Pixel Qi Gone

Same-day update: According to Charbax in Comments, Pixel Qi was acquired by Google:

Google bought Pixel Qi, hopefully billions of Google dollars are to be used to mass produce it. I expect Google hired other Pixel Qi engineers at Google, not only Mary Lou Jepsen and that part of what they are doing at Google is to prepare Pixel Qi technology for mass production for Android and Chromebook. It’s exactly what Pixel Qi needed to make a difference, Google money.

I think Charbax would know. He’s always been the one to get the best videos with Pixel Qi and Mary Lou Jepsen.

Second same-day update: Google did not buy Pixel Qi. According to Brad Linder in Comments, Tripuso now owns Pixel Qi’s intellectual property — and Pixel Qi itself is dead.

Pixel QI is Officially out of Business

Currently nobody knows the exact status of Pixel QI. The executive team all fled, the main phone number for their headquarters in California is out of service, as is their satellite office in Texas. None of the email address I have gained over the the last five years are working anymore. This includes their entire executive team, IT department and press office. It was a fun ride Pixel QI, you will be missed.

When eBook devices were still the Next Next Thing, Pixel Qi’s solution offered a way to save battery life by letting people have color when they needed it and low-power monochrome when only text was involved. And monochrome mode was very sunlight-friendly (color eventually was too, but not very vibrant).

It simply went nowhere.

Why?

I’m convinced Apple killed them. The iPad’s screen was gorgeous and people put up with it being problematic in sunlight. The colors popped like nothing else out there and battery life got better. There was no longer any room for Pixel Qi.

Even “pity tablets” wouldn’t have it, preferring to go with rotten TN screens because, you know, color! Color all the time.

And without Pixel Qi ever being in mass production, it couldn’t create screens cheap enough to compete even against rotten TN ones.

Once founder Mary Lou Jepsen bolted for Google, it was only a matter of time for the end. Her enthusiasm alone kept people interested in Pixel Qi. Without her, there was no one to woo the tech press.

The question now is whether or not Amazon will continue with research into the Liquavista process. With Pixel Qi dead, there’s no competition. And Amazon has its own line-up of “iPad” — the Kindle Fire tablets.

Previously here:

New Nook Tablet With New Pixel Qi Screen?
Pixel Qi Screen In Another Tablet We’ll Never Buy
A Pixel Qi Tablet Spotted In America
Pixel Qi Bombshell: Three Million Screens Shipped!
That Pixel Qi Screen: A Flop

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11 Comments

Filed under eBooks: Screens

11 responses to “Pixel Qi Gone

  1. Google bought Pixel Qi, hopefully billions of Google dollars are to be used to mass produce it. I expect Google hired other Pixel Qi engineers at Google, not only Mary Lou Jepsen and that part of what they are doing at Google is to prepare Pixel Qi technology for mass production for Android and Chromebook. It’s exactly what Pixel Qi needed to make a difference, Google money.

      • Nah. Google hired Mary Lou Jepsen to work on a new project. There’s been no evidence that they bought out Pixel Qi or its assets, although it’s certainly possible.

        But while Charbax has always been gung ho on Pixel Qi’s screen technology, there’s certainly no evidence Google has any plans to mass produce or distribute screens. The displays were always relatively expensive to produce and didn’t look as good as E Ink or traditional LCD screens in person.

        Jepsen and Ryan, however, certainly know a thing or two about displays, which is why they’re working on other display-related projects at Google X.

        http://www.wsj.com/articles/google-working-on-large-scale-display-technology-1412346897

      • Pixel Qi isn’t more expensive to mass produce and looks as good if not better than any LCD backlit. There is no evidence blah blah, I don’t have a back stage pass to everything that is happening at Google X, in fact Google X has dissapointingly released exactly zero ptoducts thus far. 10*10 blah blah, I wish Google X put their money where their mouths are and get real hardware released. And its so obvious to be in Android/Chromebooks interest to have sunlight readable massively lower power LCD displays mass manufactured, fits perfectly in with Google X, so really, expect to see 40+ hour battery life Pixel Qi ARM Chromebooks available at sub-$100 as is the OLPC idea, should be this year and not the next.

      • Right — my point was that Mike was reporting your opinion as if it were fact. I’m not saying these things *aren’t* happening (although I honestly doubt it). But there’s no evidence that they are… and since Google has only ever actually produced one Chromebook in-house, there’s also not much reason to believe they’d be using any technology they acquired to design new Chromebook hardware.

      • Google hired the CEO and founder of Pixel Qi to be the head of displays at Google, if she really is the boss of displays at Google, this basically allows her to use Google money to mass produce Pixel Qi technology (and Pixel Qi related technology!), finally. Sure it’s not going to be the only display project at Google, there will be giant displays too, pico 4K projectors, hologram communicators, etc. but to suggest that because a giant like Google hires the Pixel Qi team (at least part of the team) somehow means that Pixel Qi is dead, that is kind of a bogus way to think. Pixel Qi is a privately owned company, they don’t have to announce publicly if/when any company acquires/hires/uses their technology.

      • @Charbax

        Actually, Pixel Qi has revealed that its IP now belongs to John Gilmore and has been released under the Defensive Patent License:
        http://the-digital-reader.com/2015/01/14/pixel-qi-isnt-dead-just-pining-fjords/

  2. Ian

    Last december, liquavista opened its new office in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. They also opened a cleanroom for test production purposes for a new generation electrowetting screens for ereaders and tablets. I hope we’ll all be still alive to experience the actual introduction in a tablet/ereader.

  3. Jon

    There is also the new Mirasol SMI version from Qualcomm.
    http://liliputing.com/2014/06/qualcomms-new-mirasol-sunlight-viewable-display-color-better.html

    Although, it’s been 7 months without a peep since then.

  4. It couldn’t help that the main product which featured PixelQi was the gigantic flop that was the Notion Ink Adam. Surprisingly after that disaster they’re still in business, cranking out more pedestran stuff like a convertible tablet named Cain :http://notionink.com/

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