Clover Systems launches Pixel Qi-equipped netbook

February 1, 2011 // 2:17 p.m.

Tags: #clover-systems #electrowetting #lcd #netbook #pixel-qi #reflective #transmissive #transreflective

In an announcement that Pixel Qi followers have been waiting over two years to hear, a US company has launched a netbook with a Pixel Qi sunlight-readable display.

While Pixel Qi was founded back in 2008 by May Lou Jepsen as a spin-off from Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project, products using its innovative display technology have been hard to come by.

The transreflective display technology promises to draw significantly less power than a traditional LCD, while enabling maximum readability in direct sunlight, switching between a backlit full-colour display mode and a greyscale mode on demand.

The technology was new and innovative two years ago, but similar devices are now appearing from other companies - such as electrowetting specialist Liquavista, recently acquired by Samsung - meaning that Pixel Qi needs to get products to market fast if it doesn't want to squander its technological head-start.

A US company by the name of Clover Systems, which is traditionally a maker of CD and DVD duplication machines, has announced that it's giving Pixel Qi a chance via its SunBook netbook.

The specifications of the device, which uses a 1.66GHz Atom N450 single-core processor with 1GB of DDR2 RAM and a 250GB hard drive, are nothing special, but the display is a major selling point.

The 10.1in Pixel Qi screen offers a 1,024 x 768 resolution, plus the aforementioned ability to switch between a backlit transmissive mode and a battery-saving, daylight-viewable reflective mode. While disabling the backlight should result in significant power savings, Clover Systems hasn't made any claims about the battery life of the machine in this mode yet.

The Windows 7 Starter-equipped netbook is on sale in the US priced at $795 - a significant premium over traditional netbooks, which works out at £504 if you pay using pounds via Paypal. The company hasn't yet announced any plans to make the netbook officially available in the UK either.

Could Pixel Qi's technology be the next big technology for mobile devices, or is Samsung more likely to bring transreflective displays to the mass market? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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