New LCD technology may be the solution I’m looking for.

A week or so ago I made a comment wishing that someone would make an e-ink screen for laptop or desktop use. E-ink would be an ideal solution as it offers several advantages over current screen technology. Screens using e-ink offer a great reading experience even in bright light environments, they don’t put undue strain on the eyes and draw very little power (e-readers like the Kindle can last up to 40 hours on a single charge). No longer a wish, a company called Pixel Qi has developed new technology that isn’t quite e-ink but definitely a step in the right direction. Their new LCD technology is viewable in full sunlight and looks very similar to epaper. To see what I’m talking about take a look at this video comparing Pixel Qi’s new LCD screen to the Kindle’s e-ink screen. Of course this new technology shouldn’t be confused with the Kindle’s e-ink technology, but it still looks fantastic.

From the Pixel Qi website: “The readability and legibility of our new screens rival the best epaper available today.  What’s new about our screens: fast video rate update (refresh), and fully saturated color at low pricing because we use standard manufacturing materials, processes and factories.  Our screens use 1/2 to 1/4 the power of a regular LCD screen, and when integrated carefully with the device can increase battery life between charges by 5-fold. You can use our screens in laptops outside in bright sunlight.  Look for this dramatic power savings in 2010, in 2009 we are focused on being a run-in change into the existing electronics in netbooks and ebook readers.”

Two other videos worth watching are here and here. There’s also an interesting article in Time that’s worth reading.

My love of e-ink technology is no surprise to anyone that knows me and I must say that this information is very exciting. This new technology provides options that I’ve been craving for a long time, an epaper format on a fully functional machine. One can only imagine the usefulness of a machine with three to four times the battery life of currently available laptops and less eye strain. I for one can’t wait to see this new LCD technology on a commercial scale. Replace the current screen in the MacBook Air with Pixel Qi’s new LCD screen and you might just have the perfect business machine.

I can see additional application for this technology in acute care pharmacy as well. One of our biggest issues with existing tablet PCs is battery life. Our decentralized model puts pharmacists at the patient bedside where they use tablet PCs to access patient information such as current drug regimens, labs, physician notes, etc. The tablets have become a valuable tool for pharmacists, but require frequent charging due to heavy use. Extending the battery life by several hours is a very appealing prospect.

This is certainly a glimpse of the future. Regardless of who adopts this screen technology first, they will be the machine on my wish list. Just tell me where to point my credit card.

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