PixelQi’s Low Powered Screens to Be Found in Netbooks

pixelqiPixelQi, a screen technology company started by One Laptop per Child (OLPC) alum Mary Lou Jepsen, is ready to shake up the cookie cutter netbooks with outdoor readable, low-power 10-inch LCD screens. According to an interview with PC World and to the PixelQi Web site, the first laptops to use the low-power screen will be 10-inch netbooks. The screens will sample in 2009 and will ramp up production during the summer. Jepsen did not reveal what laptop manufacturer would use the screens. Jepsen pioneered the screen technology in the OLPC XO and started PixelQi last year in an effort to distribute the display technology on a broader scale. At last year’s Greener Gadgets Conference we sat down with Jepsen about the new screen technology where she explained that the screen is able to draw less power from the CPU than the typical LCD. The biggest benefit of the displays: battery life. Jepsen doesn’t think the answer to more hours of computing is six-cell batteries. She told Shah of IDG:

“Instead of putting six battery cells into this model, I’ll try fewer or use less-powerful cells, making the machine lighter and cheaper, and the battery life exactly the same,” Jepsen said.

Jepsen says the low-power screens could increase laptop battery life by up to 50 percent.

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  1. Netbook Fan Says:

    I think they are missing the boat here. Better to go with the 6 cell battery and extend battery life beyond 8 hours for all day use vs. keeping netbooks at the under 8 hour level.

  2. Dreamer Says:

    The only boat being missed is the shipment boat that should have delivered these things a year or so ago. The XO came out in 2006. Why PixelQi have you taken so long to get these screens out? Is it laptop companies’ fault for not buying into the tech?

    Anyway, they’re not dictating the kind of battery that goes into the laptop — they’re just making the screens. Her preference (and mine) is to not put in the larger and heavier battery (which drops to two hours battery life anyway and becomes a paperweight) but to focus on reducing the power-draining components, i.e. screen and processors. I agree that’s a smarter move, but in the end the laptop companies will bow to the public’s desire to leave computers on all day for no real reason. Give me a super low power comp I can solar or crank charge, and then I don’t need to worry about a plug nearby regardless of how long my battery lasts. A 20-hr 6-cell once dead won’t help you when you’re driving around away from the socket, while something that draws far less could easily be recharged on the dashboard. This may not seem like a big deal in the city where you have plugs and car chargers everywhere, but what happens when you go somewhere without the infrastructure? Travelling in the countryside? The outback? An “underdeveloped country”? Ahh…I could go on. Bravo PixelQi, but I still think you’re taking too long.

  3. Viveka Weiley Says:

    @Dreamer: I think the delay is because they’re not making the same screens that were made for the XO – this is a new generation of tech beyond that, and they needed some development time. Check their corporate blog now – they’ve started making demo units, and they look pretty amazing.

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