CES 2010: Hands On Pixel Qi Screen, Upcoming Tegra 2 Tablets

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Apr 12, 2001
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Pixel Qi provided demonstrations of its transflective screen for the press this morning and we were able to see it in action. Pixel Qi had first announced last month that production of its screens would start soon, with shipments of the first products to include it in Q1 of this year.

With the backlight on, the screen appears to be a standard LCD screen with an anti-glare finish. With the backlight off, the Pixel Qi screen closely resembles the e-ink screen of the Amazon Kindle and other ebook readers. While the contrast between the background and text on the Pixel Qi screen with its backlight off doesn't appear to offer the same contrast as the Kindle's e-ink screen to our naked eye, it's still quite readable and should be very capable in this mode to replicate the reading experience on a Kindle or similar device. These e-ink modes are said to be much better for the viewer in terms of both eye fatigue as well as reading speed and comprehension.




Pixel Qi representatives stated that their screen is scheduled to appear in a number of devices by the middle of the year, though they could not disclose the names of these device partners. Notion Ink has been the first to announce a device - an Android-based tablet dubbed Adam - that will have a Pixel Qi screen.

The viewing angle of this first generation screen, however, wasn't great, and while it is said to be comparable to other current netbook screens, it's hard to imagine that Apple would use this in their tablet. It's still a very promising technology and we're excited to see where it will eventually lead.

Elsewhere on the show floor, NVIDIA also had a handful of early-development tablet models on display with its Tegra 2 chipset, including the ICD Vega and Notion Ink's Adam. The various tablets ran the Android operating system and featured capacitive touchscreen. No pricing or official release date information is available yet for any of the devices.

Hands on time with the devices were pretty limited, and, honestly, there wasn't really that much to do. Playback of HD video was demonstrated, but it was quickly apparent the scaled up Android operating system wasn't particularly well suited for tablet use. The on-screen keyboard was too big to use thumbs for typing, and otherwise awkward to hold to try to type more properly. To be fair, these are just development prototypes so don't reflect the final shipping products. But it makes it clear that Apple will have had to address text input interface issues in their expected version of the tablet.

Article Link: CES 2010: Hands On Pixel Qi Screen, Upcoming Tegra 2 Tablets
 

kernkraft

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Jun 25, 2009
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Crucial

I can imagine that the success of any tablet will largely depend on the screen. Matt, responsive and nice colours - is this the one that Apple will use? I thought there was another company (somehow linked with the 'One Laptop Per Child' project, perhaps a former director?) manufacturing just the right screen for these devices.

Will this be able to show most Flash material well? Will there be a need? I hope, Apple will not ignore Flash again. It would be so embarrassing...
 

appleguy123

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Apr 1, 2009
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I can imagine that the success of any tablet will largely depend on the screen. Matt, responsive and nice colours - is this the one that Apple will use? I thought there was another company (somehow linked with the 'One Laptop Per Child' project, perhaps a former director?) manufacturing just the right screen for these devices.

Will this be able to show most Flash material well? Will there be a need? I hope, Apple will not ignore Flash again. It would be so embarrassing...
That was these people. If Apple does not have Flash in the next iPhone it could not be touted as the best internet experience in mobile devices.
 

Thunder82

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Jul 16, 2008
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I'm not sure about everyone else, but the kindle screens actually make my eyes fatigue quicker than a properly backlit screen.

Might be interesting to see what these screens would do for battery life though..
 

Sky Blue

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Jan 8, 2005
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Can't you spin this off into another site? Don't see how this is important Apple news.
 

itsbarry

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May 14, 2009
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No way will Apple use such a dull looking screen.

Their tablet won't be "just" an ebook reader, folks. Video looks kinda crappy on the Qi. Can't imagine playing a game. Just get used to the gloss/glass look of the iPhone, because that's what it will be like.

:apple:
 

deputy_doofy

macrumors 65816
Sep 11, 2002
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I'm still trying to imagine the use for a tablet (for me). I hope they release something cool, if they release something at all (tablet-like). but I'm more interested in a new Core i5/i7 MBP that will finally make my MBP feel somewhat old.
 

HiRez

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Jan 6, 2004
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While the contrast between the background and text on the Pixel Qi screen with its backlight off doesn't appear to offer the same contrast as the Kindle's e-ink screen to our naked eye
Strange, because in the first picture it looks like the laptop contrast is better than the Kindle, although it's hard to tell for sure from a photo.
 

dicklacara

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Jul 29, 2004
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That was these people. If Apple does not have Flash in the next iPhone it could not be touted as the best internet experience in mobile devices.
If Apple includes Flash in the next iPhone or Tablet (which I doubt), I hope there will be a Click2Flash implementation for the platform so you can turn it off.
 

