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Old 09-18-2010, 10:23 PM   #1
DonaldL.
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Notion Ink tablet design explained

Week-End Special!
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Old 09-19-2010, 03:20 AM   #2
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Very cool article except that I don't believe it's ever coming out.
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:16 AM   #3
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Well, if it ever does get released, I'm going to be first in line for a review of it.
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:45 PM   #4
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Yeah, I'm still waiting with baited breath as well. If it as good as they make it out to be, it should be a far better device than the iPad partly because of the openness of the Android platform.

It will be interesting to see if the Android Market is supported or not though. I've seen a few articles indicating that not many tablets will be until Android 3, which is supposed to support tablets.

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Old 09-19-2010, 07:35 PM   #5
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This has looked too good to be true for so long I'm beginning to wonder if they will ever pull it off. Don't hold your breath for too long, you will suffocate while waiting. Only time will tell now...
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Old 09-19-2010, 09:37 PM   #6
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I'm planning to replace my OLPC with one of these. After getting spoiled with a Pixel Qi display, it's unthinkable to go back to the limitations of a standard LCD, so this is my only real upgrade option.
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:03 AM   #7
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Could you elaborate on the advantages of the Pixel Qi? I have read the name quite often, but I don't really understand what is so great about them.

pixelqi.com says you can read their displays in any light und they have a very low power consumption? So, is this some sort of mix between standard LCD and eInk? Weird...
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mSSM View Post
Could you elaborate on the advantages of the Pixel Qi? I have read the name quite often, but I don't really understand what is so great about them.

pixelqi.com says you can read their displays in any light und they have a very low power consumption? So, is this some sort of mix between standard LCD and eInk? Weird...
It's more or less an hybrid screen.
Normally it'd be backlit and has colors just like a normal lcd-screen.
But when you turn the backlit off (or when environment light is stronger than the backlit) it'd reflect in B&W, like eink does.
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Old 09-20-2010, 10:05 AM   #9
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I don't think it's great to use terms like "mix" or "hybrid" because people tend to think the screen is half E-Ink and half LCD, which isn't true.

Though the screens could indeed be called mixes or hybrids of LCD varieties, it's important to distinguish electrophoretic displays (EPD) from liquid crystal displays (LCD). They are completely different technologies.

For those who don't already know this, LCDs are not all backlit. Look at most digital watches, calculators, and many other devices and you'll see a variety of reflective LCDs. A higher-resolution reflective LCD panel can be found in the jetBook and Aluratek Libre readers. It relies on a mirror-like layer below the liquid crystal to bounce light through.

Backlit displays basically ditch the mirror layer and put lights behind the liquid crystals so you can see them in more diverse lighting conditions (particularly in the dark). However, the light needs quite a bit of power to transmit brightly through all the layers of an LCD. Since there's no reflective layer behind the liquid crystal layer, the screens will not display well when external lighting overpowers the backlight (like how you can't see out the window at night when all the indoor lights are on).

Pixel Qi is a mix or hybrid of transmissive (backlit) LCD and reflective (non-backlit) LCD. Screens somewhat like Pixel Qi have existed for years ("transflective" screens), but they are not as highly refined or redesigned as Pixel Qi is.

So when the backlight is on, you have a backlit display just like any other transmissive LCD. When you take it into bright light, the mirror layer present allows the screen to remain visible like reflective LCD, though you lose colors due to the position of the color filters in the design. The mirror is always there, whether the backlight is on or off, so in that sense it is a reflective LCD (which has always been a kind of e-paper)...but it gives you the option of toggling a backlight for color or viewability in lower light.

The advantages are that you get full LCD redraw speeds so you can handle video or other tasks that require rapid screen updates, you of course get the option of color, and you get a sort of resolution boost as the color subpixels in the normally 1024x600 color screen give you an effective monochrome resolution of 3072x600 for things like text, if the software supports subpixel rendering. With the backlight off, you reduce the screen's power consumption by around 80% as well.

Hope that helps.

Addendum: Oh, and they're now working on a 7" display in addition to their 10" model. Hopefully someone somewhere actually uses it in one of their real products.
http://www.pixelqi.com/blog1/

Last edited by LDBoblo; 09-20-2010 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:23 AM   #10
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What LDBoblo said...

It's pretty much a standard LCD display (except that each pixel is limited to a single RGB color and has to work in concert with adjacent pixels to create the desired specific colors) and a reflective layer is inserted between the display and the backlight so that ambient light can be used to see the display, rather than relying on a powered backlight. The colors come from a filter layer between the backlight and the reflector, so you've only got a grayscale display with the backlight turned off. But, since the backlight consumes the lion's share of power used by most portable devices, you get dramatically improved battery life without it. And, the screen is perfectly readable outdoors, even under direct sunlight.

In my experience with the older version of the Pixel Qi technology used in the OLPC XO, it's not quite as good as a normal LCD for color usage and it's not quite as good as e-ink with the backlight off, but you do get 95% of the virtue of both display-types consolidated into a single device. That's hard to argue against and it's even harder to give up once you've lived with it for a while.

The information at this link is for the OLPC display, but some of it is still relevant for the newer Pixel Qi displays:
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Display#Ou...sharing_an_LCD
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:42 AM   #11
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What LDBoblo said...

It's pretty much a standard LCD display (except that each pixel is limited to a single RGB color and has to work in concert with adjacent pixels to create the desired specific colors).
The OLPC XO's pixel array and the current Pixel Qi pixel array are completely different. The current Pixel Qi layout is the same as other standard LCDs with 3 RGB subpixels per pixel.
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:13 PM   #12
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Oh, good. I wasn't aware of that improvement. That should make it pretty much equal to a standard LCD for color reproduction, then. So, that gives us roughly 100% of the virtue of an LCD and 95% that of e-ink, then.
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:50 PM   #13
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As far as I understand it - the only real downside is the fact that the screen still uses up energy during transmissive mode (i.e. looking like e-ink), albeit very little.

I wonder what the battery duration would look like. If such a device lasts a day in "e-ink mode" (I know the term is not exactly correct), I would be perfectly content with it. Charging it once a day is not a bigge (over night?).
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:57 PM   #14
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My understanding is that in "e-ink mode" the Adam is supposed to last up to 160 hours. Which is mentioned in this Slashgear article.

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Old 09-22-2010, 06:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mSSM View Post
As far as I understand it - the only real downside is the fact that the screen still uses up energy during transmissive mode (i.e. looking like e-ink), albeit very little.

I wonder what the battery duration would look like. If such a device lasts a day in "e-ink mode" (I know the term is not exactly correct), I would be perfectly content with it. Charging it once a day is not a bigge (over night?).
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My understanding is that in "e-ink mode" the Adam is supposed to last up to 160 hours.
Let's call it "reflective mode". You see...the screen reflects the light of outside sources in that mode, rather than transmitting or emitting its own light. It's not "e-ink" or really anything like E-Ink, except for being reflective, which LCDs have done for many years before E-Ink existed.

The 160-hour figure is rather ridiculous, and highly, highly unlikely even with good low-power boards. 160 hours in standby, which means the screen is off and the device is not actively in use, is possible.
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