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DIY Pixel Qi Screens Available 60

16384 was one of a surprising number of DIY types to note that the Pixel Qi screen is out. It can be installed in many netbooks. Can't wait to see what people build with them. An excerpt from the press release says "MAKE and Pixel Qi announced today the availability of a revolutionary LCD display technology from Pixel Qi — the 3Qi display. This one-of-a-kind, plug-and-play 10.1-inch display offers two modes: an easy-to-read, real color, multi-media mode or a crisp, low-power e-reader mode. Indeed, the sunlight-ready e-reader mode makes it easy to use outdoors. The 3Qi display is on sale now at makershed.com."
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DIY Pixel Qi Screens Available

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  • Expensive (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TuringTest ( 533084 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @08:51AM (#32755674) Journal

    I thought one of the advantages of the Pixel Qi screens were its low price, as it was initially targeted to the OLPC. This thing is $275.00 without an attached laptop behind it.

    Is this because that's the retail price for the public at large, or are there some major differences with respect to the OLPC screen that justify the higher price?

    • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

      Most likely, the price is so high due to a small production run.

    • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @08:58AM (#32755746) Journal
      The Pixel Qi screens are the evolutionary descendants of the OLCP ones, and might well have not traded off cost and quality quite as agressively; but I'm assuming that at least half of this price is the "It's a quantity-one sale of a previously unavailable item to a cost-insensitive enthusiast" premium.

      The ruthless margin-slashers who do purchasing for the big OEMs are just going to give you a thousand-yard-stare and a hollow laugh if your quoted price is much above a standard LCD of the same size, so Pixel Qi are either utter morons, or offer much more reasonable terms in quantities of 10,000+

      Plus, while the maker shed is a noble operation, and sometimes a useful place to get stuff that would be hard to find in small quantities elsewhere, they aren't what you would call an "everyday low prices" kind of operation...
      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

        For OEMs this is interesting but so dangerous.
        Until they get some big product to use it they are very risky for a small company to buy.
        You could design your product around the part only to be SOL when they go out of business. Molds are expensive.
        I would so like to use one of these but until they are in mainstream production they are just too dangerous.
        However for some one with a hacker spirit might I suggest that you combine this screen with this http://beagleboard.org/hardware-xM [beagleboard.org]
        And go to town. Maybe find

      • The Maker Shed is quite expensive compared with sourcing things elswhere
    • by cbope ( 130292 )

      Something called unit quantities. That's the retail price for a single screen. Buy 10,000 of them and the price will be substantially lower.

    • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @09:35AM (#32756164) Journal

      I thought one of the advantages of the Pixel Qi screens were its low price, as it was initially targeted to the OLPC

      They have a pretty picture [pixelqi.com] which explains the difference. Basically, the concept is the same, but the Pixel Qi displays have much better performance in trasflective and reflective modes (in terms of response times, anyway). The OLPC display is not really meant to be used for much beyond static text in reflective mode. The Pixel Qi displays are for more general use.

      The advantage is not the price so much as the fact that you can use it while sitting outside in the sun, without having to squint.

    • This is because they don't really care about the handful of DIYers who'll buy it, they're after the OEMs. Why devalue their product by seeling it at a realistic price when they can upmark it to silly levels like that other company ?

    • by fishexe ( 168879 )

      Is this because that's the retail price for the public at large...?


  • What's the resolution on this thing?
    • What's the resolution on this thing?

      Took me a bit of googling, but I found this:

      http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2010/1/10/pixel-qi-is-alive-at-ces.aspx [brightsideofnews.com]

      "Ryan explained that Windows treats Pixel Qi’s 3qi display as a 1024 x 600 pixel screen, it’s actually a 3072 x 600 pixel screen. Those extra pixels help make the text easier to read if you’re using Roman, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic, or a number of other languages. For Chinese, Pixel Qi is working on higher vertical and horizontal resolutions."

      1024 x 600 is practically usel

  • Unfortunate... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @08:53AM (#32755700) Journal
    It's such a pity that they never settled on a standardized physical connector for the LVDS+backlight power connection that virtually all laptop screens use(are there any internal displayport devices in the wild yet?) Electrically, they are usually much the same, at least within a given size class(obviously, the current required for a 17inch DTR LCD backlight is going to be a little bit higher than that needed for a 8 inch netbook LCD, so a diffferent connector might be needed); but there was no real standardization. For basic economic reasons, and the fact that there are fewer OEMs than there are brand names, there are a lot of identical connectors lurking out there if you take a screwdriver to the problem; but there is nothing resembling a proper, consumer accessible, "standard", on the order of DVI or molex...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EdZ ( 755139 )
      Even more annoyingly, many laptop display chipsets are locked to certain EDID strings, preventing you from swapping out displays whilly-nilly. I'd love to take a cheap laptop and swap in a 15" 2048x1536 LCD for the best e-reader in the world, but even if said laptop contained a chip that can drive a display that large (i.e. not something made by Intel) the chance is pretty high that swapping out any display other than one of the same model will result in no output at all.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) *
        I've done exactly that recently... Well, okay, it was a laptop with a broken screen which I got gifted. Laptop had an XGA screen and I gambled and ordered a new SXGA+ screen of the same size. (That particular laptop was sold with both resolutions originally) It works, but really doesn't. There are several issues:
        • The EDID string: When I swapped the panel, the BIOS would complain that the panel wasn't supported: "F1 to resume, F2 for setup". I simply flashed the BIOS and that went away. I suspect th
  • Well. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Please note: These screens replace those found in the Samsung N130 & Lenovo S10-2. Although they do work in other models, we can only guarantee compatibility on those 2 specific netbooks. We are testing other models, and will update the list as needed.

