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Displays Upgrades

Pixel Qi Says Next-Gen Displays Meet or Beat iPad 3 Screen Quality 157

Posted by timothy
from the picking-nits dept.
New submitter seb42 writes "Pixel Qi announces new screens that can match or exceed the image quality of the screen in the iPad3, with a very low power mode that runs at a full 100X power reduction from the peak power consumed by the iPad3 screen. Hope the Google tablet has this tech." The claims are pretty bold, and specific: "We have a new architecture that matches the resolution of the ipad3 screen, and its full image quality including matching or exceeding contrast, color saturation, the viewing angle and so forth with massive power savings."
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Pixel Qi Says Next-Gen Displays Meet or Beat iPad 3 Screen Quality

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  • Problems...? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @04:26PM (#39758071) Homepage

    What's their refresh rate? Is the 100x power saving only in direct sunlight with the backlight turned off?

    • If they made a screen which had the qualities mentioned in the article and was also able to be backlit or reflective for outdoor use this would be an even bigger deal.
      • Re:Problems...? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by poly_pusher (1004145) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @04:45PM (#39758175)
        Well crap, it looks like that's what they may be claiming to have done. The graph shows lower power usage in outdoor environments compared with indoor. My understanding is that creating a display which can reflect light in bright environments or be backlit in darker environments was a very big problem. Maybe that's what they have figured out.
        • Re:Problems...? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2012 @04:59PM (#39758243)

          Well, except for having ridiculous (and I mean that in a good way) pixel density, that's exactly what Pixel Qi displays to date have all been about -- with one caveat.

          The problem, with a conventional LCD, is the color filters -- each one blocks out perhaps 70% of white light (you can block more for better gamut, less for worse gamut, but reduced light consumption). That means you get, at best, 30% albedo for your display in a white state, and that assumes your filter doesn't cost any extra on the second pass (a theoretical brickwall filter) -- real filters will lose some. So, ditch the color filters and win, but this makes your display black-and-white. Pixel Qi gets best-of-both-worlds capabilities by generating colors in the backlight (using a diffraction grating), allowing low-res (since you need multiple subpixels to make one pixel) backlit color display, or high-res (1 subpixel = 1 pixel) reflective grayscale display. That's the catch -- of course, with a powerful enough backlight, you can still make the colors shine through in daylight (though they will be washed out by the reflective light, reducing saturation), but then you don't get the power savings.

        • That's a display that can be viewed with reflected light (light from the front) or with a backlight (light from the back).

          You've probably owned at least one. Blackberries and iPods used to have them.

          The problem is that they don't have good contrast ratios. This is because when you make the display reflective, it reflects room lighting. This raises the black level (darkest a pixel can be), and so the contrast ratio (which is brightest to darkest pixel) drops.

          So displays went to transmissive only to increase

    • by firex726 (1188453) <firex726@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday April 21, 2012 @04:37PM (#39758139)

      Yea, I hear all this bitching about battery life, but mine lasts for ages; I just have to leave it turned off.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      They are readable under normal (indoor) light. That's the way screens should be, like looking at colour magazine or book.

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      The "100X power reduction" line makes no sense. 1 power reduction means no power. 100X means it's making 99X power. I know that they mean either 100% power reduction or 0.01% power usage, but c'mon, just say that.

  • Vaporware (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jjcushen (1637385)

    I was never able to get my hands on one of the original screens. The idea is great on paper, I just don't believe we will ever see widespread availability.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The original screens were in no way vaporware. I have three and love them all. (No, the picture quality is not on par with a normal screen, but the power savings and daylight use far far far outweigh that (minor) drawback.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Briareos (21163) *

      If only they had been in real, useable products instead of overhyped shite like the OLPCs...

    • I have a Pixel Qi screen in my Adam tablet, (Notion Ink). If I wanted to leave the screen off most the time, I'd have to pick a high-contrast theme for ICS, which I haven't really run into 'themes' at all. It works well for e-Reader apps if there is a lot of light, (outdoors on a sunny day) but everything else requires that I have the backlight on. The viewing angles are also not up to par.

      However, this screen is a couple years old now, so maybe Pixel Qi have come up with some new magic.

      (You do notice t

    • Re:Vaporware (Score:5, Informative)

      by caseih (160668) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @06:50PM (#39758837)

      There are a few examples of this screen out there but I think the reason it's so hard to get a hold of is that the current Pixel Qi screen, well, kind of sucks. The color saturation, contrast, etc just aren't that great. Turns out the screen isn't that good at any of the things it was hyped to be: good color inside, good b&w outside.

      • Turns out the screen isn't that good at any of the things it was hyped to be: good color inside, good b&w outside.

