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Displays Portables

Hands-on With Pixel Qi Screens In Full Sunlight 87

Posted by timothy
from the no-shame-in-salivating dept.
griffjon writes with this drool-inducing bit, describing a "side-by-side comparison of the OLPC's screen and an Acer with the new Pixel Qi screen installed, both of course sharing Mary Lou Jepsen's screen technology: 'The XO's dual mode screen still rules in terms of pixel resolution at 1200 x 900 vs. the Acer's 1024 x 600. It was amazing to see Windows 7, Amazon Kindle software, the New York Times web site and a QuickTime video in direct sunlight. Shades of gray and some color tints are visible. Besides the XOs and e-ink based Kindle ereaders, no other color screen device I own can be seen as clearly in sunlight. Not even the famed iPad. In the video, you can see that at a certain angle where line of sight and sun are aligned, the new Pixel Qi screen glows as if backlit!'"
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Hands-on With Pixel Qi Screens In Full Sunlight

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  • i will buy one when they come out with a netbook like that standard. not because i want to replace the screen, but because of the cost. after a few months of competition, the sunlight screen netbooks will become reasonably priced.

    also, it would be nice if it had one of those fancy middle hinges so you can truly read it like an ebook reader. and, of course, a touch screen version of this would be too awesome for words.

  • here we go (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VMaN (164134) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:43AM (#32827148) Homepage

    "no other color screen device I own can be seen as clearly in sunlight. Not even the famed iPad."

    is the ipad a particularly good screen in direct sunlight, or was it just an excuse to mention your "famed ipad" ?

    • It is also worth pointing out that The New Yorker found the Kindle II's low contrast made it too difficult to read. In the review, the author ends up using it to buy books and then reads them on his iPhone even though he obviously wished there was a larger iPhone like device for reading books (obviously, pre iPad).

      You have to wonder, are these screens higher contrast or the same dark gray on light gray?

    • Those were color? Why did they choose a B&W newspaper site as their comparison basis?
    • by slim (1652)

      is the ipad a particularly good screen in direct sunlight, or was it just an excuse to mention your "famed ipad" ?

      I think the iPad is advertised as being usable in daylight.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Lighten up, Francis. [wikipedia.org]

    • I've not used an iPad myself but from the reviews I've read it is in fact particularly bad for outside use.

      • by rinoid (451982)

        Not if you turn up the brightness and of course read it at an angle which diminishes the reflection off of the glass! I find it highly readable and use it often on lunch in the sun or in my backyard. So, not particularly bad for outside use, in fact it's QUITE readable outside in full sunlight.

    • or was it just an excuse to mention your "famed ipad" ?

      Stand down there soldier! I know you Apple Haters just go wild at any mention of an Apple product, so you probably overlooked the fact that "famed iPad" was heavily sarcastic! He dislikes Apple as much as you, no need to attack him.

      • by VMaN (164134)

        If you think that was an attack, you need to grow thicker skin :)

        • It was fairly mild, but it was still sarcastic. It still displays as I said, a dislike for the iPad and is not trying to promote it... do you disagree?

  • On my mobile phone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markus_baertschi (259069) <`gro.sukram' `ta' `sukram'> on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:45AM (#32827162)

    I'd like that screen on my mobile phone. That's where I'd need a sunlight-readable, battery conserving display most. Most GPS functions only work outside due to feeble GPS signals, but at the same time the display become almost unreadable.

    There are plenty of business opportunities and markets for Mary Lou to explore !

    Markus

    • Not a phone, but I'd love to have one on a pocket-sized device. Something I could fit, along with a bluetooth keyboard, into my pocket and take with me when I want to work outside and not have to worry about finding some shade with a lot of cover for the screen.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lobiusmoop (305328)

      I've had something like that for over 15 years now. [wikipedia.org]. Old-school greyscale LCD, in calculators and digital watches, has always had the advantage of being daylight-readable and low-power.

    • by Warbothong (905464) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @01:33PM (#32828602) Homepage

      There are plenty of business opportunities and markets for Mary Lou to explore !

