Pixel Qi closes down, its IP may find an owner though (Updated)

Update: turns out that Pixel Qi still exists, it's products are still being made by some makers (including CPT), and it's IP actually has been released to the public (under the DPL license). Read more here.

Back in 2010, Pixel Qi started producing its interesting dual-mode displays. This technology was promising as it allowed you to have a regular LCD display that can be switched to a black-and-white sunlight-readable power-efficient mode. Pixel Qi never managed to sell a lot of displays or find any serious device partner.

The company is now out of business. US-based Tripuso Display Solutions still produces Pixel-Qi displays under license, and may end up buying Pixel Qi's IP. In any case this is a sad end to an innovative technology that managed to attract an investment from 3M back in 2011.

3 Million Pixel-Qi displayed shipped?

Update: OLPC display's aren't exactly Pixel Qi displays, read more below

Pixel Qi's CEO Mary Lou Jespen reports in her blog that over 3 million Pixel Qi displays have shipped to date - and they are ramping up for higher volumes. She says that these displayed are used in OLPC laptops, several tablets and netbooks and security/military devices.

OLPC displays aren't exactly Pixel Qi displays. We have talked briefly with Mary, and she explained to us that Pixel Qi was spun-off from OLPC - to commercialize the unique display technology. The two companies have a royalty-free cross-license agreement, and the Pixel Qi displays are more advanced then the first-gen product used in the OLPC laptop.

3M invests in Pixel Qi

3M New Ventures announced that it will invest in Pixel Qi - and this will conclude the company's Series "B" investment round. Pixel Qi says that this round will enable it to ramp up display production. Pixel Qi will also enter new markets (digital signage and touch applications). The investment amount wasn't disclosed.

Pixel-Qi updates

There are some interesting updates from Pixel-Qi. First of all, they have completed their first tranche of series B finance - good news. Second, they are developing a 7” screen for tablets and e-readers that is planned for mass production in H1 2011. Samples will be available earlier, perhaps by late Q4 2010.

Finally, Pixel-Qi says that they a tight supply chain and Apple’s disruptive iPad had delayed their display production. They say that things are better now, and we should expect production and devices soon (or, at least, device makers will make announcements "coming this fall").

How to install a Pixel Qi display on your netbook

You can now buy a Pixel-Qi display for your netbook (10.1"). Engadget has posted a nice guide on how to actually install such a display. Beside the how-to guide, they also review the quality. They say that in a normal usage mode, it's basically just like a normal LCD in regard to brightness and colors. The viewing angle, however, is poor. Pixel Qi promises a new, better-angled display soon. Outdoor visibility is awesome.

Pixel-Qi started to offer DYI displays, sold out in 2 days

Pixel-Qi has started to offer 10.1" DYI displays a couple of days ago. They are available here, for $275, but are already sold-out. Hopefully they'll have more by next week.

These screens replace those found in the Samsung N130 & Lenovo S10-2. Although they do work in other models, the only guaranteed compatibility is on those 2 specific netbooks.

Changing the screen of your netbook is easy, the process takes about 5-10 minutes using a small screwdriver. It’s simple: 2-4 screws have to be removed to allow unsnapping of the front plastic bezel. Once that step is done, removal of another few screws allows the screen to be unlatched and its cable disconnected. Next, the Pixel Qi screen is plugged in, screwed in, and the bezel snapped back in place. That’s it.