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Nokia CEO: salespeople to deliver true WP7 retail experience supported by improved product management, marketing and accelerated global coverage with a full breadth of products

Nokia Quarter 4 results 2011 webcast [Nokia, Jan 26, 2012]:

prepared remarks by Stephen Elop, President & CEO

[02:00] … Lumia

In Q4 2012 Lumia was introduced to:

  • a number of European countries
  • Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea

… [remarks on January US introduction already covered by me in detail: Nokia’s Lumia strategy is capitalizing on platform enhancement opportunities with location-based services, better photographic experience etc. [Jan 12, 2012]]

  • China and Latin America in this half

Current situation:

  • to date well over 1 million Lumia devices sold
  • since mid November from zero markets to 15 markets, from zero devices to well over a million devices, from no presence in the US to being in lead in the AT&T’s LTE launch

From this beachhead you will see us to push forward with the sales, marketing and successive product introductions necessary to be successfull.

Our performance with Lumia on a country by country basis varies. Often [it] is a combination of relative brand strength and retail execution capabilities.

  • For example, in the United Kingdom, where competitive ecosystems are firmly entrenched, we have seen mixed retail execution around Lumia devices with a range of results among different locations, different chains, different stores and so on.
  • Contrarily in Germany and Spain we have seen steady, weak on weak improvement in Lumia device activations up to the Holiday season followed by a small expected dip in the last week of the year, and then a continued weak on weak growth in January.

.. we are in the heart of our transition, which means as we bring the first of our new devices to market there are areas we are learning and areas where we must adjust:

  1. We are learning more about the variations in our store by store retail execution related to Lumia. Our consumer research indicates and response at CES validates that once a consumers use a Lumia device their responses are positive. Where we’ve secured strong support from the operators we need to increase the engagement of the retail sales associates in the stores, because it is the retail associate who speaks with our consumersand puts the Lumia device in their hands. As a result we are adjusting, we are adjusting our retail tactics by increasing the quantity and quality of our retail associate traning programs, seeding more Lumia devices into the market, and increasing point of sales activities.
  2. With the continued focus on consumer net promoter scores we are also learning about the areas where consumers are most favorable towards the specific capabilities of Lumia and those areas upon which we need to focus. For example, we’ve received very positive feedback on the elegance of design, ease of use, and absolute performance of the products. On the other hand, consumers initially reported that battery performance needed focus. Thus we immediately adjusted to improve battery performance with software updates which are now in the market. This rapid cycle of consumer learning and Nokia response is a critical part of our improved approach to product management.
  3. We are learning that awareness of Lumia is steadily growing, assisted by each of the successive product and country launches that continue. As awareness grows we are adjusting the focus of our marketing efforts from an aspirational aspect of a new launch towards an emphasis on a differentiated experiences and capabilitiesof the Lumia products.
  4. We are learning about the importance of truly breaking through. Thus we are adjusting our plans to increase the rate at which we enter new markets during the course of 2012. We also are increasing the focus of our corporate resources on continued marketing campaigns, and we are working to accelerate the introduction of a full breadth of products.

Overall we’re pursuing this pattern. We’ll take each step up the ladder one running at a time recognizing that the competitive dynamics vary country by country. This underscores the large amount of work immidiately ahead of us to break through as the third ecosystem, to capture the attention of retail sales associates, to convert the increasing awareness around Lumia and the purchase intent, and ultimately to delight our consumers. [09:12]

the essence of the answers to some questions:

on carriers’ motivation:

… motivation on third ecosystem is very strong … consistency on user experience on behalf of Microsoft … it is in our favor but we need earn their respect …

on Lumia sell-through:

… different [retail] experiences and so forth … focus on when and how those [retail] experiences are different … we do see different [retail] experiences and patterns in different countries … some are related to competitive dynamics, brand strengths, retail capabilities and so forth … for example, a lot of those reports tend to focus on UK, which in the context of Europe is the hardest market in terms of breaking through the strength of the competing ecosystems and so forth … you’ll see a lot of ballance in that direction … what’s really interesting is, and this is we’re so much in very early days that you have to really dig into the details … even when you’re in the UK. I was there a couple of days ago, and as you can imagine, I went to store, to store, to store, and asking: tell me about smartphones, what’s new and all that type of thing. You’ll see a great variability of in-store performance in terms of retail experience. .. in certain stores the retail presentation is great, the associates are well trained, everything is right, and of course it correlates very closely with the success that we’re seeing in certain chains of stores, in certain areas and so forth. Very good performance. … In other areas we are not as far along as we need to be. We need better retail execution, associates are not as well prepared, or there are other dynamics that are at play. The reason I tell you about this variability is because, first of all, how people report depend very much on the experience they have, this mix from location to location in some countries. But also as you assess, OK, as we apply more resource, as we make sure that we are very focussed on getting everyone upto the base level, if not the excellent level of retail execution, we can clearly see our way through the work that need to be done in order to deliver the results that we want to continue to deliver. …       

on China dynamics:

… The Chinese operators are increasingly, on accellerated basis entering into structures where there’s effectively retail rate plan bundling is going on at the store. The operators are driving very hard for the volume of 3G data subscribers. And this is not necessary an economic measure as it is driving volume on certain networks for certain technologies. I think those targets are probably set more broadly for all of the operators [he could mean: by the state, as all three operators are majority owned by the state]. And the impact of that is that they are discovering that with very low priced devices on certain radio technologies they can drive a lot of volume at those levels. And so we are seeing, for example, a very significant uptake in a number of low-priced devices that are on CDMA, there’s also a very significant focus on the Chinese technology TD-SCDMA, again all of the low levels ought to drive those volumes. My comment in the prepared remarks is that Symbian is not well positioned today against that. We do not have Symbian CDMA products at all, so we are not participating in that part of the market. So as that part of the market grows our addressable market has gone down because of that. In TD-SCDMA we do have some products in that space but not at the price points and configurations that is the real focus of this market. …

… We have not yet announced our specific products for the Chinese market but I will say that when we first announced our launch plans, I think all the way back in October, we did highlight that we would have CDMA based Windows Phone products and TD-SCDMA Windows Phone products. That thing said it is the case that we have work to do to successively drive the prices down further and further and further. That will take a bit of time but this is clearly the pattern you are going to see us on the months ahead. …

[I have a couple of deep and current analysis on that:
The new, high-volume market in China is ready to define the 2012 smartphone war [Jan 6, 2012]
China TD-SCDMA and W-CDMA 3G subscribers by the end of 2011: China Mobile lost its original growth momentum [Jan 21, 2012]
China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [Dec 1, 2011]]

on differentiating the Windows Phone:

… the overall user experience is differentiated against Android … good response from the customers on Music service included, location services (Map and Drive) … partnerships: e.g. ESPN … in addition we have to ensure that the retail experience is differentiated … even price, e.g. in US/T-Mobile case already …

[I have a couple of deep and current analysis on that:
Nokia’s Lumia strategy is capitalizing on platform enhancement opportunities with location-based services, better photographic experience etc. [Jan 12, 2012]
The precursor of 2012 smartphone war: Nokia Lumia vs. Samsung Omnia W in India [Jan 3, 2012]
The leading ClearBlack display technology from Nokia [Dec 18, 2011]
Nokia Lumia (Windows Phone 7) value proposition [Oct 26, 2011]]

on rapid scalability for lower prices of Chinese market:

… a critical consideration for us … work is under way with Microsoft … you will see a stepwise progress in that direction in the periods ahead.

on the mobile phones business:

… feature phones and how that market is perceived is less about the collection of features and what it does and doesn’t do, but it is more about the price span, the opportunity to drive, increase sales in that area, to serve consumers who don’t want to spend the money, or don’t have the money to spend on what we would today consider smartphone and so forth. …

[I have a deep and more current information on that:
Smarterphone end-to-end software solution for “the next billion” Nokia users [Jan 9, 2012]]

Nokia Lumia Momentum Map [Nokia Maps Blog, Jan 15, 2012]

If a picture is worth a thousand words, an interactive map is at least worth ten thousand words! To coincide with the launch of Nokia Lumia in USA; we launched the Nokia Lumia Momentum Map – an interactive way to check out the countries where Nokia Lumia smart phones are either available or will be coming soon. You can also check out the tweets, videos and photos from users about the Lumia series.

