LG's showing neat display technology in its new 14.1-inch LCD screen for laptops: It's apparently the first that lets you switch between back-lit and transreflective modes at the flick of a switch. And that means you can see the display when you're using your laptop outside.
In fact, it's actually designed to use sunlight as an illuminator, with the light passing through the screen to a reflective layer and back out, removing the need for you to have a backlight on to see what you're doing. Outdoor contrast on-screen is over 9:1 which compares well with more normal laptop screen outdoor contrast ratios of 2:1 or 3:1.
Of course this screen also includes a conventional backlight so you can use the laptop indoors with a more traditional viewing set-up: the design must sandwich the LCD and partially reflecting layers over a backlighting system. And of course since it doesn't require any power to light the screen up, it can reduce your laptop's power consumption by "up to 75%" which translates directly into more hours of use from your battery.
However it actually works, it sounds like a boon for people who often use their laptop in outdoor situations, and if the tech becomes widely adopted it opens up the chance for people to take their work outside on a pleasant summer's day.
It's due for showcasing at CES 2009.