Pixel Qi Shows Off 2-Mode Outdoor Readable Screens
One of the most frustrating things about being mobile is the lack of a decent outdoor viewable screen. Even in a classroom environment, the overhead banks of fluorescent lights often make glare an issue. The solution is to have a matte screen to minimize the glare reflected back. Unfortunately, I’ve found that matte screens are worse outdoors than they are indoors because brightness is diffused throughout the matte surface. I thought this was something we had to deal with unless we shelled out the big bucks for an outdoor-viewable screen, but even then, those screens are notoriously dull in color indoors. Pixel Qi seems to have found a perfect balance between indoor color accuracy and outdoor viewability in their upcoming line of 3qi screens.
They hope to have these screens available in netbooks and e-readers in the very near future in sizes up to 10″. The trick Pixel Qi uses is to have a backlight that is user-controllable. Indoors, you crank the backlight on and the screen will work like a standard screen, while outdoors, you can turn off the backlight and the screen acts much like an ePaper screen does with very viewable text in full sunlight. Pixel Qi has already hacked their screen into an Acer Aspire One netbook to show how things can be in the very near future. Pixel Qi will be showing off their new screen at upcoming trade shows and I hope we’ll be able to take a closer look at this very promising technology.
John in Norway
05/29/2009 at 2:56 am
This is what I don’t understand. My Nokia E90 (not a touchscreen) is fantastic whether indoors or out. In direct sunlight it’s perfectly viewable. Why can’t someone make a bigger screen with the same properties? Is it a Nokia secret or something?
05/29/2009 at 4:15 am
@john: It’s a transreflective display also used in some tablets or notebooks. The problem is that it has a worse color reproduction than transmissive displays. A transmissive display with a good display coating and a bright backlight is much much better than any transrefelective display. A transrefelective display is useable outdoors, but pretty poor indoors. Just google a bit and you’ll see a lot of comparisons and articles about those display technologies.
Sorry, but I don’t get it. It’s one display with two panels? A transmissive and an ePaper? Don’t think that this is such a good idea. ePaper isn’t that useful for computers at the moment (almost no colors, slow response times, unknown power consumption in a laptop), and the transmissive display won’t be too good either, because of the ePaper display in front of it.
05/29/2009 at 6:40 am
WOW, big news!
My Toshiba Portege R500 always had an transflective screen and just works perfektly outside. Acctually the brighter the sun shines the better. As soon as surounding lights get light enough I just turn of screen lights and use the back lights. Works perfect.
Simply can’t understand why not every notebook uses this technology. It is a very simple reflector behind the screen which reflects the sun light and steps in for the leds..