The content of the Momentum Map as of Jan 15, 2012:

Country Lumia 710 Lumia 800
Germany Now Now
Netherlands Now Now
Italy Now Now
Russia Now Now
India Now Now
Hong Kong Now Now
Taiwan Now Now
Singapore Now Now
Spain Jan 11, 2012 Now
United Kingdom Feb 1, 2012 Now
USA (+ Lumia 900
“in coming months”)
Jan 11, 2012 Coming Soon
France n.a. Now
Austria Coming Soon Now
Hungary Jan 20, 2012 Jan 20, 2012
Greece Jan 21, 2012 Jan 20, 2012
Portugal Feb 2, 2012 Jan 26, 2012
Switzerland n.a. Jan 13, 2012
Denmark n.a. Jan 20, 2012
Sweden n.a. Jan 23, 2012
Norway Feb 1, 2012 Feb 1, 2012
Canada Feb, 2012 Feb, 2012
Belgium Mar 1, 2012 Feb 1, 2012

More information:
Nokia Q4 2011 net sales EUR 10.0 billion, non-IFRS EPS EUR 0.06 (reported EPS EUR -0.29) Nokia 2011 net sales EUR 38.7 billion, non-IFRS EPS EUR 0.29 (reported EPS EUR -0.31) [Nokia press release, Jan 26, 2012]
Quarter 4 report tables in xls [Jan 26, 2012]
Nokia Names Siilasmaa as Chairman to Replace Retiring Ollila – BusinessWeek

… Nokia investors lost more than 60 billion euros ($79 billion) in share value after Apple Inc. leapfrogged it with the iPhone. Siilasmaa will oversee Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop’s efforts to win customers as Apple and Google Inc. expand into new markets. … An investor in Finnish startups, Siilasmaa may also broker more tie-ups with new companies such as “Angry Birds” maker Rovio Entertainment Ltd.
“I don’t want to leave a fortune to my kids,” Siilasmaa told a panel on startup investment …

Nordic Chairman of the Year 2009: Speech of thanks by Risto Siilasmaa, F-Secure Oyj. [Feb 18, 2010]

Relative to that media reports are very narrow focused as you could even see from the below entries considered the best among them:

Nokia Posts Huge Loss [The Wall Street Journal, Jan 27, 2011]

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said Nokia’s shipments were in line with expectations. ‘Overall, what we have been looking for is an improvement over the third quarter, and we got that. But while it seems Nokia is on track, there is still a lot more to do,’ she said.

Nokia CEO taps salesmen to assure Lumia push [SlashGear, Jan 27, 2012]

Over the last year when it came to Windows Phone, we saw a lovely looking user interface fall victim to less than stellar engagement and interest on the part of the public – Stephen Elop this week says that it’s the work of the salesmen, not the manufacturer, to make the final drop of the device into the hands on the consumer. Without a doubt there’s a certain flair to the Lumia line of smartphones being released both here in the USA and abroad this year, but without the folks in the stores actually pointing people to the hands-on equipment, there’s certainly no chance of a big hit in the engagement environment. Elop let the world know in Nokia’s sales call what he expects from store employees in the very near future.

Without that final point-of-sale touch, all else will certainly fail, at least that’s what Nokia’s top minds seem to be saying this week. Though the devices are perfectly legitimate in their build and execution, and the advertisements surrounding them may be lovely, there’s always a third step that must be taken. Elop said thusly this week in Nokia’s sales call:

“We need to increase the engagement of the retail sales associates in the stores, because it is the retail associate who speaks with our consumers and puts the Lumia device in their hands. For example, in the United Kingdom, where competitive ecosystems are firmly entrenched, we have seen mixed retail execution around Lumia devices with a range of results among different locations, different chains, different stores and so on.” – Elop

And the comments were mostly supportive of that:

Joseph ParadisModerator1 day ago

I think he has a good point. I had known about WP7 for quite some time before the launch and had already chosen the phone I wanted. The last step for me was going to the store and getting a little hands-on to seal the deal. I had 3 sales reps (from 3 different stores) tell me to check out the Android phones instead (?!). One told me that the Windows OS is no good because its buggy, the other two were just astounded that I was interested in a WP7. I knew way more about the specs of those phones (and a good count of Android phones) than the sales rep. There are a lot of people who I think would like Nokia WP7 phones and other WP7 phones, but kind of go to the store without much knowledge and get carted around by these reps who may have ulterior motives.

Stephens_ElopedModerator1 day ago

I think anyone who is reading a website like SlashGear is the kind of person who probably knows more than the average salesperson in a mobile phone store. Definitely. I’ve had the experience of being “too knowledgeable” myself on many occasion. You stand there listening to false information and you’re either tempted to let it fly, (poor guy didn’t any training) or if they’re douches, you just say, “No, you’re wrong, the N9/L800/L910 isn’t all aluminum, it’s all poly-carbonate, which is a plastic.”

I think salespeople in the States are the worst – they’re so entrenched with Android and iPhone (and also any OEM + WP that ISN’T Nokia), that unless Nokia say, “ok salesteam, here’s a much, much bigger commission for you if you sell a Lumia”, then they haven’t got much chance of changing the mindset of the average American consumer. It’s not a Nokia friendly world here, so they’ve got to up their game. TV ads ain’t nowhere near enough.

CleverModerator22 hours ago

It’s definitely the salespeople who make it hard for WP7 to take off. Phone carriers make their biggest profits from sales of Android handsets and are able to load the Android phones with their bloatware, therefore the sales staff are trained to push these phones over iPhone and WP7 handsets.
Here in Australia our stores are all Android themed and one store in Melbourne has a whole floor called “Android Land”, where phone shoppers can explore and learn all about the Android ecosystem. Now that there are some decent WP7 handsets coming out, I think Microsoft really needs to do three things to get their OS to take off:

1 – Get some handsets out to carriers and stores. Only 1 carrier out of 4 in Australia even sells WP7 devices and they are outdated and you’d be lucky to even find them on display in stores. I think a lot of people would like to by a Nokia N900 but if it takes another 12 months before they even hit our shelves I’m sure we will have lost interest.

2 – Work with carriers to not only sell WP7 devices but to actually push them. Make the devices resonably priced and give carriers incentives in the way of good subsidies to entice them to get their staff to actually push WP7 devices.

3 – Market WP7 so people actually know it exists and know to look for it when they do walk into a phone store. Apart from us tech heads I would bet that half of the population doesn’t even know that WP7 exists. People who don’t know about something are a lot less likely to purchase it. Where are the TV ads telling us why we should be buying a WP7 device?

Dumb salesmen are hurting us – Nokia CEO [The Register, Jan 27, 2012]

Incentivising the McJobs

Analysis Stephen Elop got a pretty indulgent reception from analysts, and most of the press yesterday, after delivering some shocking results. Nokia turned a profit of €2bn into a loss of €1bn in the new boss’s first full year; volumes are down by 29 per cent; sales of the new Windows phone are unremarkable (to put it generously); and Elop has scrapped guidance for the rest of the year. [Summary] News like this would normally have analysts reaching for the panic button – but not today. Why would this be?

Well, obviously, much can be explained by the appreciation that Nokia is in rapid transition – it isn’t even a full year since the Elopcalypse. Elop got the bad news out of the way in his (still) remarkable Burning Platforms memo. But it’s also because he was quite unexpectedly frank and forthcoming about why Nokia isn’t making more headway with its shiny new platform – the one that isn’t burning. Elop explained that Nokia has a very stiff learning curve ahead of it in consumer retail. He also said that sales staff in the channel weren’t helping. He even detailed this country-by-country. I’m surprised more Nokia-watchers haven’t remarked on this – or why Elop dwelled on retail in such detail.

Nokia staff should be glad he did, because of a forlorn sight I saw last November. Just as the Christmas shopping season was getting underway on London’s Oxford Street, I saw a quite ominous sight. The flagship West End Carphone Warehouse store, next to John Lewis, had large posters in the window announcing the arrival of the Lumia 800. There were two live Lumia 800s available for curious punters to play with – of around half a dozen such working retail models from rivals. Except they weren’t live. They were completely dead. And although Nokia had secured the prime corner spot for its devices, it may as well have hidden them on some remote industrial wasteland. The shop was very busy, but nobody came and asked if they could see the Lumia working.

If Nokia is to claw its way back into contention, this won’t do. Getting one million Lumias stocked really isn’t a terrific achievement considering that the six largest European markets had the 800, and some pretty significant Asian markets had the 710. The needle hasn’t moved.

“There are areas where we are learning and areas where we must adjust. First, we are learning more about the variations in our store-by-store retail execution related to Lumia,” said Elop yesterday.

