make tablets a constructionist medium? A medium where you make things, you don't just consume them. Cause if it's about kids and learning, it's not like you feed a goose grain to make the foie gras. You have to make it for kids to use it, to make, to communicate. Whether it's music, whether it's text or whether it's to write computer programs. And it has to be so low power, when it runs out of power you just shake it a little bit and it continues.
These are the challenges that OLPC will work on to implement in XO-3 before the target 2012 $75 release:
Why should children use tablets instead of laptops?
The future of OLPC: it's a notepad.
The notepad is the oldest tool used by children in the class room. Imagine adding full online and offline interactivity to the notepad. Imagine a magic notepad that can display every page from every book, every image and every video ever filmed. To display low bitrate tutorial videos that work even in black and white mode like the ones of the Khan Academy, even have them be interactive and provided as learning games. The student can annotate all books, take notes and share them. The tablet is not only lighter and could be designed for cheaper, it also is the more usable form factor as an e-reader for reading all books ever written in the world. As Nicholas Negroponte says:
There is no way to justify a paper book. If you'd want to send 10 thousand physical books, you'd have to take every 747 out of service around the planet just to move them from wherever they are being manufactured. Physical books are a luxury.
I wonder if 7″ or 10.1″ Pixel Qi will be used, or both. The 7" size may be optimal for it to be as light, cheap and durable as possible, it might be better for children to read books on a 7" form factor than a 10.1" one. For productivity, I think it should support both touch screen and some cheap $2 USB keyboards/mouse and use its built-in kick-stand. Children can easily carry a $2 keyboard/mouse when they need to be most productive. Maybe a thin keyboard to double as screen protector and which can be clipped onto the back of the device when in tablet/e-reader mode could be a nice design feature, although the screen needs to be unbreakable enough for children not to need worry about carrying the tablet without a screen protector.
For software, I think that OLPC should work with Google and the emerging tablet industry to customize Android for education. Maybe add Sugar apps support on top of Android OS as a secondary app platform "module layer" on top of Android. Basically, Sugar could be a custom UI layer on top of Android for the XO-3 tablet.
Marvell is giving $5.6 Million to OLPC to fund the development of the XO-3 Tablet, with bendable plastic Pixel Qi screen and education-centric customized software, that finalized XO-3 will be ready by 2012 for distribution to schools at a target $75 bill of materials and manufacturing each. OLPC and Marvell will have an early demonstration tablet prototype running Android to show in January at the next CES.
I think that they should definitely go for customizing Android for education. Maybe add Sugar apps support on top of Android OS as a second app platform. I wonder if 7" or 10.1" Pixel Qi will be used, or both. For productivity, I think it should support both touch screen and some cheap $2 USB keyboards/mouse and a kick-stand.
Pixel Qi is the single most revolutionary LCD screen technology, adding the benefits of low power, reflectivity, long form and outdoor readability all the while providing a switch on the side of the device to provide full color backlight mode to the screen as well. Thus combining Tablets with E-readers, making 50-hour tablet battery runtime without increasing battery size a possibility and bringing full color video, web browsing and full Android UIs to E-readers. The 10.1" screen will be announced soon for more products than just Notion Ink and Innoversal:
We will be announcing other products carrying Pixel Qi screens here in this blog; stay tuned.
Pixel Qi provides some insights into the reason why several tablet projects including the ones to use Pixel Qi have been delayed because of the success of the disruptive iPad:
Tight supply chain and 100% factory usage this spring and summer coupled with Apple’s disruptive iPad effectively had a 1-2 punch impact: delaying most tablet makers from coming to market as early as they wished. The situation has eased: the supply chain is more robust and factory capacity is widely available. Many of our device makers used this downtime to refine their designs with the result being even more exciting offerings that are highly differentiated from the iPad with options well beyond ATT for carriers. These device maker partners will be making more announcements coming this fall.
And so, a screen that I think would be perfect for the Archos 70 Internet Tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Foxconn ARM11 Powered 7" Tablet reference design, Pixel Qi is announcing the development of the 7" Pixel Qi screen size. Here's also who needs to absolutely use the 7" Pixel Qi screen, the $35 Indian HRD Tablet Project!!!
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.