        Those are not the main qualities Pixel Qi displays are designed for. Their big thing is very good sunlight readability outdoors.

        • My experience come from owning a notion ink adam tablet with the pixelqi screen.

          It is readable outside in sunlight.

          BUT it is only readable when there is MUCH sunlight and it is NOT very good even under those optimal conditions.

          The contrast is extremely bad, hence you get best results with most sunlight but they are still not optimal. Plus, even with most sunlight, the viewing angle is still extremely narrow and when you tilt the screen just a bit too much, the content becomes unreadable.

          I am not surprised w

    • Are you an ODM? If not, then you're complaining to the wrong people. Pixel Qi has been shipping devices to anyone who places an order with them, including a couple of large consumer device manufacturers and has even been selling replacement netbook screens to consumers for a couple of years. I've not owned one, but I played with one at FOSDEM a year ago and they seemed pretty nice. Contrast isn't great in the low power mode, but it's a lot more visible in direct sunlight than any laptop screen I've ever
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @04:41PM (#39758155)

    exclusivity contract with Apple for the iPad/iPhone.

    Get some nice margins in before it becomes just another commodity component on the electronic marketplace.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      I'd be fine with this. Let the Macheads subsidize the future for the rest of us.

      If the technology makes Pixel a butt-ton of money (but we have to wait a few years to get it in other devices), so much the better in my book. Just the fact that "Apple uses it" will create an insane demand for it to be in everything with a screen.

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      You think Apple pays high margins for their components?!? Hilarious. They negotiate for the lowest possible margins and pass the savings on to Steve Jobs^w^w their bank account. Although I'll give Tim some credit: finally returning value to shareholders was long overdue.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So... something that's not out yet is better than something that is? Shocking.

  • '100X' is blog-talk for 0100, 0o04, 4, or 0x04.
  • by Lord Lode (1290856) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @04:56PM (#39758225)

    /me wants 24" or smaller desktop screen with 2048*1536 pixels or more.

    • by locopuyo (1433631)
      I don't understand why they don't already have these, the technology exists for pixel density that high. Just make a 4x1080p monitor that has 4 inputs. Everyone with the Nvidia/ATI multiscreen setups will gobble them up.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They did it once.

        Sorta.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_T220/T221_LCD_monitors

      • by zippthorne (748122) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @05:31PM (#39758407) Journal

        Digital TV happened. Now monitors and TVs come off the same assembly lines, and 1080p is "good enough" for most people buying screens (that's High Def, right, so that's the best!)

        On the plus side, it means that you can get a decent computer monitor for under $200. On the downside, better monitors have become a niche product, and there seems to be positive feedback - the price difference pushes more people to the "standard" models, further nichifying the high resolution models, increasing the price gap...

        • by jittles (1613415)
          I just recently started working for a new company that gives me a hardware budget that I can use to buy any hardware I want. I used the money to buy a 27" Dell Display at 2556x1440 (or whatever it actually is), and its the best decision I've ever made. Yes it consumed most of my budget for the year, but it is so wonderful to have so much useable space on the same screen. I have a second display, which is almost completely unneeded anymore. It gets used rarely. I wish that I would have gone to the massi
          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            Possibly the same resolution as the Cinema HD on the computer I'm now using? 2560 * 1600 is the highest resolution it does.

        • by StikyPad (445176)

          Most people don't buy TVs at monitor sizes, so I don't think there's that much overlap.

      • by jpapon (1877296)
        Or just get the Dell 27", it's a great display. 2560x1440 is nice, and the brightness and viewing angle are amazing. The only problem I have with it is that it consumes way too much power. The thing keeps my hands warm in winter...
        • by locopuyo (1433631)
          27" is too big for what I want and that really isn't near the resolution I want either. Also some may think the Dell quality is good but it really isn't up to par with what I want.
          I would be willing to pay $800 for a 4x180p 24" 120hz screen. I figure it would be worth 4 $200 screens. Maybe the market just isn't there for screens like that, but it doesn't seem to stop video card makers from putting out $2k cards so I'm still a little surprised there aren't any monitors like that out there.
          • by jpapon (1877296)
            You'd never get a 24" 4x 1080p (so 3840x2160) screen for $800, especially not one with 120hz refresh. The Dell I mentioned (U2711) goes for about $800, and has significantly fewer pixels then what you're asking for. Also, you say the Dell quality isn't up to par with what you want, but the U2711 is widely regarded as one of the best monitors on the market. It's also an IPS panel, which is far superior to the TN/ TFT stuff you see everywhere.

            Also, I believe a 3840x2160 @ 24" screen is really overkill... you

            • The IBM T221s mentioned here are 3840x2400 at 22". I've got 2 of them, don't do any OS scaling (plus even reduce the font size in most apps), and they're really nice, if your eyesight isn't bad.