He then re-emphasised how important it was to show people the Windows UI, and suggested that quality of the sales droids was very variable:

“We need to increase the engagement of the retail sales associates in the stores, because it is the retail associate who speaks with our consumers and puts the Lumia device in their hands,” he added, correctly. And he singled out some of the domestic channel here, suggesting he hadn’t been impressed by what he saw:

“For example, in the United Kingdom, where competitive ecosystems are firmly entrenched, we have seen mixed retail execution around Lumia devices with a range of results among different locations, different chains, different stores and so on.”

I know several first-time smartphone buyers and Windows Phone wasn’t even on the radar. People don’t know it exists. In the UK, Android gained an early and enthusiastic foothold, which two years on translates into a mature and knowledgeable market. The Samsung Galaxy SII was the best-selling phonein the UK at Christmas, by some distance. For the average punter a buying decision begins with a binary choice between Apple and BlackBerry, and if it’s a touchscreen then it’s between the iPhone and “one of the other lot”. The other lot is Android. Sales staff in stores like Carphone aren’t uniquely thick – they’re like all savvy retail staff – they want their commission, and they know there’s a huge appetite for Android out there.

It’s a sign of how things have changed. Nokia can no longer play hardball with its channel partners – today, it really needs their help. Windows has made no impression on the market and gaining people’s attention – which includes aligning the incentives of the channel – is going to be much more expensive than analysts realise.

I’m onto my second Lumia, and I like the UI very much indeed. But I still haven’t seen a civilian – someone who isn’t an analyst, journalist or Nokia industry partner – carrying a Lumia in the wild. Have you?

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Qualcomm added a superior to its mirasol, but also MEMS display technology for its upcoming US$1B fab–UPDATE: Plans on Hold–UPDATE2: Sharp is involved

Suggested preliminary reading: Qualcomm mirasol display technology delivered [Nov 22, 2011]

Updates: Capital Alliance with Qualcomm, Inc. and Display Technology Development Agreement with its Subsidiary Pixtronix, Inc. [Sharp press release, Dec 4, 2012]

Sharp Corporation (hereafter “Sharp”) today announced that the Company has reached an agreement with Pixtronix Inc. (hereafter Pixtronix), asubsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (hereafter “Qualcomm”, NASDAQ: QCOM), concerning the development of Pixtronix’s MEMS*1 displays. In addition, Sharp signed the capital alliance agreement and will issue new shares by a third party allotment (hereafter “This Third Party Allotment”) with Qualcomm Incorporated, a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies, as the allottee.

MEMS display to be developed jointly by the two companies is a display using ultrafine process technology and existing display manufacturing infrastructure with features including high color reproducibility and low-power consumption. The development for commercialization of MEMS display will be achieved by integrating Sharp’s core display technology, IGZO*2 and MEMS display technology of Pixtronix.

In addition, Sharp is planning to accept up to 9.9 billion yen*3 from Qualcomm in equity investment to pursue this joint development. This capital will be used for the development of MEMS display and necessary capital investments related thereto targeting for the achievement of the technology for commercialization.

With this agreement, the two companies will consider the possibility of further collaboration of chipsets by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated and IGZO-based display technology for lower power consumption and higher performance of mobile terminals.

With this agreement, Sharp will accelerate its strategy for growth in small- to medium- sized LCD business with IGZO-based display technology as its core, and expand its revenue and corporate value.

*1  MEMS: Micro Electro Mechanical Systems

*2  IGZO: IGZO (InGaZnO) is an oxide comprising indium (In), gallium (Ga), and zinc (Zn). A thin-film transistor using this material has been developed by Sharp in collaboration with Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. (a company based in Kanagawa, Japan, and led by President Shunpei Yamazaki)

*3  Equivalent to 120 million U.S. dollars calculated by exchange rate of December 3, 2012

Summary of the joint development and capital alliance

1. Development for the Commercialization of Next Generation Display

  • The next generation display will be jointly developed integrating Sharp’s IGZO-based display technology and Pixtronix’s MEMS display technology. The joint development will establish facilities in the LCD panel plant in Sharp Yonago Corporation (location: Yonago city, Tottori prefecture, Japan) for development of the technology for commercialization.
  • The development for next generation displays and necessary investment will begin immediately. At the point when the development of the technology for commercialization is confirmed to be feasible, we will move to the next stage by implementation of equipment targeting to achieve mass production technology.

2. This Third Party Allotment
Sharp will issue new shares by third party allotment with Qualcomm as the allottee by each stage of joint development of the technology for commercialization. The second stage is contingent upon achieving certain milestones.

<Notice Regarding the Execution of Capital/Business Alliance Agreement with Qualcomm (US Company) for the Joint Development of Next Generation MEMS Display and the Issue of New Shares by Third Party Allotment (PDF:83KB)>
http://sharp-world.com/corporate/ir/topics/pdf/121204.pdf

(Related post: Sharp-er Hon Hai / Foxconn [March 31, 2012])

Q&A: Qualcomm’s Display Ambitions [The Wall Street Journal, 10, Dec, 2012]

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Qualcomm’s Chief Marketing Officer Anand Chandrasekher and John Stefanac, president of Qualcomm’s Southeast Asia and Pacific operations, to get an update on the company’s efforts in expanding into the display business. The following interview has been edited.

WSJ: Tell us the rationale behind investing in Sharp. How can this investment help Qualcomm make further inroads into displays?

Mr. Chandrasekher: Our unit, Pixtronix Inc., has had a joint relationship with Sharp from a development standpoint and we are just intensifying this further. Sharp has had a history of great display technologies and they still have a great portfolio. This agreement is a deepening of that relationship.  In the process, we are taking an equity investment of up to $120 million broken up into two tranches of roughly equal sizes. The first tranche will happen by the end of this year and the second tranche will probably close in the second quarter of next year.

WSJ: Qualcomm announced in 2010 that it was investing in Mirasol displays by setting up a manufacturing plant in Taiwan. Are you producing these displays at the factory now?

Mr. Chandrasekher: We still have the fab in Taiwan and we are still investing in Mirasol. But it’s fair to say that we have reduced the rate at which we invest in Mirasol. Some of these technologies, if you don’t manufacture in reasonable scale, you don’t learn and you can’t prove it. So the plant is still being used in that regard. Whether it goes further, we’re not ready to talk about that. We are talking about using Mirasol as more of a licensing enabler, if you will.

WSJ:  How would Mirasol be different from the MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) displays using Sharp’s IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) technology?

Mr. Chandrasekher: They are both MEMS-based technology. Mirasol has different characteristics and they are complementary. But they would have other applications and how they would get used in products. The Taiwan plant is being used as a pilot facility to help us to prove out the Mirasol technology. Under the partnership, we would assume Sharp will make the displays.

WSJ: Would you consider discontinuing Mirasol production?

Mr. Stefanac: We certainly aren’t stopping our investment in Mirasol. We will continue the intellectual property that we will license to others.

Reflective OutLook: Shades of Gray or Colorful? [Touch and Display-Enhancement Issue of Information Display, Sept 21, 2012]

The summer of 2012 was an eventful one for the reflective, low-power industry. Two major players made announcements that may be difficult to interpret right now, but certainly indicate changes ahead. In July, Qualcomm, maker of the mirasol low-power MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) reflective technology, announced that it would begin licensing that technology. And in August, E Ink Holdings, which makes the E Ink on which the majority of e-Readers are built, announced that it planned to acquire Sipix Technology, Inc., a developer of microcup technology-based electrophoretic displays.
For some time, mirasol has been considered a possible contender to E Ink’s ubiquitous electrophoretic technology. One of the main reasons that Qualcomm’s announcement came as a surprise was that the chipset maker has been vigorously researching, developing, and promoting mirasol for several years, and is currently building a mirasol display factory in Taiwan. A quick survey of technology bloggers shows the general consensus is that Qualcomm may be going in a different direction with mirasol, which began appearing in e-Readers in 2011. Mirasol can show color and video, but somewhat like color EPD to date, the color is not bright and crisp, but muted.
So what’s going on with mirasol? According to an article by The Verge’s Adi Robinson, who notes that Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs spoke of licensing next-gen mirasol display technology and directly commercializing certain mirasol products: “This doesn’t necessarily mean the mirasol line will be discontinued, but it’s clearly being scaled back, and it’s possible that this is effectively the end for Qualcomm’s own production.” At press time, Qualcomm representatives said they were not commenting on the announcement or plans for the factory in Taiwan.

QUALCOMM Incorporated Management Discusses Q3 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, July 18, 2012]

Paul E. Jacobs – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer:
With respect to QMT, we’re now focusing on licensing our next-generation mirasol display technology and will directly commercialize only certain mirasol products. We believe that this strategy will better align our updated roadmap with the addressable opportunities.