In my opinion, everyone in the industry with 7" and 10.1" LCD tablet projects, all need to be a part of this revolution and need to use this amazing screen. Hopefully with mass manufacturing and large serious orders, the screen will be cheap enough to be close to the price of a normal LCD, hopefully the yield and the long term performance in use will be just as good as normal LCD.
The IFA consumer electronics show was cool, from September 2nd to 8th in Berlin Germany, I video-blogged 65 videos of the best products that I could find at the show. Here, as my Best Of IFA post, I would like to list the top-10 videos of the top-10 products of IFA 2010 that I filmed:
1. Archos 101 Internet Tablet, first 10.1″ capacitive Android 2.2 Froyo ARM cortex A8 45nm Tablet to be sold below $299. It's really thin, at 480gr it's 30% lighter than the iPad yet offers 12% wider screen surface (better for movies and TV shows). HDMI output and USB host and full video and audio codecs support. All that for $200 cheaper than the iPad.
2. Archos 43 Internet Tablet, nicely priced below $199 alternative to HTC EVO and Droid X, with no expensive contracts needed for this 4.3" Froyo Android 2.2 experience
3. Archos 28 Internet Tablet, first ARM Cortex A8 45nm Android 2.2 Froyo device to be priced below $99 with no contracts needed, that's 2.3 times cheaper than the iPod Touch
4. Toshiba AC-100 ARM Tegra2 Powered Android Laptop, this is the first mass produced ARM Cortex A9 powered laptop to be brought to the market, it is a significant product. Toshiba has done a super good keyboard and mouse-pad design for it and it is really thin and light. Now of course, all that is needed, is better software for it. I don't think it is enough for them to just take open source Android and port it to it and add few custom widgets on top. They need to port the full Chrome web browser to Android. They need to officially support a triple-boot configuration on this ARM Powered laptop with Chrome OS for ARM and with Ubuntu for ARM also being optional OS to boot into. Also, I do think the $299 price point is a bit high. The idea with the ARM powered laptops is that they are going to be much cheaper and better value than the Intel powered ones. I think the relatively high price is only due to Toshiba being the first to market and them wanting to enjoy larger profit margins while they wait for all the other manufacturers to join the party. Also, once they get the Pixel Qi screen in there, the battery runtime will be close to 40 hours on such a device.
5. PocketBook 903 Pro, I really like the idea of 3G/WiFi/Bluetooth and Wacom-style digitizer in an A4 sized e-ink e-reader. I would like Chrome-to-phone like features, to throw any article and ebooks from my web browser directly onto such more readable display, and then I would also like to see connected annotation collaboration and communication features added, all those things are just software things.
6. Sony Reader PRS-650 Touch Edition, I am impressed with Sony's new touch screen technology for their new e-readers. Although I would say it is a bit sad that Sony never updates their e-reader firmwares, that this 229€ version does not include WiFi nor Bluetooth nor 3G for connectivity. Still, the finger and stylus laser based touch screen technology is great for UI navigation and for annotations. I also like the fact that Sony is marketing it to be supporting free library borrowing of all e-books, I much prefer borrowing all ebooks for free and legally than paying $10 per ebook or pirating them. The electronic ebook library concept will be fascinating way for people to access all ebooks for free.
7. Samsung Galaxy Tab, for sure one of the big highlights of this IFA is to see such a huge company as Samsung going all in with the 7" capacitive Android tablet market, I can't wait to see how successful their marketing will be with this against the iPad. The whole area of discussions around Google supporting of Android tablets, it is simply fascinating. Of course, obviously, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is highly overpriced at 799€ without contract and 1359€ with 2-year contract. But it sure is a nice product and the tablet market really makes me happy.
8. UMEC Freescale i.MX51 based 7" Android tablets, I like the features and possibilities of this hardware. See my other Freescale tablet videos such as the one running Chromium OS on it, it should be totally possible.
9. iMuz 5" Android tablet, this South Korean company seemed to me to have pretty good Telechips ARM11 based Android tablet devices on display.
10. Sharp’s Parallax Barrier 3D screen, it's pretty amazing to experience it at the trade show on display. This is the 3.8" WVGA 3D screen that the Nintendo 3DS is going to use. It really works, although probably best with 3D games once the Nintendo comes out than with low quality built-in 3D cameras. You have to hold the screen in the middle and around exactly 30 centimeters from your eyes, my guess though with the Nintendo, this might become easy to get used to hold it like that and I also like Nintendo will have a slider on the side that will enable to lower or to completely remove the 3D effect of the screen.
