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Jun 4, 2009

Pixel Qi ODMs for Taiwan

Pixel Qi, a startup founded by One Laptop Per Child's Mary Lou Jepsen, is in Taiwan this week showing off its energy-saving hybrid e-ink screens.

The company received the first screens back from its manufacturing facility on May 24, and have been showing them in Taiwan to ODMs interested in building devices around them. For now, Pixel Qi's demonstration machine is a retrofitted Acer notebook, seen above. The target audience, not so surprisingly, is laptop manufacturers.

You're probably familiar with the Kindle, which uses technology developed by E Ink (recently purchased by Kindle maker Prime View). E Ink technology effectively places the display into a static, powered-down state that can hold an image without power, dramatically extending a display's battery life. However, E Ink is, for now, a grayscale technology, and can not display video.

Pixel Qi, however, says it can operate in at least two modes, one where it can display video, in color, as well as a static e-ink mode. So far, Pixel Qi hasn't described the technology in detail, so we can't say for certain how much power the display consumes, how fast it can render video, or the resolution of such.

That last question may be answered with a product Pixel Qi says it is also developing: a sub-10 watt HDTV that can be sold for less than $100. It's an ambitious prpject, but so was the OLPC.

Jepsen is the founder and chief executive, and apparently also heavily involved with the design; she holds a doctorate in optical sciences as well as a degree in electrical engineering. Jepsen also ran the display division at Intel. Also of note: Carlin Vieri, who worked on the display used by the Apple iPhone.
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