Question-and-Answer Session

I just wanted to say also we’re obviously investing a lot in QMT. We’re looking at the opportunities to — on that business model to reduce some of the expenses that we have there. And so that could have a pretty significant impact as well [on OpEx].

Updated: Qualcomm: No Launch Date in Sight For New 4.3″ Screen (video), Factory Delayed Until 2013 [The Digital Reader, June 6, 2012]

Do you know that new factory which Qualcomm is building in Taiwan, the one which was going to produce Mirasol screens and was supposed to be up and running by now? Yeah, that one. I was told yesterday by Bruce Lidl [PR manager of QMT] that the factory is not due to start operation until sometime in 2013, and that means we won’t see consumer products using screens made there until late in 2013 at best.

Right now Qualcomm is making the Mirasol screens on a smaller production line, and from what I’ve heard it doesn’t have the capacity to make enough screens for a major partner. The last info I got from my source at Pocketbook, Qualcomm’s still unconfirmed European partner, was that Pocketbook’s Mirasol based device was on hold because they couldn’t get enough screens.

Kyobo Mirasol eReader Now on Clearance – 71% Off [The Digital Reader, July 6, 2012]

Kyobo Book Centre, South Korea’s leading bookseller, has recently put their Mirasol eReader on sale at a drastic discount. I’m still waiting for confirmation from Kyobo or Qualcomm, but it looks to me like this ereader is on the way out. That’s great; neither the software nor the screen techwere worth the original retail, which was more than $300 USD.

The price posted above is 99,000 won, or about $87 USD. That’s a considerable discount off the original 350,000 won, and it leaves little doubt that this ereader is headed for the scrapheap.

End of updates

Qualcomm buys MEMS display startup, reportedly for $175M [EE Times, Jan 25, 2012]

Communications technology company Qualcomm Inc. has bought fabless MEMS display startup Pixtronix Inc. Qualcomm (San Diego, Calif.) confirmed the purchase but did not give any details and declined to discuss the price. However, reportedly, Qualcomm has paid between $175 million and $200 million.

Pixtronix (Andover, Mass.) was founded in 2005 by Nesbitt Hagood, chief technology officer. The company has developed a low-cost display technology based on the use of MEMS shutters that it appears would make a useful complement – or better alternative – to Qualcomm’s own MEMS-based Mirasol display technology.

The Pixtronix display – called PerfectLight – is based on a MEMS-based digital micro shutter that modulates light from an RGB LED backlight. A high switching speed makes it suitable for applications ranging from full-speed video to e-reader operation and Pixtronix claimed that the display offered greater than 170 degree viewing angles, more than 3,000:1 contrast ratio and 24-bit color depth at one quarter of the power consumption of equivalent size and resolution liquid crystal displays.

The display is not in the market place yet but Pixtronix had developed a 5-inch diagonal display prototype with Chimei Innolux Corp. (CMI), a leading TFT-LCD manufacturer. Pixtronix was also developing a display for Hitachi.

Meanwhile, at about the same time Qualcomm was acquiring Pixtronix, Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc. announced that a 5.7-inch Mirasol MEMS display technology is used in the Kyobe e-reader. Qualcomm acquired the Mirasol technology when it paid approximately $170 million in cash for the 86 percent of Iridigm Display Corp. that it did not already own.

The Mirasol display is reflective, which means it can save power by making use of ambient light and not requiring a backlight. However, it also means that the display is less bright and visually appealing than an emissive display.

Since its formation Pixtronix had raised more than $53 million in funding from such investors as Atlas Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, DAG Ventures and GoldHill Capital. It had about 50 employees and continues to operate as a subsidiary of Qualcomm at present.

Qualcomm acquires Pixtronix, Andover company developing tech for low-power displays [The Bioston Globe, Scott Kirsner, Dec 1, 2011]

San Diego-based Qualcomm, a major developer and licensor of mobile technology, quietly scooped up Pixtronix last week. The Andover company, founded in 2005, has been working on multimedia display screens for phones, tablets, and laptops that would use just one-quarter of the power of today’s liquid crystal displays. With today’s mobile devices, the display is typically the component that uses the most power.

Pixtronix and Qualcomm had been pursuing different approaches to low-power displays, according to this 2009 New York Times piece, but both incorporated MEMS (microelectro-mechanical system) technology; in Pixtronix’s case, thousands of tiny shutters control the light emitted by LED bulbs.

Pixtronix had raised just north of $50 million in funding from investors like Atlas Venture of Cambridge and Silicon Valley based Kleiner Perkins. Neither Qualcomm nor Pixtronix would comment on the acquisition price, but sources close to the deal tell me it was in the neighborhood of $175 million to $200 million.

Pixtronix has 45 employees, and Mark Halfman, the company’s senior director of business development, says they’ll remain in Andover. “We’ll continue to focus on developing and licensing our technology,” Halfman says. The company’s technology isn’t yet in the market, Halfman says, but the company has announced joint development projects with companies like Hitachi Displays and Taiwan-based CMI. Halfman says that Pixtronix CEO Tony Zona plans to stick around. (One year is always a safe bet…)

Pixtronix CEO Anthony Zona touts low-energy display tech [Boston Business Journal, Sept 2, 2011]

How does this technology differ from LCD?

It’s digital. So we’re moving from analog display, which is LCD, is to a digital display. … Because it’s digital, it can adapt to application needs. So in an e-reader type application it can consume extremely low power, or almost no power. That same display on the fly can change to accommodate full-motion, high-speed video.

This could have implications for the batteries of mobile devices?

You can get at least four times the current battery life — you’ll get days of use, just because the display is different. Right now the display on most smart phones consumes more than half the battery life. …

Mobile display firm Pixtronix seeking $20M round [Boston Business Journal, Aug 19, 2011]

… Pixtronix is already working with Hitachi, Samsung and Chimei Innolux, which are licensing the company’s PerfectLight Display technology for planned mobile products. The first products from the customers could include smart phones and tablets, and are expected in early 2013, Zona said.

The fourth partner for Pixtronix will also be an Asian electronics maker, and is expected to announce the partnership in the fourth quarter of this year, Zona said. “We had planned on having three partners at this point in time, and actually are adding a fourth sooner than we expected,” he said. …

Pixtronix closes $19 million equity round [Boston Business Journal, Dec 29, 2009]

… and may have brought in a major cell phone maker as a new strategic investor … The company did not disclose the names of the recent round’s investors. However … disclosed the names of four board members. … Two of those directors … represent returning investors Atlas Venture and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Beyers … A third, Gerald Fine, is a Boston University professor who holds an advisory position on the board.

Besides Atlas and Kleiner, its investors include Duff Ackerman & Goodrich Ventures, and Gold Hill Capital.

The fourth board member is Bill Byun, a new addition to Pixtronix’ board. The documents do not identify Byun beyond his name — but Bill Byun is also the name of a California-based managing director at Samsung Venture Capital, the venture investing arm of Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

New displays for e-readers – Read all about it [The Economist, Technology Quarterly: Q4 2009, Dec 10, 2009]]

Another micro-electro-mechanical display comes from a start-up called Pixtronix. Instead of reflecting ambient light, its PerfectLight technology uses tiny shutters that open and close quickly to allow through light from a backlight composed of red, blue and green light-emitting diodes. LCD displays also use shutters, in effect, consisting of liquid-crystal elements whose polarisation can be changed to block light or let it pass. The trouble is that liquid-crystal shutters absorb over 90% of the light passing through them, even when they are open. PerfectLight’s technology allows as much as 60% of the light through. And its shutters can switch fast enough (up to 1,000 times per second) for video.

Pixtronix micro-shutter MEMS display consumes much less power [Jan 1, 2011]

Compared to conventional thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal (TFT LCD) or active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays, a new digital micro-shutter (DMS) display from Pixtronix (Andover, MA) consumes one-quarter of the power while delivering equivalent image quality.

Using standard TFT LCD manufacturing equipment, processes, and materials, a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) shutter is built on top of an active backplane and a simple aperture plate replaces the color filter.

Essentially, the DMS technology is made of four key elements: a digital micro-shutter (laterally translating) element at the heart of each pixel that uses a patented zipping actuator; the use of field-sequential color with color-change frequencies greater than 1 kHz to avoid flicker or color breakup; an optical architecture with a light-recycling LED backlight that allows an 11.5% aperture-ratio display to transmit 60% of the light to the viewer (10 times the output of liquid-crystal displays); and a digital-backplane circuit. Pixtronix has announced partnerships with both Hitachi Displays (Japan) and Chimei Innolux (Taiwan) and has developed 2.5 in. QVGA display prototypes that can run 60 Hz videos, achieve a 135% NTSC color gamut, have a 170° viewing angle and 24 bit color, and consume less than 50 mW of backlight power.

