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Old 11-03-2012, 11:13 PM   #1
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Low Power LCD Screen Might Rival e-Ink

Just came across this article mentioning a new low power LCD screen that uses static RAM to draw each pixel so it needs less power to show on the screen.

Could bridge the gap between battery life and capabilities of e-Ink vs. LCD.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:24 AM   #2
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It certainly looks like it could outperform the existing color e-Ink display.

For black and white displays, there has been non-backlit reflective LCD displays used in the
Ectaco jetBooks and the Aluratek Libre Pro, for some time now.

Luck;
Ken
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:21 AM   #3
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800 times less power usage
So basically a battery life of more than 3 months with display continuously on? And of course a whole lot better refresh rate. This is HUGE development.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:42 AM   #4
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So basically a battery life of more than 3 months with display continuously on? And of course a whole lot better refresh rate. This is HUGE development.
Maybe.
Tech demos do not always lead to viable commercial products.
The price of the screen, the price of the support electronics, the company's ability to ramp up production volume to meet the needs of a major vendor are just some of the things that could derail it.

Mirasol also sounded great on paper...

It would be great if it did get to market at reasonable prices leading to a new generation of ereaders but today's low-cost tablets have tolerable battery life and really low prices. That is going to be a big hurdle price-wise. Can this tech lead to a $199 reader with 40 honest hours battery life? That is the key, not the cool tech in it.

How much market would a 7in ereader using that screen if it came in at $300--from anybody other than Apple?. $250? And that is *today's* market. By next year we may see name-brand tablets at $99.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed but not holding my breath.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:16 AM   #5
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I don't think that article is explaining the technology correctly. LCD screens have liquid crystal molecules that twist when voltages are applied to different degrees to effectively filter out all but one color per pixel when a backlight is shown through them.

(a) it takes a constantly applied voltage difference to keep the crystals that way, and thus energy,

(b) it takes a backlight to illuminate the display.

If there is no light source and no voltage needed to twist the crystals, how can that be lcd? We need a more indepth article that explains what the technology actually is and how it works. That posted article doesn't do that.
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:48 PM   #6
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(a) it takes a constantly applied voltage difference to keep the crystals that way, and thus energy,

(b) it takes a backlight to illuminate the display.

If there is no light source and no voltage needed to twist the crystals, how can that be lcd? We need a more indepth article that explains what the technology actually is and how it works. That posted article doesn't do that.
The display *does* use energy to sustain the image but because they are using an SRAM cell instead of a DRAM cell to drive each pixel the power to drive the screen is much lower. It turns out that the big power hogs in LCD panels are the backlight and the DRAM refresh. The LCDs themselves are very efficient.
In these days of near universal TFT-driven LCDs, it is easy to forget there are other ways to drive LCDs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_..._active-matrix

Ditto for backlights--they are not indispensable. Reflective-LCD panels are still in use all over and there are still a few industrial computers and instruments that use transflective LCDs.

I doubt anybody is making reflective passive LCD panels in an ebook-grade resolution but if they did the energy draw would be comparable to eink.

Where eink has the edge is that their volume allows them to sell the panels cheap enough to undercut anything but the mainstream color LCDs which are relative power hogs. Which is why I'm not sure this new design can really compete with eink at the product level.
Not out of the gate.
And not without a commitment from a high volume vendor like Apple or Amazon. And those won't commit without ann assurance of millions of panels.
a bt of a chicken and egg problem; the tech is fine but the economics is where the dangers lie...

Last edited by fjtorres; 11-04-2012 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:49 PM   #7
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It also says the super low power usage is for a static image without backlight and then compares its power drain to screens that have backlight... still may be interesting development... we'll see when/if it moves from proof-of-concept/vapourware to actual commercial products...
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:54 PM   #8
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It also says the super low power usage is for a static image without backlight and then compares its power drain to screens that have backlight... still may be interesting development... we'll see when/if it moves from proof-of-concept/vapourware to actual commercial products...
Yup.
Given Amazon's inhouse front-lighting tech, they might be a suitable partner. But then again, color eink would probably benefit from the same frontlight tech, too.
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:22 PM   #9
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Battery life is probably the biggest drawback to tablets. My wife has a Kobo and I use my Samsung Galaxy Note for reading.

The Note is awesome because it is always with me, but if I travel and can't plugin I have to be cautious. If I read too many movies, surf the web, listen to music and read on my Note, then there may not be enough power to make calls when I need it.

Not really an issue for me often at home, but an issue when travelling.

This new technology would help.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:23 PM   #10
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Mirasol
Pixel Qi
Color eInk

Why do I feel like I'm missing a half dozen alternate epaper technologies that haven't gotten off the ground yet?
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:10 PM   #11
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Mirasol
Pixel Qi
Color eInk

Why do I feel like I'm missing a half dozen alternate epaper technologies that haven't gotten off the ground yet?
Because you are?
The poster child for the challenges of alternate display tech is Canon's SED. Always a year late and a thousand bucks too high until Canon gave up.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:47 PM   #12
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Nate has just posted an update, showing a video of the new screen:

http://www.diginfo.tv/v/12-0207-r-en.php

My verdict: Looks like they're pushing the low-power video capabilities. The High-Gamut screen looks much better than color-eink, also.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ken Maltby View Post
It certainly looks like it could outperform the existing color e-Ink display.

For black and white displays, there has been non-backlit reflective LCD displays used in the
Ectaco jetBooks and the Aluratek Libre Pro, for some time now.

Luck;
Ken
I'm probably an oddball but I prefer the screen of my Aluratek Libre Pro over every eInk that I've used.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
Mirasol
Pixel Qi
Color eInk

Why do I feel like I'm missing a half dozen alternate epaper technologies that haven't gotten off the ground yet?
Mmmm. Pixel Qi. My white whale. Even now I'm summoning all my willpower to resist the urge to go on a Google hunt that will lead to no good.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:35 AM   #15
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Unfortunately the reason we would want these as e-readers would precisely be to "read", a heavy use according to the article.
So I wonder what the real consumption and battery range would be should this technology hit the stores. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
In the meantime ...


Quote:
In comparison, the new screen mentioned above draws 3 mW while displaying a static image. That means that when it’s not in heavy use (reading, for example) this screen is 800 times more efficient than the one on the iPad 2.
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