If Pixel Qi has its way, the Kindle won’t have much of a leg up on netbooks for readability. The startup plans to implement its e-reader screens on netbooks everywhere.
Mary Lou Jepsen is a former OLPC CTO and is showing off the new Pixel Qi product at Computex Taipei 2009, which falls next week. The netbook screen is called the 2qi, a 10.1-inch device designed for use in “a black-and-white e-ink mode for reading text documents and e-books, and two color modes, designed for use indoors or in bright sunlight, that are more suitable for Web surfing and video playback.”
The E-ink mode turns off the back light to preserve the netbook’s battery life. Many consider e-reader screens essential for avoiding the eye strain of reading documents and online books on a conventional display.
Jepsen says the screens will be on netbooks by the end of this year – perhaps a snazzy holiday gift? Amazon can’t be happy with the development, as its Kindle e-reader will seem quite a bit less differentiated if the only difference between it and netbooks is its costliness, lack of a web browser, and form factor.
Pixel Qi COO John Ryan is proud of the energy efficiency delivered by the 3qi screen:
“What you’re looking at is a screen that’s entirely reflective… It’s just running like e-paper so that it’s running on the ambient light. It’s not fighting the office light , it’s not fighting the sunlight. That makes it better for reading but it also cuts the power consumption. The backlight in the screen is typically the largest power drain in any notebook computer.”
You can say that again. Netbook battery life is a sticking point for many loathe to make the shift from desktop to netbook, and 6-cell batteries are expensive. Will Pixel Qi revolutionize netbooks with its e-reader screens? I hope so!