          • by jittles (1613415)
            The quality isn't what you want? What monitor has better picture quality? HOnestly? I've seen the 27" Apple Cinema displays, I used to work with them daily. They aren't any better than the Dell picture-wise. And the Apple display only has one input!
            • by locopuyo (1433631)
              Apple Cinema displays have the quality of displays sold 5 years ago while being sold as if they are 5 years ahead of their time.
              I prefer ViewSonic displays. They always have a model or two with bleeding edge performance for gaming as well as having top end image quality. The price is usually reasonable too. I have been buying them since they came out with the first LCD with 2 ms response time and buy a new one whenever there is a significant improvement. I have six now, all running off the same machi
              • by jittles (1613415)
                Then the person you were sitting next to didn't have their display properly configured. Were you both running 1080P? Because that's all the ViewSonic does, and the Dell will definitely look blurry at such a low resolution! AFAIK, only Dell and Apple sell displays with a resolution greater than 1080P. (or 1920x1200 if you prefer 16x10)
    • by dargaud (518470)

      /me wants 24" or smaller desktop screen with 2048*1536 pixels or more.

      A thousand times yes. There are a few gigantic ones with resolution above 1920x1200, but nothing that would fit on my desk. And the price jump from 1920x1080/1200 to anything above that is huge.

  • Is Apple the uncontested standard for screen specs? Its not exactly innovative if pixel qi picks their competitor's product and says hey we just beat them by an inch. Perhaps they should follow Apple's lead and set a different standard. The power savings issue is nice but not all that breathtaking like a retina display.
    • If they did that, they'd be working on Mirasol [mirasoldisplays.com]...

    • by jedwidz (1399015)

      Gotta say that, as much as I love the iPad 3 screen, calling it a 'retina' display was little more than a sneaky marketing ploy. The pixel density (264ppi) is a lot less than the 'original' retina display on the iPhone 4 (326ppi).

      For me that makes the difference between seeing the pixels and not seeing them.

      We can expect higher-definition tablet displays still to come.

  • How does the screen compare on price?

  • How much volume did Pixel Qi do last year? One week of iPad3 sales? One day? One *hour*?

    Hell, even OLED displays have beaten these guys into volume production, and I didn't think that would ever happen.

  • I am all for advancing display tech. But I'll believe it when I see it. Pixel Q has made a lot of headlines over the last few years with little to show. All they do in this release is say how much better it is than iPad 3 display --- over and over again. Trying to generate some hype maybe? They could have been a little more subtle with their hype and drawn comparisons from other screens on leading devices.
  • by sootman (158191) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @06:00PM (#39758533) Homepage Journal

    ... I won't believe it until I see it.

  • by Wovel (964431) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @06:05PM (#39758551) Homepage

    Make a shipping product or it doesn't really exist.

  • by gstrickler (920733) on Saturday April 21, 2012 @09:44PM (#39759773)

    Touch screens may complicate things for Pixel Qi, their screens have always relied on AR coatings. Touch screens need a capacitive (better) or resistive layer over the screen, and they need an oliophobic coating to resist finger prints. How will those affect the Pixel Qi screens?

    • Not all "touchscreen" technology actually requires you to "touch" the screen. My PRS-T1 uses infrared light to detect when and where I'm "touching" the screen, and it does everything "real" touchscreens can do, and a few things they can't (depending on the technology used).

      You raise a valid point, but the implementation of the screen itself my obviate the problem anyways.

  • Assuming it's not vaporware, it's a little late to the party. I predict next year there'll be better screens yet. Look at me go.

    Anyways, they're sticking it in golf stroke training systems and carwash controls, so maybe they'll find a niche. But as for tablets, wake me when one thrives for a couple of months in the market.
  • I'm as excited as anyone at the prospect of a better performing high-res screen and despite PixelQIs history of delivering, this doesn't actually exist until I'm looking at the teardown pictures.

    It seems that history repeats itself. Apple invents and mass-produces a new technology. they release it into something perfectly usable that you can go down to your local shop and buy with real money. A matter of weeks/months/years later, everybody else starts claiming they've come up with something revolutionary an
  • by jones_supa (887896) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @02:44AM (#39760729)
    This iPad vs. Pixel Qi [alltouchtablet.com] comparison picture really shows the important difference. The Qi might not have the best colors, but for text and simple images it is good. The iPad and most other laptops and tablets are hard to use outdoors. See this demo image [pixelqi.com], too.
    • I have a retrofitted PixelQi display in my netbook, and it extends my PC usage by about 25%. This really surprised me; I didn't think being able to read in sunlight would matter so much. Actually, "sunlight readable" doesn't quite capture it: the more light you throw at it, the BETTER it reads.

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