Pixtronix and Hitachi Displays Announce Successful Joint Development [Pixtronix press release, Oct 4, 2010]

Displays built based upon Pixtronix PerfectLight MEMS display technology to be demonstrated at CEATEC

Pixtronix, Inc., an innovator in the development and licensing of low power multimedia display technologies, today announced the successful joint development with Hitachi Displays, Ltd. of its PerfectLight low power MEMS display technology for mobile multimedia applications. The two companies recently completed the development of prototype displays, which leverage the Pixtronix proprietary technology and were built by Hitachi Displays. These displays will be demonstrated by Hitachi Displays at CEATEC Japan, the cutting edge IT and electronics exhibition, October 5-9, Makuhari Messe, Tokyo, Japan.

“We are pleased to have jointly developed displays with Hitachi Displays that directly address the needs of high growth markets ranging from next generation smart phones to tablets,” said Tony Zona, CEO of Pixtronix. “Our rapid progress in delivering full speed video, ultra-low power displays built utilizing existing LCD manufacturing infrastructure demonstrates the key strengths of our PerfectLight display platform.”

About the Pixtronix PerfectLight Display Technology
The PerfectLight display is an innovative low-power multimedia display for portable devices, achieving 135% NTSC color gamut, 24-bit color depth, 170-degree viewing angles, and 100 microsecond shutter response times; all with a 75% power reduction over LCD displays. In addition, this new class of display offers Application Agility to dynamically optimize image quality and power consumption for all applications, ranging from full speed video to e-reader operation in a single device. The PerfectLight display is based upon Pixtronix’s Digital Micro Shutter MEMS technology, which is built within LCD infrastructure and eliminates liquid crystals, polarizers and color filters to enable a highly efficient, programmable, and durable display.

About Hitachi Displays, Ltd.
On October 1, 2002, the Display Group of Hitachi, Ltd. split from its parent company to form Hitachi Displays, Ltd. With a head office in Tokyo, Japan, Hitachi Displays specializes in all stages of the production of display devices, from planning to development, design, manufacturing and sales.

About Pixtronix, Inc.
Headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts and led by experts in the fields of displays, optics and MEMS, the Pixtronix mission is to develop, license and market the perfect display for today’s multimedia lifestyle. The company’s PerfectLight displays combine the best image quality at the lowest power consumption for all applications and are designed to scale from mobile devices to desktop displays through HD televisions. Pixtronix’s investors include Atlas Venture, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, and DAG Ventures. For more information, visit www.pixtronix.com.

Hitachi MEMS Shutter Display: DigInfo [Diginfonews Technology from Japan, Oct 24, 2010]

Qualcomm Acquires Pixtronix [Display Daily, Dec 7, 2011]

Qualcomm has recently acquired Pixtronix, the Boston area-designer of a MEMS-based flat panel display for low-power mobile applications. This makes the second MEMS-based display company Qualcomm has acquired. In 2004 it bought Iridigm Display Corporation’s IMod technology, now called Mirasol.

This seems to have been a stealth acquisition and neither company has issued a press release on the transaction, so details are not certain yet. I guess it is no surprise Jignesh Gandhi, Director of Product Engineering at Pixtronix, did not discuss the pending acquisition when he talked to the SID on November 10th. Instead, he talked about Pixtronix technology and the company’s three licensees, Hitachi, Samsung and Chimei Innolux (CMI). While these companies have all demonstrated the technology, none are expected to have a product on the market for at least a year.

The news appears to have been revealed in a December 1st article by Boston Globe Columnist Scott Kirsner. The price is reportedly in the $175M – $200M range, although that hasn’t been confirmed. To date, Pixtronix has been financed by venture capital, with investments from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Atlas Venture and Samsung Ventures, to the tune of about $50M. Before the acquisition, Pixtronix had been looking at another round of VC funding of about $20M. I guess those plans have been dropped.

Qualcomm is spending about $1B to construct a display manufacturing factory, which is expected to begin production next year. While this production line was, presumably, originally intended for the Mirasol technology, it should be able to manufacture the Pixtronix display as well. Gandhi had said the Pixtronix display could be made on normal direct view LCD fabs, as can the Mirasol display. So presumably if both the Mirasol and Pixtronix technologies fail to take off (not likely, in Insight Media’s opinion) the company can use the new fab to make conventional LCD for mobile applications.

Qualcomm: The Rest of the Story [Display Daily, Dec 8, 2011]

Yesterday in Display Daily my colleague Matt Brennesholtz discussed the acquisition of Pixtronix by Qualcomm. He asked why a chip-maker would want even one (much less two) MEMS display technologies and insightfully speculated, “Perhaps Qualcomm wants to be able to offer its customers vertically integrated solutions for handsets and other mobile devices.”

Here’s the rest of the story, or at least another piece of it. In late November, the Kyobo Book Centre of Korea (the country’s largest bookseller) announced the Kyobo eReader (photo), the first eReader to use Qualcomm’s mirasol color reflective MEMS display. The display appears to be the same 5.7-inch, XGA (1024 x 768) display Qualcomm MEMS Technologies (QMT) has been showing us for the last couple of years. The MSRP is the equivalent of slightly over US$300, which is solidly in tablet, not simple eReader, territory.

The Kyobo device uses a customized version of Android 2.3 and supports WiFi 802.11b/g/n. But here’s where things get interesting (and why I think Matt was so insightful yesterday). The Kyobo’s smarts come from a Qualcomm 1.0-GHz Snapdragon S2 processor. Between the mirasol display and the Snapdragon processor, Qualcomm can indeed offer the key components of a color eReader kit.

Qualcomm is still making its mirasol displays on a pilot line, so it can only support low-volume customers. Kyobo was identified as falling into that category. A high-volume plant is under construction and scheduled to ramp up in 2012.

At SID 2011, I told Qualcomm Marketing Manager Jesse Burke that the very long gestation period between the demonstration of a credible Mirasol display and the first commercial adoption was creating doubts about the technology. This was obviously not the first time Burke had to answer that question, and he had a well-prepared answer. First, he said, Qualcomm had some design wins, but before the customers could go into production, two things happened. The first was the introduction of the original iPad; the second was the continuing Great Recession. Both caused serious reconsideration of new-product introductions. In particular, many products that seemed cutting-edge before the introduction of the iPad, seemed immediately out of date afterwards.

Second, because Qualcomm only had a pilot line facility for the mirasol, the company was limited in the kind of customers it could pitch in the short term. To Burke’s credit, he told me to expect a low-volume product to appear before the end of 2011, and high-volume products to appear in 2012. With the Kyobo eReader, the first half of his prediction has come true.

Along with Matt, I don’t pretend to know how things will play out with Pixtronic and Mirasol under one roof. But I will express an opinion about relative technical merit. The Mirasol technology is devilishly clever, but it has shortcomings (such as an insufficiently saturated red that appears to be an unavoidable feature of the technology). In general, these shortcomings didn’t look all that serious two or three years ago, when the only competition was an electrophoretic technology with slow switching speed without practical color, and Mirasol’s strengths were compelling. But time moves on. To me, Pixtronix now seems to be the more compelling (and probably the more manufacturable) technology. It will be interesting to find out what Qualcomm thinks.

Really Truly New Stuff at SID 2011 [Display Daily, May 19, 2011]

… In the Samsung booth, you could see electro-wetting prototypes. Samsung bought the company that was formerly Liquavista … Next to what I still can’t help calling the Liquavista displays, were two impressive Pentile displays developed through the remarkably productive relationship between Samsung and Nouvoyance. … The other display is hard to explain briefly. Nouvoyance’s Candice Brown Elliott tried, … The result is a FSC display with no color break-up, a 130% color gamut, and sharply reduced power consumption.

Nearby was a 10.1-inch MEMS display based on Pixtronix technology. (10.1-inch is a popular size this year.) Both Samsung and Pixtronix personnel said the roadmap calls for a commercial eReader/tablet display in 2013. Hitachi is also working with the technology. Mark Halfman of Pixtronix said Hitachi is working on a cell-phone version, hopefully for late 2012 introduction.

Samsung was also showing a prototype 70-inch ultra-definition (3840×2160) 2D/3D panel oxide TFT backplane technology. …

Pixtronix Announces a Partner [Display Daily, Nov 10, 2010]

Every year at about this time, Mark Halfman emails me to arrange a meeting at Flat Panel Display International (FPDI) in Japan and, incidentally, make sure that Pixtronix hasn’t fallen off my radar screen.