      I can't wait until these are in ATMs (cash machines). Those bastards are so hard to read sometimes that I can have my face right up to them, hands forming a tunnel to the screen and STILL not make out the text!

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        I can't wait until these are in ATMs (cash machines). Those bastards are so hard to read sometimes that I can have my face right up to them, hands forming a tunnel to the screen and STILL not make out the text!

        I normally ask one of the helpful homeless people who gather around these machines to hold my coat as a sunshade while I enter the PIN number.

    • The display on my Palm Pre is awesome in direct sunlight. I was honestly shocked the first time i was out hiking and using the GPS and it was perfectly usuable and enjoyable. I probably wouldnt watch movies on it in direct sunlight, but for just for digesting information ive never seen a screen like it. My old XV6700 was completely unusable in sunlight.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      I'd like that screen on my mobile phone. That's where I'd need a sunlight-readable, battery conserving display most.

      I don't get it... My $30 Motorola i425 phone has a (small) screen which is perfectly readable in direct sunlight.

  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:50AM (#32827236) Homepage Journal

    For once, I see the standardized parts working as they are meant to be. Swapping components on a netbook is hard to say the least, but to see someone just grab a part & shove it into a netbook, tells me that this could very well turn out to be one of the "optional" features for people when ordering off their favourite supplier.

  • I really want one for my HP mini 311, but the screen is 11.6" compared to this DIU kit. I've searched for details, but couldn't find any.
  • Every time I buy a laptop, I take a look at what my laptop is lacking and put that into a list of what I want in my next one. Being able to use it outside effectively has been on the list since my first one (after all, it's a laptop, it's portable, I want to use it outside). My current one converts into a tablet, which is definitely nice; I can now use it while walking, but the display is not up to snuff and in bright daylight it is unreadable. Depending upon how things play out with OLED displays (still 5
    • by mark-t (151149)
      Even OLED displays, being an emissive technology, still lose a great deal of their contrast when viewed under direct sunlight or any very bright light. This is completely countrary to how we see normal objects that reflect light, where the brighter the illumination is on an object that is diffusely reflecting light, the _greater_ the contrast is on the details of the object
    • So far the early OLED cell phones are worse than LCDs. The need to try to overpower the sun for visibilty which isn't a great idea.

      Transreflective solutions will win in these circumstances.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        So what you mean is *any* reflective solution, not necessarily a transflective one (which is a particular implementation of combining reflective and emissive display technologies).
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      My netbvook would be a hell of a lot better if it had non-reflective glass/plastic. If it did you could use it in the shade, but reflections on the screen are brighter than the screen itself. That and the keyboard are the only things I don't like about it.

  • "Shades of gray and some color tints are visible."

    No thanks.

    I want video-capable screen update times, full and vibrant color under all types of lighting conditions that I could otherwise comfortably read a normal book in, and not have the requirement that under any of them I might have to feel like I'm reading while staring into a flashlight.

    • by fastest fascist (1086001) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:24PM (#32827724)
      Tough. I want a neural interface. This is here now, though.
      • by mark-t (151149)
        Pratical neural interfaces are quite a few years away yet, possibly even a decade or more. A display like I described is probably no more than a year away now.
    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:36PM (#32827888) Journal

      I want video-capable screen update times, full and vibrant color under all types of lighting conditions that I could otherwise comfortably read a normal book in, and not have the requirement that under any of them I might have to feel like I'm reading while staring into a flashlight.

      And I want a pony. Well, no, actually, I want a Maserati, but the outcome is still the same. I don't get what I want, so I have to live with the best that I can afford.

      Pixel Qi screens are not perfect, but they are still a major step ahead compared to contemporary display tech, in that they blend some of the best qualities of normal and eInk screens with practically no downsides. That is already a big deal - if I can have a general-purpose tablet that can also work as non-eye-straining ebook reader with great battery life, well, that's awesome!

