Latest update: ZTE Light Tablet with Pixel Qi screen [June 3, 2011]
While this is not yet with the anti-glare anti-reflective coating and the reflective mode for touch is not yet implemented in this ZTE sample, this is how the ZTE Light with Pixel Qi might look like, the fully optimized version should be shipping in the third quarter [end of Q3] of this year.
Leveraging Pixel Qi’s technology, four tablets will be launched for China’s growing e-reader market, and are being shown at GITEX in Dubai. Combining Pixel Qi’s displays with Shizhu’s design creates an excellent multi-media experience in a slim, lightweight design with extended battery life. Shizhu has a key partnership with Southern Media Group, whose paper publications reach millions of subscribers daily, and whose media set the pace for investigative journalism, popular and gossip content, and online presence in China.
(See also: Content Really Matters for Tablets [Mary Lou Jepsen's blog, Oct 12, 2011])
Latest update: Pixel Qi launches 10.1″ super thin 1280×800 screen [May 31, 2011]
Here’s a new comparison between Pixel Qi and the iPad followed by Mary Lou Jepsen’s status report on the latest Pixel Qi news, their first showing of the new 1280×800 thinner 10.1″ wide view screen.
[10:20 -- 10:25]:
“We think our technology will be the dominant display technology in 5 years.”
[11:17 -- 11:41]:
“It’s bit market driven from our customers because we get to exist and to engage some of the largest factories that have ever been made, and for that to work their economics need very high volumes. We need to have customers who really commit to large purchase orders almost before we start to design.”
See also: Mary Lou Jepsen of Pixel Qi at TEDxTaipei [May 9, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
You have to consider, while it has been 23 months ago that I [i.e. Charbax] published my first Pixel Qi interviews from Taiwan (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14) while that might sound like a long time, in the display industry, 2 years is peanuts. Things move rather slowly there. Since then, there has been an economic crisis and a sort of re-focus from netbooks to tablets, although netbooks have sold more than 100 million units in 3 years, the display investments are focused on tablets. The display business can be considered to be the worlds biggest non-profit industry, the 5 biggest LCD makers who produce 90% of the worlds LCDs, produce for $120 Billion in screens every year but can only make small profit margins out of that because of the strong competition and the large volumes shipped. Those companies that produce the worlds LCD screens have very high costs, very high risks, little flexibility. Let’s hope Pixel Qi has amply well convinced the big LCD makers like Quanta, CPT, Chi Mei, Samsung, LG, Sharp, Sony, Foxconn, let’s hope that they have all signed with Pixel Qi and that they are all right now in the process of tuning the mass manufacture of millions of these screens for all the worlds upcoming Chrome OS notebooks, ARM Powered Macbooks, Kindle4s, iPad3s, a solution for using the interactive UIs of Android on all the worlds e-readers. It would also be nice to double the battery runtime and improve outdoor readability on all the worlds Smartphones using Pixel Qi.
On Mobile World Congress 2011 the Chinese ZTE Announces Smart Terminal Strategy Aiming At the Middle-to-High-End Markets [Feb 15] (emphasis is mine):
The smart terminal strategy signifies ZTE’s accelerated move to embrace the middle-to-high-end markets, while demonstrating its commitment to offering an entire range of star products in the smart device market. The product portfolio will span from smart personal devices to smart home and business products. Currently very few companies in the industry can offer smart products in all three categories.
The latest IDC report shows that ZTE was among the top five in the world in terms of the sales volume of handsets in 2010. According to analysts, ZTE’s previous terminal strategy focusing on middle-to-low-end products obviously no longer fits with the current competition landscape and the company’s own position in the industry.
ZTE, with its dominant presence in the smart terminal arena and deep understanding of smart technologies trends, has been increasing its investment in this field. In the last two years, it has become a mainstream player in the global smart terminals markets with the introduction of star products including the first WM6.5 smartphone, Bluebelt 2, the Blade Android smartphone, and the Light tablet PC. The great performance of the Blade in high-end markets including Europe and Japan has also proved its operational ability in the smart products market.
Smart terminal devices at MWC 2011
ZTE is showcasing an entire range of smart terminal products to the industry at this year’s Mobile World Congress, including the Skate Android smartphone with its 4.3-inch super-large screen, the Amigo Android slide-cover phone specifically designed for young and fashionable users who like social networking; the Blade Android smartphone and the Brew MP handset, the F952, which is based on the WAC (Wholesale Applications Community) standard, as well as the Rugged Blade which incorporates “three proof” (dustproof, waterproof, and shockproof) functionality.
