Pixel Qi 3qi Display: Full Color and ePaper in One

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Mary Lou Jepsen posted up a couple of photos on her blog: the very first pictures of Pixel Qi’s 3qi display. The display itself is 10.1-inch in size and will be looking to find a place in a netbook or ebook. I took the liberty of cutting the first photo in half: one is of the color mode with the backlight on (above) and the other is in epaper mode with the backlight off (below). In color mode you can see all the colors you’re used to. The 3qi display uses light from behind and is in transmissive mode. I’m not sure what the color gamut is but I would guess it’s around 40% NTSC where most netbooks and notebooks are.

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ePaper Mode The interesting mode, at least to me, is the epaper mode. In this mode the backlight is off and shifts gear into reflective mode, making use of the sun or other ambient light. In epaper mode power consumption is minimized. Even in this mode there is some power consumption but quite a bit less than in color mode with the backlight on. So the tradeoff as I see it is: color epaper with a bit of power consumption (3qi) or grayscale epaper with almost zero power consumption (Amazon’s Kindle and others).

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Mary Lou Jepsen took this photo on her iPhone on a shrub in the hot tropical sun. Oh how nice it must be to be able to work in the tropics! This photograph is quite telling because it shows the 3qi display integrated and working in a real netbook. The 3qi display in epaper mode looks fantastic: you can actually see it. It would have been almost impossible to see anything on most netbooks and notebooks with that much sun hitting them.

I foresee convertible netbooks becoming more popular in the days ahead: with a 3qi display you can use the netbook to do your normal stuff requiring a keyboard and when you’re in the mood for some reading, simply flip the display over and use it as an ebook reader. Wonderful.

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