Anaemik

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Feb 25, 2009
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I really can't see Apple jumping on this tech until generation 2 or probably 3. As it stands right now, as promising as it looks, it still feels far too "prototype" for me to imagine Apple would even remotely consider implementing it. While PixelQi tech may well have a nerdy "wow" factor for a small % of Apple's market for now, I imagine it would still be seen as a big step backward for a very large % of consumers who are used to bright, high contrast displays with fast video and very rich colour. Once Pixel Qi are able to provide a version of this screen that fares as well in those regards as it does in its reflective performance, then I think Apple will be prepared to do business with them, but for now, I imagine that they're still watching from the wings with interest.

What I *am* hoping for from Apple however is some implementation of a non-glossy screen surface for their tablet. I think they are still able to get part way toward the advantages of a reflective screen without having to dive feet-first into the fledgling tech. If they can get a display with a decent, smudge resistant anti glare coating, that would at least be heading in the right direction. If it ships with a glossy display I'd be pretty disappointed.
 

bunty

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Oct 14, 2008
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What's the Apple Rumor here? Did Apple make these? How is this related to Apple?
 

Jensen

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Jan 10, 2005
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One of the hardest things about making a tablet right now is the screen technology, especially related to viewing angles. Almost all laptop computers use TN screens. They have pretty decent horizontal viewing angles, but horrible vertical viewing angles. They work decently for screens that are always meant to be viewed in one orientation, but for devices that can be used in either orientation, they suck. The Pixel Qi screen appears to be a TN. They may be able to adapt it to other kinds of LCD, though.

The iPhone uses some sort of *VA LCD, which has the same mediocre viewing angles for horizontal and vertical. (dark grays fade into black when looking at them straight on). They are better than the vertical viewing angles of TN panels, though.

All non-portable Apple displays are currently IPS, which is the best kind of LCD pixel technology. (the latest 20" iMac was a TN). IPS panels just lose a bit of contrast when viewing at extreme angles.

I don't really see any great display choices. OLED may be possible if the screen is 7" or smaller, but it has its own issues (uneven color wear)
 

MrCrowbar

macrumors 68000
Jan 12, 2006
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I'm still trying to imagine the use for a tablet (for me). I hope they release something cool, if they release something at all (tablet-like). but I'm more interested in a new Core i5/i7 MBP that will finally make my MBP feel somewhat old.
Imagine that typical college block you use to make notes, doodle on, write your shopping list on, etc.

I'd have loved to have some kind of e-Ink tablet to take notes in college, especially for math or anything you need to make complicated graphics interleaved with text, but blank printer paper worked out best actually. Great resolution, supports a lot of colors, needs no recharging, is rather affordable, can be folded and pocketed, easy backup (duplex scanner) and reproduction (xerox).

To me, a combination of the Macbook Air and a Sidekick would be ideal. Basically a very portable laptop with a touch screen where the touchscreen can be put over the keyboard (tablet "doodle" mode) or used as a normal laptop. I know there are tons of those out already, but the hinge system is just wrong. I'd even settle for a Macbook air that just has an e-Ink touchscreen on the back of the lid.
 

iDisk

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Jan 2, 2010
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Elsewhere on the show floor, NVIDIA also had a handful of early-development tablet models on display with its Tegra 2 chipset, including the ICD Vega and Notion Ink's Adam. The various tablets ran the Android operating system and featured capacitive touchscreen. No pricing or official release date information is available yet for any of the devices.
Why cant Apple and Nvidia just give Intel their butts to kiss and continue to develop together?? Nvidia is a such a better partner for devs to have open gl/cl on.

iDisk

:apple:
 

NewSc2

macrumors 65816
Jun 4, 2005
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What's the Apple Rumor here? Did Apple make these? How is this related to Apple?
This is new technology that could possibly be used for the rumored Apple tablet. If you just wanted Mac-specific rumors, we'd only see 1 or 2 posts a week. No Android updates, no Intel updates, no possible Google updates. They're all related, you know.
 

Santabean2000

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2007
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Why cant Apple and Nvidia just give Intel their butts to kiss and continue to develop together?? Nvidia is a such a better partner for devs to have open gl/cl on.

iDisk

:apple:
Agreed. Big possibilities there. The traditional CPU is only going to become less relevant.

I think Apple's PA Semi has massive potential long run; 90% of consumers would like/need more efficient processors than more powerful ones.
 

brecklundin

macrumors newbie
Jan 8, 2010
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For anyone who wants a better idea about the PixelQi panels

Nice rumor about the PixelQi panels. Not sure if they would be the sort of thing Apple might use but I find them pretty nice even in their prototype examples. To that effect here are a couple YouTube videos with Mary Lou Jepsen (CEO and cook & bottle washer) and also John Ryan the company's COO:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm8WoItVRn0 (Mary Lou very good video showing the abilities of the panels as they were about 6-mo. back)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7ZErQ5Kl6w (John Ryan indoor demo)

There are a bunch of relevant vids about these panels, and they are nice from all appearances. Still they may not end up as "the answer" but are certainly a move in a positive direction.

Hope this helps anyone who hasn't watched them before...