      More will come in due time.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        Yes, more will come in due time. I'm willing to wait. That's my point.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by charlesj68 (1170655)
      Like these? http://www.mirasoldisplays.com/ [mirasoldisplays.com]
    • by forkazoo (138186)

      I want video-capable screen update times, full and vibrant color under all types of lighting conditions that I could otherwise comfortably read a normal book in, and not have the requirement that under any of them I might have to feel like I'm reading while staring into a flashlight.

      Basically, it sounds like you are asking for a reflective color display with no backlight. They exist, but they aren't particularly popular, so it'll be very expensive. Most people are used to having to adjust a lamp to be abl

      • by mark-t (151149)
        They exist? Where? The only one I know of that meets the requirements I listed won't be appearing in any commercial devices before the last quarter of this year.
  • How long before this screen makes its way into e-readers? I would imagine that being able to play content at that high frame rate would be a boon to the e-reader as a multi-use device. The kindle already has limited internet capability; this screen would greatly increase the utility of the device.
    • Re:E-Readers? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:38PM (#32827914) Journal

      It doesn't make sense to make a dedicated e-reader with such a screen, as it would be capable of much more. For example, you could actually have usable web browsing and video playback on it. At which point you call such a gadget a "tablet" - and, yes, there has been a bunch of those announced with PQ screens. I, for one, am waiting for Adam [notionink.in].

      • Good point. I guess I messed up my terminology. My aim was to point out that a screen such as this would allow devices like the Kindle to expand their utility to compete better against tablets such as the iPad, while maintaining book reading as their 'killer app'. The industry is certainly in flux right now, and I am curious to see what comes out of it. Whatever happens, I am sure that Pixel Qi will be a big player.
    • As somebody already said, that device would have tablet like capabilities. It will also have tablet like weight, and tablet like battery life (ok, some doulbe or triple of tablet like battery life, still, you can't spend a week reading it without recharge). I wouldn't classify that as an ebook reader, I'd go for something more adventurous, like calling it a "tablet".
  • Oh Crap (Score:5, Funny)

    by AttillaTheNun (618721) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:32PM (#32827832)
    This is just great. So much for telling my kids to go outside to play to get them off the video games.
  • XO-1.5 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by soupforare (542403) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:46PM (#32828052)
    TFA compares the 1.5 to an Acer. When the hell did the 1.5 start shipping and where can I get one? Or even just the motherboard? :(
  • by WillAdams (45638) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @01:08PM (#32828358) Homepage

    which are indoor / outdoor viewable.

    The problem is finding units which have them --- picked up a Fujitsu Stylistic ST-4121 w/ one and it's perfectly readable in direct sunlight --- I use it as a map display unit on long trips.

    Not many new units being made w/ such displays though.

  • Of course (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ^_^x (178540)

    I have an XO-1 and its screen is fantastic in the sun. Of course Pixel Qi screens will excel there.

    What I'm curious about is whether they fixed the reflection angle (reflective mode indoors only works if you bounce light off a wall, otherwise you just get a point of reflected light somewhere on the screen.) Also, when you go backlit, there's color, but everything looks fuzzy, and you get a diagonal line effect across the screen. I'm wondering if they've fixed those yet...

    I'm cheering for their efforts thoug

  • no other color screen device I own can be seen as clearly in sunlight

    The ancient GameBoy Color has such a display. Although horrible indoors, it shines outdoors due to a highly reflective display that lacks back-lighting. And the kids love 'em like the Zune! Plus, none of those messy downloadable games. Just pure cartridgy goodness.

  • No one's played an original Game Boy? (or even the Game Boy Advance...) It used to be that for most LCD screens, you ~needed~ to be in direct sunlight to see anything at all. There was a mirror where we expect the backlight to be today. It worked pretty well, really.
  • So now nerds have a display specifically for those occasional moments in the sun. Nobody else knows or cares about these devices.

    iPad works great in sunlight. Sorry that Apple's super bright IPS screens are fucking up people's OLED, eInk, and Qi reviews, but lying about iPad to give these other devices some marginal utility is truly lame. Try to have an iPad in front of you before mentioning it in your review you starfucker. A good tip is to review tablets and readers without saying "iPad" and see if there

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