Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Will Apple Use A Pixel Qi Screen?

This is a rumor I've heard. I have nothing more than that.

Who is Pixel Qi? The company founded by Mary Lou Jepsen, who created the revolutionary screen for the OLPC notebook:
It features a 7.5 inch, 1200×900 pixel, TFT screen and self-refreshing display with higher resolution (200 DPI) than 95 percent of the laptops on the market today. Two display modes are available: a transmissive, full-color mode, and a reflective, high-resolution black and white mode that is sunlight readable. Both consume very little power: the transmissive mode consumes one watt—about one seventh of the average LCD power consumption in a laptop; the reflective mode consumes a miserly 0.2 watts.

I quoted her earlier in this blog:
In essence, the future of computing is all about the screens.

This is Pixel Qi's approach to screens:
We are focused on the production of next-generation computing platform -- we have both a long term vision and the first step products towards that vision -- with an ASIC like approach. Pixel Qi is a fabless ASIC company that specializes in screens. The screen is just a big ASIC chip -- we work closely with the large LCD factories. The trick -- we use their standard processes and materials and can produce new screens with radical new performance in about a year. We are not a demo in a year, but rather we can get all the way to high volume mass production in a year. Compare this to other display technologies which take on average 20 years to first production, and perhaps never achieve high volume mass production. We are working on a variety of projects some of which our customers would like us to keep confidential. Below is some of the work we can discuss now.

Their stated products: a sunlight-readable screen, a touchscreen, and an ePaper-like screen.

I contacted Pixel Qi for confirmation or denial of this rumor and got this email from Casey Hsu:
we can't say if it's true or not
sorry - wish we could help more.
- Casey

This sorta kinda almost in a way reminds me of Steve Jobs's off the record revelation about his health. "I'm not sick, but ..."

This rumor caught my attention because it seems exactly like what Apple has done in the past. While everyone else was using 5.25" floppy disks, Apple went with 3.5". While everyone else was doing bland beige boxes, Apple gave us the colorful iMac. And so on. It would be exactly like Apple to be the first to use a new screen technology.

I leave it up to others to do more digging.

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