ZTE also showcased the Light series tablet PCs – including the 7 inch Light which is popular in Europe, Australia, and Russia, the Light 2 which will be the first tablet that uses the Pixel Qi’s sunlight-readable liquid crystal screen and DOLBY sound system technology, and the Light 10-inch, which features a faster processor, supports Android 3.0 and will be launched in Q3 2011.
In addition, with the Internet TV Box, ZTE is able to integrate TV as a consumer electronics product for home use into the camp of smart terminal products as it uses multiple Internet access modes including 3G, HSPA+ and WiFi to make it a novel integrated terminal combining Web surfing, HD movies, video calls, gaming, and DLNA at the same time.
Latest update: Pixel Qi launches new displays at Computex [May 19]
At Computex 2011 we will show two new additions to our family of sunlight-readable low-power displays. Both the new 7″ display (1024×600 resolution) and the new 10″ display (1280×800 resolution) build on Pixel Qi’s award-winning technology delivering excellent rendering of multi-media and e-reader content under any conditions – and at a power savings of up to 80% over conventional LCDs.
Latest update: Pixel Qi takes aim at Android tablets with higher-res 10-inch and 7-inch reflective LCDs (hands-on) [May 31, 2011]
… the team has returned to Computex with the 7-inch (1024 x 600) panel that was teased in December last year and a new higher resolution 10-inch (1280 x 800) panels offering an 80 percent power savings over conventional LCDs, according to Pixel Qi. In fact, the 10-inch panel consumes just 2.7W in color mode or 0.4W in reflective “eReader” mode.
We had the chance to see the new displays up close here at Computex and were immediately struck by the improvement in pixel density on the 10-inch panel. Making the leap to WVGA has been a major boon, as identical images looked sharper and better-defined than on the 1024 x 600 current-gen Pixel Qi display. The brightness on the new screen is lower than on its predecessor, but that’s because the company still hasn’t finalized things — we’re promised significantly better readability with the backlight off in the final product and brighter pictures when it’s on. The 7-incher, originally intended for mass production in the second quarter will now sample in Q3, to be followed by the more pixel-dense 10-inch model, which will hit production in Q4. Scope out the newness in the gallery below or jump past the break for video.
This is extremely good news for Pixel Qi trying to pursue device manufacturers to use its outstanding screen technology for more than a year already. Their press release is quite proud to announce that ZTE introduces 7” Tablet PC with Pixel Qi’s Sunlight Readable Low Power Display [Feb 14] (emphasis is mine):
Leveraging leading edge technologies from both companies, the Light 2 tablet combines the features and performance of a 1GHz processor running the Android operating system with a 7-inch high-resolution Pixel Qi display to offer an excellent multi-media experience in a slim, light weight design with extended battery life.
“We are excited to partner with Pixel Qi to bring their innovative display technology to market,” said Adam Zhang, VP & President of ZTE Mobile Broadband Device. “It brings a new level of performance to our family of tablet PC’s, rendering excellent images under any light conditions.”
“Working with ZTE, a world-leading telecommunication company with a global customer base, provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to address a world-wide market,” added Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen, CEO and founder of Pixel Qi. “We look forward to a long-lasting partnership.”
The display is manufactured in a Pixel Qi partnership with CPT (Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd.). Based in Taoyuan, Taiwan, CPT manufactures nearly 40 million displays per month and is the #2 manufacturer of small and middle sized LCDs in the world. [See more on that in my post Pixel Qi and CPT alliance for sunlight readability [Dec 22, 2010]]
The ZTE Light 2 tablet PC features a 12.6mm super slim design, Android 2.2, a hi-speed 1GHz processor and 4GB of memory. The 7-inch low-power Pixel Qi display has multi-touch capacitive touch screen and a screen resolution of 1024×600 pixels delivering a pixel density of 170 pixels per inch.
Pixel Qi’s award-winning 3Qi display technology renders quality full-color images plus full-motion video and, in high ambient light levels, its reflective mode contributes to the image allowing the backlight to be turned down or off. This delivers significant power savings and a very comfortable reading experience.
Update: Why Amazon Will Enter the Overcrowded Tablet Market [May 23, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
In a recent interview with Consumer Reports, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was asked if Amazon would make a tablet. He coyly responded with the comment “stay tuned” but gave no other specific details about a product of this nature. He basically confirmed, however, that something like this was in the works. He also pointed out that if Amazon made a tablet device, the reading experience would be at the center of its design.