The problem is that it takes so long to develop even the most interesting new display technologies that a professional display watcher can get jaded before a technology he is tracking reaches commercialization. A diligent marketing guy like Halfman makes sure that analysts don’t forget and move on to something else.

Last year, Pixtronix showed convincing technology demonstrators at FPDI. Halfman told me then that the company had “engaged” — a wonderfully ambiguous word — with several panel makers, couldn’t reveal their identities, but hoped to have an announcement before the next FPDI; that is, the one taking place this week.

Halfman was as good as his word. On Monday, his company issued a press release announcing that Chimei Innolux (CMI) and Pixtronix had recently completed the development of prototype displays that utilize Pixtronix’ proprietary technology and were built by CMI. The displays will be demonstrated at FPDI.

“With CMI, we have achieved rapid progress in delivering prototypes that demonstrate both full-speed full-color video and ultra-low power consumption. We look forward to continued joint development with CMI, and the availability of larger displays next year,” said Pixtronix CEO Tony Zona.

Unlike some other novel display technologies, the Pixtronix display, which the company calls PerfectLight, genuinely has something to offer, especially for portable devices. An easy way to think of PerfectLight is as a field-sequential-color (FSC) LCD in which the LCD sandwich is replaced with an in-plane MEMS shutter. Like an LCD, PerfectLight makes use of a “Venetian blind” architecture to control the amount of light from the backlight that reaches the viewer. Unlike an LCD, it has no polarizers and (because of the FSC) no matrix color filter. As a result, says Halfman, 60% of the light from the backlight reaches the user, compared with 6% to 8% for LCDs. This contributes to a 75% power reduction compared to LCDs.

Also, the MEMS shutter is fast: 100 microseconds, compared to milliseconds for an LCD.

Pixtronix claims a 135% NTSC color gamut, 24-bit color depth, and 170-degree viewing angle.

In addition, many display parameters can be adjusted to balance display quality and power consumption for different applications. For instance, full-speed color is appropriate for video, while slower-speed black-and-white is fine for e-reading, while using considerably less power.

Now that Pixtronix has a manufacturing partner with deep pockets, it will be interesting to see how long it takes to develop panels that are available to system makers in quantity — and that system makers will want to buy. That, as always, is the test.

Pixtronix and Chimei Innolux to Demonstrate Latest MEMS Displays at FPD International 2011 [Pixtronix press release, Oct 25, 2011]

Pixtronix, Inc., an innovator in the development and licensing of low power multimedia display technologies, and Chimei Innolux Corp. (CMI), a leading worldwide TFT-LCD manufacturer, today announced the successful joint development of 5-inch diagonal MEMS display prototypes. These displays, which utilize the Pixtronix proprietary MEMS technology and were built by CMI, will be demonstrated at FPD International 2011, the comprehensive exhibition and convention on Flat Panel Displays, October 26-28 in Yokohama, Japan.

The two companies previously announced jointly developed 2.5-inch diagonal prototypes at FPD International 2010. Since then, Pixtronix and CMI have worked together to build a MEMS display twice that size and four times the resolution. The new 5-inch diagonal displays offer the lowest power consumption at the best image quality for all applications, achieving over 135% NTSC color gamut, greater than 170 degree view angles, more than 3,000:1 contrast ratio and 24-bit color depth, all at a 75% average power reduction versus LCD displays. These new MEMS displays will be demonstrated by both Pixtronix and CMI (Pixtronix booth 3502 and CMI booth 3602).

“We are extremely pleased in the progress we have achieved with CMI, as the 5-inch diagonal prototypes represent a leap forward in bringing Pixtronix technology to the smart phone and tablet markets,” said Tony Zona, CEO of Pixtronix. “We look forward to continued development with CMI as we improve the performance and scale of these displays on the way to commercialization.”

“MEMS display technology is a new technology bringing additional consumer benefits to the multimedia markets and in the collaboration between CMI and Pixtronix a large step is set to industrialize this technology,” said Andre Krebbers Vice-President Mobile Device BU of CMI.

About the Pixtronix PerfectLight Display Technology
The PerfectLight display is an innovative low-power multimedia display for portable devices, achieving over 135% NTSC color gamut, 24-bit color depth, and 100 microsecond shutter response times; all with a 75% power reduction versus LCD displays. In addition, this new class of display offers Application Agility to dynamically optimize image quality and power consumption for all applications, ranging from full speed video to e-reader operation in a single device. The PerfectLight display is based upon Pixtronix’s Digital Micro Shutter MEMS technology, which is built within standard LCD infrastructure and eliminates liquid crystals, polarizers and color filters to enable a highly efficient, programmable display with proven MEMS reliability.

About Chimei Innolux Corp.
CMI is one of the leading worldwide manufacturers of TFT-LCD display products, including TFT-LCD panels, and total solutions for LCD TV and monitor systems. Its one-stop shopping business model vertically integrates TFT-LCD panel manufacturing expertise with systems assembly capabilities. More information about CMI is available at www.chimei-innolux.com.

About Pixtronix, Inc.
Headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts and led by experts in the fields of displays, optics and MEMS, the Pixtronix mission is to develop, license and market the perfect display for today’s multimedia lifestyle. The company’s PerfectLight displays combine the best image quality at the lowest power consumption for all applications and are designed to scale from mobile devices to desktop displays through HD televisions. Pixtronix’s investors include Atlas Venture, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, and Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. For more information, visit www.pixtronix.com.

PerfectLight and mirasol Show Displays in New Light [Jan 4, 2009]

pxtronix.jpg There are two new energy efficient display technologies on the tech horizon – Pixtronix’s PerfectLight and Qualcomm’s mirasol that shine a new light on display technology.

Pixtronix PerfectLight has an energy efficient prototype that uses thousands of very little LED lights controlled by microelectro-mechanical system (MEMS). PerfectLight uses one-fourth the energy of a an Liquid Crystal Display. PerfectLight prototypes consumed less than 50 milliwatts for the backlighting of a smartphone display while a LCD uses about 200 milliwatts.

The image is created with thousands of digitally controlled, MEMS, shutters that open and close over each pixel opening, allowing light from the red, green and blue LEDs to pass through.

Qualcomm’s technology uses natural light and MEMs in mirasol.The light for the pixels is provided by ambient light. To create an image, reflective optical structures in the MEMS (which they call IMOD), selectively reflect red, green or blue light to create an image.

The Interferometric Modulator (IMOD) element is a simple MEMS(micro-electro-mechanical system) device that is composed of two conductive plates. One is a thin film stack on a glass substrate, the other is a reflective membrane suspended over the substrate. There is a gap between the two that is filled with air.

The IMOD element has two stable states. When no voltage is applied, the plates are separated, and light hitting the substrate is reflected as shown above. When a small voltage is applied, the plates are pulled together by electrostatic attraction and the light is absorbed, turning the element black. This is the fundamental building block from which Qualcomm mirasol displays are made.

LCD 2.0 – Pixtronix’s PerfectLight DMS Display Technology [June 27, 2009]

Pixtronix's PerfectLight DMS Display Technology

Pixtronix has finished development of its new MEMS based PerfectLight DMS (Digital Micro Shutter) display technology.The display, demonstrated at this months SID Display Week 2009, delivers exactly what both consumers and manufacturers are looking for; significant energy savings (75 percent) without compromising video quality.

Pixtronix was established in 2005 and is led by experts in the fields of displays, optics and MEMS (Micro-electromechanical systems). Having completed development of a PerfectLight DMS display prototype, the company is now searching for manufacturing partners. While initially targeting smaller display sizes for portable multimedia devices, Pixtronix can scale the display sizes to suit large screen products such as HDTVs.

Pixtronix’s PerfectLight DMS (Digital Micro Shutter) display technology has been designed to combine high video quality with low power consumption for display sizes from mobile devices through to HD televisions. Performance figures include 105% (of NTSC, CIE 1931) color gamut, 24-bit color depth, 1,000:1 contrast ratio and 170 degree viewing angle with a power consumption only one quarter (25 percent) that for TFT-LCD displays.

PerfectLight DMS Gamut vs LCD

Cleverly Pixtronix’s engineers have developed their technology based on a similar architecture to that of an LCD panel (hence LCD 2.0!) except for using micro (MEMS) shutters instead of liquid crystals. The DMS display system is based on sequentially flooding the display with red, green, and blue light from LEDs while using the MEMS shutters to modulate the light and produce a full-color image. MEMS have already established their robustness and reliability in display technology through technologies such as Texas Instrument’s DLP micro mirror chips used in projectors.

