Pixel Qi's flat panel display technology, since its announcement last year, has promised a new type of screen that's far more usable and efficient than what we have on our notebooks today.
The company has a special LCD that offers a dual-mode that can operate both in a traditional back-lit manner as well as a highly reflective, low-power mode that nearly resembles e-ink. The result is a screen that works in low light conditions as well as in extremely bright areas, even in direct sunlight.
At Computex, we caught a demonstration of production panels that have been improved since they were shown earlier this year at CES. Since January, the model display's power consumption on a netbook-sized screen in transmissive mode has dropped from 0.7W to 0.4W.
On display was the retrofitted Lenovo S10 netbook model that features a wider viewing angle than the regular panel. The user can adjust the brightness even down to a very low level in fluorescent office lighting and the screen was still clearly usable. By turning off the backlight completely, the screen takes a monochrome appearance not unlike e-ink from the ebook readers on the market today. The contrasts aren't quite as strong as true e-ink, but you gain an immense advantage of being able to turn on the backlight to get your colors back.
The panel was fitted both on matte and glossy displays, and it was clear that the technology looked better on the matte display. In the backlight-off mode, the display relies on external light sources, and having a glossy coating on over the image does nothing to help the picture.
Also demonstrated was the same screen technology with a capacitive sensor on top of the screen, facilitating touchscreen features. This was shown on both a netbook and a tablet from AccuSee, and the touch functions are better suited for the tablet. A Wacom tablet was also outfitted with the Pixel Qi technology, which worked just as well in both modes.
With the power savings and the added usability, we want this screen on all of our mobile devices. Pixel Qi panels are now in production, we hope to see the first products to be announced soon and to hit this summer.