11. Interpad's Tegra2 Powered Android 2.2 Tablet, a really nice Android tablet too, to be priced 399€. I think it is based on the Malata Android tablet design that I filmed at Computex.
12. Toshiba Folio 100 Tegra2 Android tablet, yet another Tegra2 10.1" capacitive Android 2.2 Tablet to come out, also priced above 399€.
13. Philips GoGear Connect, one of the first non-3G Android devices based on the Freescale i.MX51 ARM Cortex A8 processor with official Google Marketplace support but price is likely going to be above 249€.
14. Samsung YP-G50, another lower cost Android media player device, also to compete with the iPod Touch, with official Google Marketplace support and a slower Samsung ARM11 processor, the price is also likely to be at least the same as the iPod Touch.
15. Mobile Tech 5" Android Tablet, this company is also making some interesting Telechips ARM11 based Android tablets.
If you have any other preferences for Best of IFA, you are welcome to post those in the comments.
Uruguay has already given one laptop to every child between 6-12 years old. Now they want to give laptops to older students too from 12-15 years old. For this, OLPC has installed a keyboard that is more suitable for older kids:
Remember that OLPC is full at work on OLPC XO-1.75 which is a Marvell Armada powered OLPC laptop, which may also get a 8.9" touch screen. And that OLPC is also full at work with Marvell to release the XO-3 tablet design by next CES.
As you can see with the hundreds of videos at my other video-blog http://olpc.tv, OLPC is a huge success wherever it is implemented. The ARM based versions that are coming, hopefully also using the newest version of the Pixel Qi screens, should allow for a significant lowering of the manufacturing prices and a much lower power consumption.
Source of this video: olpcnews.com
Indian minister for HR Development HRD, Kapil Sibal announces $35 tablet project. It seems to be based on the Freescale i.MX233 system on chip, with a 7" resistive 800x480 touch screen. Here's my video with AllGo Embedded Systems, a R&D company based in Bangalore India, where they are showcasing their $35 tablet reference design at the Freescale Technology Forum in Orlando last month. This is likely to be the tablet that India's HRD Minister is talking about:
The Bill Of Material is as following:
ARM9 Processor: $5 (Freescale i.MX233)
WiFi B/G: $4
Other discret components: $3
7" 800x480 resistive touch screen: $15
Total bill of material: $35
It is of course a honor for me that the Indian Government watches my videos and bases their Government projects on those. I just wish India's HRD would stop attacking the One Laptop Per Child efforts all the time. That Minister is quoted as saying that this project is their "answer to MIT's $100 computer". Why can't he say that this is their answer to the $640 Apple iPad? Why does the Indian Ministry of Human Ressources have to attack the non-profit OLPC organization?
Already back in 2006, the HRD published very harsh statements against the OLPC project such as "India must not allow itself to be used for experimentation with children in this area". After which HRD announced a totally bogus $10 laptop project which resulted in a USB stick. The result of which being, 4 years has passed, and very little has been done to help Indian children at getting any hope at getting a better education using technology.
The $75 OLPC XO-3 design uses a more powerful ARMv7 class processor (3x faster), a 10" capacitive touch screen on an unbreakable plastic Pixel Qi LCD screen that allows it to run 40 hours on a battery instead of 4 hours of this India HRD project! The screen is a very important component, maybe the most important component to make this a revolutionizing success in the whole of India to hundreds of millions of children.
So if HRD wants to make a difference for the Children of India, they need to be open about the specifications of their open source hardware designs, they need to present the options in which ARM Processors they are trying to use, which features that would be included in the SoC and how much HRD would like to support the mass manufacturing of sunlight readable Pixel Qi LCD screen technology. And they should stop positioning this as India HRD vs OLPC but talk about it as India HRD + OLPC vs Apple iPad + Intel netbooks.
Innoversal has a good looking Pixel Qi tablet design, based on Intel Atom for now, with an ARM Powered one coming soon as well. It runs Chromium OS, Android or Windows 7.
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