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« TDL Profile: Tara Stiles: Online Yoga Guru | Main | Steve Jobs: Unseen Hand Behind The OLPC Laptop »

Looking for Apple's Tablet Screen? Look to Pixel Qi

There's a lot we don't know about Apple's rumored tablet. But here's what we do know: It will need a screen, it will need to serve as a (color) e-reader, and it will need to do it all with super low power consumption. Oh, and either to pad Apple's bottomline, or to offer the device at a jaw-dropping low price, it will need to be cheap. And let's throw in the ability to view it in bright sunlight while we're at it.

At first it sounds like a unicorn of the tech world. Surely all these things aren't possible, maybe in ten years, but not now, right? Not quite.

Earlier we mentioned Nicholas Negroponte's lecture this week, regarding the design of the OLPC laptop. He had nothing but good things to say about the display on the device:

"This was key: How do you build a display that was both reflective and transmissive. Which has been done before, but not at a price anybody could afford. And she found a way to do it, and I believe in the next couple of months you'll see this appear, in the eBook market, which would be really interesting, because if somebody in the eBook market makes a display that is both transmissive and reflective, it's going to be a very different ball game."

Let's back up a second to the "she" Negroponte is referring to: That's Mary Lou Jepsen, former OLPC chief technology officer who has since left to form Pixel Qi, a company founded to commercialize the same revolutionary display technology. Pixel Qi's VP of Engineering is none other than Dr. Carlin Vieri who came to Pixel Qi from Apple, where according to his bio on the company site, "he engineered new generation display electronics for the iPhone and other devices."

See how we're connecting the dots? We wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Pixel Qi acquired by Apple just around the same time as the tablet is announced. No need to clue the competition to your display choice early. It would be similar to Apple's acquisition of Fingerworks just before multitouch at Apple took off. 

A very different ball game, indeed.

Reader Comments (3)

Did you read it here first?

December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNicola Larosa

No, Apple have their own display technology. See US patent #7,586,472 or I admire Pixel Qi's goal of producing low-cost, low-power, full-daylight displays, but the color in the daylight (trans-reflective) mode is completely washed out. Apple would never even consider such a compromise on a multifunction device. I believe that Steve Jobs would, as he has in the past, choose a good grayscale display over a bad color display. In any case, the new subtractive color display technology looks very promising and would be a significant distinguishing feature among e-book readers if brought to fruition.

December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeremiad

PixelQi has no touchscreen technology.

December 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhaineux

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