My sources in Taipei say that the actual product is set to debut in time for the holidays and that the device will use a display similar to the one in the Nook and the Galaxy Tab. They also tell me that the original RFQ wanted a screen that could switch between an easy-to-read black and white E Ink-like display and a color LCD, but that this type of screen, which is already in the works by at least two vendors, will not be ready for the market until at least 2012 or early 2013. So Amazon was forced to use a 10-inch screen that was available now, which is LCD-based. It will also reportedly have a 7-inch model. And I am hearing it will sport a new version of Nvidia’s Tegra quad-core chip and will be using Android as its OS.
So at least quantity wise there are still problems with PixelQi manufacturing.
More information on this update:
Amazon Tablet PC with E Ink Holdings’ Hydis FFS screen [May 3, 2011]
The new 7” display has already been shown at CES 2011. See the detailed First look at Pixel Qi’s 7 inch display, new netbooks, tablets [Jan 6] report from Liliputing and the video from them:
Pixel Qi’s displays can function both as full color LCD screens and as high contrast, grayscale displays which are viewable without a backlight by relying on ambient lighting — much like an E Ink display. The difference is that while E Ink screens have slow refresh rates, a Pixel Qi display can handle full motion video whether the screen is in color or grayscale mode. The only difference is whether the backlight is on or off.
Turning off the backlight not only makes a netbook, tablet, or other device with a Pixel Qi screen readable in direct sunlight — it also drastically reduces the amount of power used by the display — which is often one of the most power-hungry components of a computer.
The new, smaller display has the same 1024 x 600 pixel resolution as the 10 inch model. Pixel Qi has also improved the viewing angles — although they’re still not great. With the backlight off, you can view the screen from pretty wide angles. But in full color mode, the colors start to wash out pretty quickly when you view the screen from the side, which is a bigger problem with tablets than netbooks.
And here is a report from the press conference on ZTE Looking to Break Into High-end in 2011 With Smartphone, Tablet, & STB Selection [MWC] [Feb 14] (emphasis is mine):
I attended ZTE’s press conference – it wasn’t the most popular at this event, of course. But they’ve done exceptionally well with their smartphone push in 2010 and are looking to up the stakes in 2011. They will do this with a selection of new smartphones and tablets geared toward the high-end.
ZTE’s campaign plans becoming somewhat clear from their companion press release ZTE Unveils Skate Smart Phone at GSMA Mobile World Congress [Feb 15] (emphasis is mine):
Inspired by the skateboard, the ZTE Skate is fashionably thin and lightweight at only 120g, featuring a large 4.3-inch screen to provide an optimal web surfing experience to consumers. It uses the Android 2.3 operating system, an 800MHz processor and the Adreno 200 graphics processing unit (GPU) to support the widescreen, high-definition display. In addition, the ZTE Skate also incorporates a 5MP camera, multimedia Bluetooth extension, A-GPS capability, hardware compass, and G-sensor.
The open Android operating system ensures that Skate can run an extensive range of apps, meeting not only the in-depth customization needs of operators, but also providing a user-friendly UI, and convenient and powerful multimedia features. Skate supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE at 900/1800/1900MHz and HSDPA/UMTS at 900/2100MHz, as well as WiFi internet access.
The ZTE Skate is expected to be available from May 2011 in markets worldwide. The smart phone launch also kicks off ZTE’s “Light Your Smart World” smart product strategy.
An IDC report shows that ZTE has become one of the world’s top five handset makers – in 2010 the company’s global shipment of handsets reached 60 million units and terminal products over 90 million units. Signature models such as the ZTE Blade and ZTE Light became bestsellers across multiple markets, achieving outstanding sales records in more than 30 countries including Europe and Japan, within a very short period of time. The ZTE Blade was also frequently referred to as the “Most Valuable Smartphone” by media in these markets.
Pretty impressive numbers which – also given ZTE’s very close releationship with the operators – is giving a pretty good chance that the Pixel Qi based tablet will become a bestseller quite soon.
ZTE has outstanding position and extraordinary market aspirations which could benefit Pixel Qi’s long unfulfilled aspirations as well . This could be best understood from the following press releases and reports:
China’s ZTE aims for top 3 in telecom gear [Reuters, Feb 14] (emphasis is mine):
It would be a major move for ZTE, which is smaller than its better-known Chinese counterpart Huawei, and holds roughly 5 percent market share in wireless gear, according to Bernstein Research.
“We want to be in the top three in terms of revenues and market share,” said Xu Ming, vice-president of wireless services in an interview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Founded in 1985 in the southeastern Chinese city of Shenzhen, ZTE earned about half of its revenues outside China last year by selling both handsets and fixed and wireless network gear.
