The PixelQi screen is one of the most exciting developments in display technology since LED-backlit panels. To be clear, it is not simply an e-ink screen with backlights. Instead, the new panels are based on the same conventional liquid crystal display used by current laptops and monitors.
The main difference is that PixelQi models have an outdoor-readable mode that turns the backlight off. This not only reduces power consumption, the fast LCD refresh rate also allows for video playback, unlike e-ink devices.
Despite not having a single retail model sporting its display yet, at Computex 2010, the San Bruno, Calif.-based company showcased prototype models sporting next-generation PixelQi screens. Designed for use in slates, the new versions have a wider viewing angle and consume 30 percent less power than previous iterations. In addition, some units had capacitive or digitizer layers added to deliver touch-screen capability.
So far, no major PC maker has come out to announce laptops or slates using PixelQi screens. But thanks to the demo units, at least we know this is no vaporware.