    These two netbooks rank in at about $300 new, $230 used. Even after the $275 screen, one could make a pretty cool netbook with it at a good price. If one was so inclined, they could also go vacuform or lasercut a custom plastic case and turn the thing into a really powerful dual-mode e-reader.

    You out there Ben Heck? Get on it!

    • I think it would be cool to tinker with. I could possible justify the purchase since I could use the modified laptop in direct sunlight when I'm doing magnetometer calibrations.

      But $275 places it out of my DIY price range and $575 total price places it in the same price range of the cadillac of tablet devices and I would still need to make a case (and add touch screen input).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    10.1 inches, replaces screens on two netbook models (Samsung N130 & Lenovo S10-2), maybe more models (they're testing), nice full-sunlight low-power "e-reader" mode that would be *great* for outdoor work (check out the comparison shots [pixelqi.com]), costs $275 USD, etc. But nowhere do they say what resolution the display is, which is a bit silly. I'm guessing 1280x800? Anyone know?

  • I have an asus 1005PE. How do I know whether the connector is compatible without taking my screen out?

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I have an asus 1005PE. How do I know whether the connector is compatible without taking my screen out?

      If I were you, I would probably:

      1. Find out what type of motherboard is in my laptop (from asus' website). It will either be in a parts or service pdf. Or maybe find it from a retailer selling replacement parts.

      2. If possible, who manufactures it

      3. Find out the type of video connector on your motherboard

      4. Do the same with the compatible models listed on the website.

      It would probably take about 15-30 minutes to dig through the respective websites and to find the information you are looking for. A pdf or two

  • $275 for a DIY kit of a bleeding-edge technology is entirely reasonable. I've seen the OLPC 1 screen in action, and was very impressed; I'm sure this will be even better. For those wondering, the resolution is 1024x600; see <a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/01/the-pixel-qi-display/">Up Close and Personal with the Pixel Qi Display</a>.
    • Cool. Maybe you could post a review when you receive it. I'm interested and I'm sure others are too.
    • by gclef ( 96311 )

      Curiosity question: how do you interface to it with a DIY setup? (Ie, how do you control display mode, etc?) I'm thinking this would be a fun display to use to DIY a portable unit of some sort, but I can't find any instructions for using it other than for people who are replacing the display in an existing laptop.

      • I also wonder how you control the mode. I'm just not seeing anything that explains it. The Wired article just says "at the press of a button". WHICH BUTTON? One you add? Or some kind of software control?
        • There is no "mode control" as such. Basically, the way it works is that if the backlight is brighter than the ambient light falling on the screen, it is in the transmissive "mode"(which gives you lower resolution; but full color. If the ambient light is strong enough to wash out the backlight, or the backlight is off, you are in the "reflective" mode, which is much sharper; but B/W. At least in the version used in the OLPC, there are some intermediate states, where you get enough backlight for a hint of col
  • I want 2 of them in a 4" by 4" square. I have a digital dashboard project I am working on with some duinos and would kill for this kind of tech instead of the crappy TFT LCD's that are available in the surplus market.

  • This is something that could be very nice for a system I've been wanting to hack together, but which is based on a desktop machine, not a laptop. Anyone know of a way to drive this from a VGA or DVI signal?

    • This [systemation-inc.com] would probably work. It has the look of an industrial/specialty system, though, so it could easily double the cost of the project.

      Also worthy of consideration, a fairly wide variety of mini-ITX and smaller motherboards, particularly those designed for industrial/kiosk/signage applications actually include LVDS headers right on the board. This is of no use to you if you absolutely need a standard desktop board, or a spiffy graphics card; but if your option is either "Spend 80-150 for a motherboard. S
      • It has to work with a specific system board (one with no expansion bus and only DVI out). Thanks for the pointer.

        • Yeah, you'll need a converter, then. The one I linked may or may not be your best shot; but it should be representative of the sort of thing you want.
  • by soupforare ( 542403 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @10:05AM (#32756590)
    I was very interested when they made this announcement a year(+?) ago. Even contacted the company with some questions. The price is out of my league for my, basically toy, uses though. I hope it comes down a bit eventually.
  • Programmer's display (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @10:31AM (#32756968)
    I wasn't aware of this company or its technology. But to me this is something that programmers would really enjoy (and other workers stuck in front of an LCD for 8+ hours a day). They need to get the size and resolution much higher up though. I'd pay north of $900 for something like this but in a 23" format with a resolution of 1920x1200 or higher.
    • I expect these kind of screens to be available in a couple of years. Lets hope they finally *will* compete on resolution rather than size. Currently I'm going to settle for the HP ZR24w IPS screen. It's not perfect but it's the only 1200 line IPS screen that is reasonably priced.

  • by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @11:21AM (#32757794)

    This screen (in different versions) should be available in a year or so (2nd half 2011):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6tzaIgZKs0 [youtube.com]

    Link to working prototype demo - long video with lots of info:
    - b&w & color options
    - video
    - dynamic refresh rate (power consumtion)
    - high transmissive (up to 45 per cent more than LCD)
    - transmissive, transflective and reflective options
    - can be build using adapted LCD manufacturing equipment
    - competitive in price with LCD technology (well, that's subjective, isn't it)

    I wonder how they would compare.

  • No product use it? Why?

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson