Pixel Qi resumes shipment of 3Qi low-power displays

Pixel Qi's 3Qi shipments resume after a rash of orders knocks out the initial stock

Pixel Qi is trying to meet the growing demand for its innovative 3Qi displays, and has resumed shipment after a rash of orders for the low-power screens, the company said on Wednesday.

The 10.1-inch displays, targeted at netbook-type devices, tablets and e-readers, became available on July 1 through online retailer Maker Shed's website. The initial stock sold out in under a day, after which Maker Shed made the US$275 display available for pre-order.

The 3Qi display is still available for pre-order from Maker Shed, but Pixel Qi said shipments are on their way to the retailer.

"Sales have been much higher than expected -- but we have the screens and are delighted about the enthusiastic reception from individuals running small projects. We are pleased to be able to support their efforts," said Mary Lou Jepsen, CEO of Pixel Qi, in an e-mail.

The highly anticipated 3Qi LCD (liquid crystal display) screens can absorb ambient light to brighten screens and reduce power consumption to extend laptop battery life. The displays reduce the need for the backlight, which are used to light up conventional laptop screens.

The display is designed to view content directly under sunlight to read e-books, or under normal lighting conditions to view multimedia content like video, depending on the surroundings. Pixel Qi has also previously said the screens may not be effective in viewing high-definition multimedia content in dark rooms, for example.

The screens are targeted at the do-it-yourself community and enthusiasts who experiment with PCs and electronics. The screen isn't available directly on netbooks or laptops yet, so enthusiasts have to swap out existing screens to install the 3Qi displays.

One tester successfully installed a 3Qi screen on an Acer Aspire One D250 netbook. Pixel Qi has said the screens have been tested to work with Samsung's N130 and Lenovo's S10-2 netbooks. Tablet maker Notion Ink has also shown its upcoming Adam tablet with a 3Qi display.

Beyond enthusiasts, Pixel Qi is also focused on working with "bigger customers," Jepsen said. She didn't name specific customers, but the company has previously said that the displays would be shipped with netbooks and laptops.

Pixel Qi in March signed a deal with One Laptop Per Child to develop screens for future XO devices. It is likely that a variant of the 3Qi screen will appear on OLPC's XO-3 tablet, which will also function as an e-book reader. Jepsen was formerly the chief technology officer at OLPC, but left the nonprofit to start Pixel Qi in order to develop low-power screen technology.

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