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Extra Screen for Laptops Hints at Better Things to Come


Pixel Qi's display tech is impressive, but until now it's not been available as a mainstream product—only as a DIY replacement for 7-inch netbooks. Now there's the Dscreen-Qi10. It's a USB/wireless USB extra screen for laptops, and it's impressive.

Okay, we admit we're stretching the definition of product here in a consumer-gadget-ready sense, as the Qi10 is still somewhat of a project once you buy it, and it's destined for OEMs as much as for enthusiastic hardware hackers. It's a two-part product really, a 10.1-inch 1024 by 600-pixels Pixel Qi screen (with its clever dual mode transreflective/backlit LCD display tech for indoors or sunlight readability) and a Display Solutions driver board that hooks up to a port on your computer to act as a power source.

The resulting system is impressive: It eats just 1.5W of power, so a single USB cable can serve as both connector and power source (handy for netbook users with limited ports) and it can also act as a wireless additional screen (using wireless USB, and presumably a battery pack), meaning you could conceivably pair it up with your computer, than go for a stroll in the garden to read a page of text. Though this is an unlikely way you'll use the system when it goes on sale at the end of the month, it does illustrate some excellent strengths of the Pixel Qi unit.

And the device is more important than that. Because a 10-inch 1024 by 600 pixel display is exactly what some of the larger tablet PCs will be sporting in the next year or so. So the Qi10 is an indication that Pixel Qi's technology is mature enough for an OEM to buy it up in bulk, and produce either novel battery-powered extra screens for laptops, or to slot into a neat 10-inch Android tablet and produce a tablet that aces both multimedia, and outdoors-e-book reading powers.

Please Pixel Qi—stop teasing us with these half-real products and DIY treats! Get a tablet-maker on board and give us the dual-mode tablets we long for?

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