PerfectLight DMS Substrate

Key Elements of DMS Display Technology

  • Digital MEMS micro shutter element at the heart of each pixel. It is a laterally translating (moving) element which is supported on a patented dual compliant zipping actuator. Use of micro shutters frees DMS displays from using the polarizers, filters and liquid crystals of current LCD display technologies. The polarizers can reduce light intensity by 50 percent and color filters reduce it even further.
  • Field Sequential Color (FSC) use is enabled by the MEMS shutters through the rapid color change frequencies of about 1kHZ (1,000 operations per second) achieved. Pixtronix have developed some innovative algorithms for achieving deep, rich colors without image artefacts.
  • Proprietary optical architecture including a light recycling backlight. Through a combination of waveguide and mirrored surfaces the light in the backlight is contained to deliver 60 percent of the light from the backlight which about 10X more output than a conventional LCD display (6 to 8 percent). This is the primary source of power consumption reduction of the DMS display technology.
  • Use of energy-efficient LED lightsources
  • A digital backplane circuit which decouples the functions of actuation and information exchange. This makes possible time division gray scale with color change frequencies in excess of 1 kHz while minimizing drive power.

From an engineering background, what impresses about Pixtronic’s new display technology is the cost savings promised by its having been designed with minimization of manufacturing costs in mind. Manufacturing can use existing TFT-LCD factory equipment and processes and higher yields can be achieved through the wide manufacturing tolerances applicable.

Resources

Take a look at Pixtronix’s video introduction to the PerfectLight Display’s impressive image quality and ultra-low power consumption.

If you would like to gain an idea of what MEMS is about have a look at this introductory video from the MEMS Industry Group. Is has some interesting shots of another MEMS display technology, DLP, in action.

MEMS Industry Group: An Introduction to MEMS [MEMSindustryGroup, Feb 8, 2008]

Using the MEMS accelerometer and the digital micromirror as an example, this DVD explores MEMS technology in a concise, easy to understand, 8.5-minute package. Examples of MEMS are given from all industries, including industrial, automotive, life sciences, and consumer electronics.

Using LCD Fabs for Non-LCD Displays? [Display Daily, May 23, 2007]

SID is where display ideas are demonstrated and evaluated. There are lots of these ideas as well as evolutionary and even revolutionary ideas floated at SID each year. It is where you will see the next big thing in the display industry or some company’s folly in pursuing a pipe dream. The key is to understand who is pitching which. Today, I will look at two of them I heard about in private meetings.

The two companies are Pixtronix and UniPixel. Both are early stage display companies with plenty of capital behind them to pursue a big dream. They want to use their technology to make LCDs obsolete, but use some of the LCD foundries to make these new displays.

Bold dreams yes, and after hearing the pitches, both actually show some merit. Can they pull it off? Time will tell.

It used to be that 20 years was required to bring a new display technology to a mainstream commercialization state. This time appears to be shrinking – and if you believe these companies, it may now be possible in 4-5 years. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but I am leaning toward the shorter rather than longer side.

So what are these new technologies, you ask? They are similar, but slightly different. Both eliminate the color filters, polarizers, liquid crystal, light management films and even the CCFL in a conventional LCD. What they have in common is an LED-driven backlight with light recycling components, a MEMS or MEMS-like modulator to extract the light at each pixel and an active matrix backplane.

Pixtronix has developed what it calls a Digital Micro Shutter (DMS). The idea is to extract light from the backlight by opening up a pixel gate. Think of this as a pair of pocket doors that open up to allow light to escape. It is an all-digital approach that uses pulse width modulation at each pixel to control grayscale.

These ideas are clever and elegant. When compared to the structure of an LCD, they will indeed eliminate a lot of components. And, both companies are targeting using LCD fabrication equipment to make these displays. With some minor adjustments, existing LCD fabs can transition to these new displays fairly easily. And they are scalable approaches for any sized display.

This all sounds marvelous – and it is quite exciting. But both companies have a lot of development work ahead of them to prove they can deliver the goods. There is a lot more to their stories that I can’t reveal, but suffice it to say that these are companies we will be tracking to see how they meet their milestones. SID 08 will again prove to be the place where dreams are made or companies are brought down to reality.

China TD-SCDMA and W-CDMA 3G subscribers by the end of 2011: China Mobile lost its original growth momentum

While China Unicom (W-CDMA) has been able to maintain an average 9.8% month by month growth of 3G subscribers in Q4 CY2011, China Mobile’s growth performance during the quarter has been significantly lower, 5.9% month by month on average. In fact China Mobile lost its momentum during the last 5 months of the year with only 6.2% average monthly growth while China Unicom’s has been an average 9.2% monthly growth during the same period which is even sligthly better than the average 9.1% during the first 7 months of the year:
 The analysis of this significant trend you can find in The new, high-volume market in China is ready to define the 2012 smartphone war [Jan 6, 2012] which was based on November data.

Intel 2011: a year of records, milestones and breakthroughs

Intel’s CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Jan 19, 2012] + Q&A

–> Intel’s industry position and prospects for years ahead [Dec 9, 2010 – March 21, 2011]
      • reinvented the transistor with our 3-D Tri-Gate technology
        –> Intel’s SoC strategy strengthened by 22nm Tri-Gate technology [May 10 – Nov 30, 2011]
      • unveiled a new generation of personal computers, the Ultrabook
      • And
        when Windows 8 launches, we’ll be ready with both PCs and tablets.