It benefits from a low-cost base like Huawei, but its margins are lower because of its lack of scale in many business lines, according to analysts.
The fastest-growing vendor in the global telecom sector
14 February 2011, Shenzhen – ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a leading global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, today announced that in 2010 it secured contract sales worth up to RMB100 billion and a growth rate of 26%, making ZTE the fastest-growing vendor in the global telecom sector.
ZTE made this milestone achievement despite the current economic turmoil. The global market and domestic market in China both experienced a deterioration in 2010, with an annual decline in telecom investment in each market by 3% and 14% respectively.
According to a Frost & Sullivan report, “Insights on 2010 Market Performance”, ZTE has the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) among the top vendors in the global market. It recorded a CAGR of 28.01% between 2008-2010 and 37.48% between 2006-2010.
ZTE has achieved 29% growth of its contract sales in overseas markets especially in Europe and North America. A growing number of leading players such as France Telecom, América Móvil, MTN and Softbank embark on co-operation with ZTE and appreciate the firm’s commitment to excellent delivery. ZTE’s terminal products — Blade, Racer and Light — were sold out in the European market for the first time, highlighting the company’s strong brand reputation.
The 3G investment in China market slowed compared with the peak of 2009, and fell from RMB 160 billion in 2009 to RMB 122 billion in 2010. However, tri-network integration boosted the investment in fixed networks which enabled ZTE to achieve 22% growth in the domestic market.
Stabilization in its market share of wireless product s and focus on the 3G terminal market will consolidate ZTE’s market position and guarantee its steady and sustainable growth in the future.
ZTE Announces Preliminary Financial Results for 2010 [Jan 28] (emphasis is mine):
(Hong Kong, 27 Jan 2011) – ZTE Corporation (“ZTE” or the “Group”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ) today announced its 2010 Preliminary Financial Results.
Applying PRC ASBEs, during the year under review, the Group’s revenue from principal operations was approximately RMB70,332 million [US$10.7B], representing an increase of 16.69% compared to 2009. Net profit attributable to shareholders of the company was RMB3,254 million, representing an increase of 32.39% against 2009 and earnings per share amounted to RMB 1.18. The increase in net profit was mainly attributable to Group sales growth and the recognition of investment income from the listing of one of the company’s associates, Nationz Technologies Inc. by way of an initial public offering.
As of 31 December 2010, the total assets of the Group increased by 20.40% to RMB 82,287 million compared to the end of the previous year; Shareholders’ equity attribute to the owners of the company increased by 37.28% to RMB 23,097 million compared to the end of the previous year, which was mainly attributable to an increase in retained profits during 2010 and the growth in share capital and capital reserves following the company’s placing of new H shares in January 2010 and the exercise of the company’s A share Warrants in February 2010.
ZTE says 2010 net profit up 32 pct on better sales [Reuters, Jan 30] (emphasis is mine):
ZTE 2010 net profit 3.25 bln yuan vs 3.1 bln yuan f’cast
* After extraordinary items, net profit down to 2.8 bln yuan (Adds details, background, analyst quote)
HONG KONG Jan 27 (Reuters) – ZTE Corp (0763.HK)(000063.SZ), China’s No. 2 telecoms equipment maker, reported a better-than-expected 32.4 percent rise in 2010 net profit on Thursday, helped by improving demand for infrastructure projects.
ZTE said it expects to make a net profit of 3.25 billion yuan [US$0.5B] for the full year 2010, better than expectations for a 3.1 billion yuan net profit, according to a poll of 21 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company made a net profit of 2.46 billion yuan in 2009, it said in a statement posted on the Hong Kong stock exchange. It also had to take a one-time extraordinary item that lowered its net profit to 2.8 bln yuan, but did not give any further details.
“The bottom line results look fairly positive,” said Alen Lin, an analyst with BNP Paribas in Hong Kong. “Looking at the revenue figures, it’s likely that India has already contributing to the company’s numbers.”
New Delhi banned Chinese telecoms equipment on security concerns for most of last year and only allowed sales to resume in September, hitting revenues at ZTE and its bigger rival Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL].
Together the two companies grew up selling equipment to the Chinese mobile market but have increasingly become formidable players on the world stage scoring major contracts in Europe and some developing countries.
In the United States, however, there has has been opposition from some factions that have raised concern about the security threats posed by a Chinese company selling telecoms equipment to U.S. operators.
“The U.S. has never counted much for ZTE, and I think this will likely remain the case for at least this year,” said Lin at BNP Paribas. (Reporting by Kelvin Soh; Editing by Hans Peters)