        –> Windows 8 Metro style Apps + initial dev reactions [Sept 15, 2011]
        –> Windows 8: the first 12 hours headlines and reports [Sept 14, 2011]
        –> Windows 8 gaining smartphone like “connected standby” capability [Nov 23, 2011]
        –> A too early assesment of the emerging ‘Windows 8’ dev & UX functionality [June 24 – Aug 19, 2011]
        –> Microsoft’s next step in SoC level slot management [May 27 – June 2, 2011]
        –> Microsoft on five key technology areas and Windows 8 [May 24, 2011]
        –> Acer’s decision of restructuring: a clear sign of accepting the inevitable disintegration of the old PC (Wintel) ecosystem and the need for joining one of the new ecosystems under formation [April 1 – Aug 2, 2011]
        –> CES 2011 presence with Microsoft moving to SoC & screen level slot management that is not understood by analysts/observers at all [Jan 7, 2011]
        • Our intention is to participate broadly … from day one, as you see the Android tablets coming out and Windows 8 tablets coming out.
        • And you’ll see us well-positioned in multiple price point on those. And who knows where those prices go over time, but our intention would be to use the advanced silicon integration capability we have to be able to drive the build material cost down, integration up in tablet space, which I think is going to be a sweet spot for Intel.
        • [regarding much lower Android tablet sales than most expected for 2011:] actually, they were about where I thought they would be, but I was well below what many of you had. I think the thing is, tablets are a little bit about hardware and an awful lot about software. And I think that until you get to Ice Cream Sandwich, the offering isn’t as powerful as what’s out there with Apple. And as the Ice Cream Sandwich tablets start shipping, I think you’ll start seeing a little bit better receptivity, Google just added the music store, the videos are better, everything got a little bit better bit ICS. And so I think the better test is year 2 here, in terms of is there anyone that can compete with the iPad?
          –> “A new tablet from Vizio will come with Intel’s upcoming Atom chip, code-named Medfield, and will run Google’s Android operating system” –> VIZIO’s two pronged strategy: Android based V.I.A. Plus device ecosystem + Windows based premium PC entertainment [Jan 11, 2012]
          –> Intel: accelerated Atom SoC roadmap down to 22nm in 2 years and a “new netbook experience” for tablet/mobile PC market [April 17, 2011]
        • And then the other part of that test, of course, is the Windows 8 tablets that are being queued up for production. So I don’t know that the whole tablet thing is settled down by any stretch, and I do have a lot of interest in, if you heard me at CES about these hybrid and convertible designs as they apply to clamshells, where there’s a significant blurring between what people do with tablets and what people do with PCs. So the jury is out on I think the long-term segmentation by form factor.
        • But I do think you’ll see more progress on the Android side as a result of ICS.
      • closed 2 large acquisitions: Together, McAfee and IMC added $3.6 billion in revenue and new strategic capabilities in security and connectivity that will allow us to extend our strategies across the continuum of computing.
        • McAfee:  has already announced the Deep Safe platform, around which we are building a family of products to take advantage of the combination of McAfee software and Intel silicon to deliver first-of-its-kind protection against day 0 threats.
          and
        • Infineon Wireless Solutions: the Infineon acquisition has given us a very strong position in basic phones and feature phones. They shipped 400 million modems this year into the cell phone business.
          –> New Mobile and Communications Group (MCG) at Intel [Dec 16 – 30, 2011]
      • in the fourth quarter, we announced the acquisition of Telmap, whose location-based search and navigation expertise will allow us to add differentiated services to Intel architecture-based devices from Ultrabooks to smartphones
      • broke ground on the world’s first 14-nanometer fabs, D1X in Oregon and Fab 42 in Arizona:
        –> Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple! [Feb 21 – March 25, 2011]
        –> mentioning that in 3 years down to 14nm: Intel: accelerated Atom SoC roadmap down to 22nm in 2 years and a “new netbook experience” for tablet/mobile PC market [April 17, 2011]
        • Turning to 2012 … We are forecasting an increase in capital spending to $12.5 billion as we build the world’s first high-volume manufacturing factories for 14-nanometer process technology.
        • In terms of the makeup of the specific capital in ’12, it’s more heavily weighted than what we’ve historically seen to building buildings. … it’s a 2-year cycle and we’re building buildings. So we’re seeing that it’s more than 1/3 of the total capital in ’12. I think that piece starts to come down in ’13. The equipment piece actually comes down from ’11 to ’12, and that’s a little more — it’s heavily weighted towards 14-nanometer equipment that we’re putting in place.
      • 2011 revenue and earnings were the best in Intel’s history
        • surpassed $50 billion in revenue for the first time, after crossing $40 billion for the first time just last year
          • a fantastic year for our Data Center Group, with revenue up 17% on record microprocessor units, exceeding $10 billion for the first time
          • storage revenue was up 42% to a new record high
          • Embedded Communications Infrastructure business was up 18%, also to a new record high
          • record notebook microprocessor units in 2011, as the PC Client Group grew 17%, fueled by demand in the enterprise and emerging markets
            • China, now the largest PC market in the world, represents 20% of all PC demand, and grew a remarkable 15%. Even with that, China has a household penetration rate of just 35%, versus almost 90% in the U.S
          • Sandy Bridge microprocessors accounted for approximately 40% of the company’s total revenue
            –> Intel’s SoC strategy strengthened by 22nm Tri-Gate technology [May 10 – Nov 30, 2011]
          • We’ll launch Ivy Bridge, our first 22-nanometer product, in early spring. Ivy Bridge will improve on the graphics performance of Sandy Bridge by more than 70%. We have a very fast ramp of Ivy Bridge, strong demand …
          • In terms of utilizations, we’re running full out today. We’re just at the beginning edge of 22-nanometer [with the ramping 4 big 22-nanometer factories]. Every unit that we can get out there, we can sell. So we’re running the new stuff full out. … those first wafers that come off the line for 22-nanometer, these are big factories, the very first products are coming off the line now. Those tend to be pretty expensive [therefore Q1 gross margin forecast is 63% vs 64% for the full year on a high 9 — high single-digit revenue growth] and that cost comes down over the course of the year as well.
        • this was our second consecutive year of more than 20% revenue growth
      • volume shipments of our Sandy Bridge server product, code-named Romley, have begun: We’ll launch Romley for servers in the first quarter. We’re seeing right now, stronger demand for Romley than we did from the Nehalem at the same point of its life sort of 2 years ago. The product is in high-volume production now getting ready for our customers assistance launches later this quarter and into early Q2.
        • … the Data Center business we have today is not your grandmother Server business that we had for many years, right? There’s other elements in there around storage and networking equipment.
        • And the other big element of that is the sales to the large Internet data centers that are being built up around the world. … They tend to be a function of when Facebook or Google or Amazon decides to turn on a new Data Center and they buy x 100,000 units. Or there’s a new generation and they want to have a quick complete swap out.
        • And as a result, we’re seeing a change to the historical linearity that we saw in this — in the enterprise Data Center business for many years. So I think you should probably get used to a little bit more lumpiness here and look at the overall year-on-year growth, which is what we’ve been trying to discuss at the last couple of analyst meetings.
      • we also demonstrated Knights Corner, the first single-chip coprocessor capable of delivering a teraflop of computing power
        –> “Knights Corner, the first commercial Intel MIC (many integrated core) architecture product, will be manufactured using Intel’s latest 3-D Tri-Gate 22nm transistor process and will feature more than 50 cores. Furthermore, Intel promises compatibility with existing x86 programming model and tools.” –> Intel’s Knights Corner: 50+ Core 22nm Co-processor [tom’s hardware, Nov 16, 2011]
      • China is the world’s largest market for mobile phones with more than 950 million subscribers. It’s also at the forefront of the smartphone boom and will be the home of the world’s first 32-nanometer smartphone.
      • Last week at CES, Lenovo announced the K800 smartphone based on our Medfield SoC. The K800 will be available on the China Unicom network in Q2, and will showcase Intel architecture in a phone with very competitive battery life and outstanding performance.
–> New Mobile and Communications Group (MCG) at Intel [Dec 16 – 30, 2011]
–> “A new tablet from Vizio will come with Intel’s upcoming Atom chip, code-named Medfield, and will run Google’s Android operating system. … Intel’s Medfield & Atom Z2460 Arrive for Smartphones: It’s Finally Here [AnandTech, Jan 11, 2012] …” –> VIZIO’s two pronged strategy: Android based V.I.A. Plus device ecosystem + Windows based premium PC entertainment [Jan 11, 2012]
–> Intel SoC for Cloud Clients [June 27 – Aug 23, 2010]
    • [Also] announced the Medfield-based smartphone reference design that boasts a sleek form factor, 8 hours of talk time, 6 hours of 1080p video playback and 14 days of standby power, clearly demonstrating the low-power, high-performance capabilities of Intel architecture. Yet as the performance of this device that really showcases what’s possible when you combine advanced process technology and the world’s most popular computer architecture. Though Medfield is our very first smartphone SoC, independent testers appointed to benchmarks to place Medfield reference design among the very best in the markets.
    • It was this differentiated performance and exceptional roadmap and exciting new usage models that led to our multiyear, multi-device strategic relationship with Motorola Mobility. The first of these Intel architecture-based devices will go through carrier certification this summer with commercial availability shortly thereafter. And while the Lenovo and Motorola designs are exciting first steps, we’re not done making announcements in the smartphone space.
    • On phones, our strategy is a little bit different [from those of PC’s and tablet’s]. We’re coming in at the top of the smartphone market. Our value proposition initially is aimed at best performance and very competitive feature sets and very good battery life. Over — and then let me say on the other end of the market, the Infineon acquisition has given us a very strong position in basic phones and feature phones. They shipped 400 million modems this year into the cell phone business. So over time, what we’ll want to do is grow that capability up by integrating the apps processor and the comm processors onto the same chip, while we drive our initial positions in apps processors from the top down.
    • [regarding: given that all the smartphones also have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS and … . Do you have that capability today internally? ] Yes, we’ve got the multi-comm capability in-house. A lot of that came with the acquisition from the Infineon group. And that’s got 2G, 3G, they have an LTE solution underway. We’ve had Wi-Fi forever, and we’ve had Bluetooth for many years. So all of those are being integrated into our comms capabilities. In fact, we’ve integrated those business units now into a single unit to be able to accelerate that.
    • I did not say, I want to be very clear, I did not say that our intent would be to integrate Medfield to baseband. I said over time, you’ll see us move from the low-end baseband-only business in the feature phones and value phones to having it a more integrated capability. I didn’t say when and what generation. I’m really not at liberty to discuss that. But the major thrust over the next year or 2 is going to be to have very high-performance modems as a comps processor and the best-of-class apps processors for smartphones.

AH-IPS technology from LG Display and True HD IPS of LG Mobile LTE superphones: Nitro HD (AT&T) and Spectrum (Verizon)

Penetration rate of IPS/FFS panels in mobile PC sector to reach 20% in 2014-2015, says DisplaySearch [Jan 19, 2012]

The penetration rate of IPS (in-plane switching) and FFS (fringe-field switching) panels in the mobile PC (including notebook, netbooks and tablet PCs) segment is expected to climb from 11% in 2011 to 20% in 2014-2015, Display Search has indicated in a Chinese-language press release.

While IPS/FFS LCD panels held a 31% penetration rate in the LCD TV segment in 2011, DisplaySearch estimated that the penetration rate of IPS/FFS panels in the desktop monitor sector, in which IPS/FFS is being used for specific applications such as medical equipment, will soar to 25% in 2015 from 7% in 2011 as LG Display aims to make IPS panels a standard for desktop monitors.

LG Display (LGD) has been the top supplier for IPS/FFS panels, accounting for 80% share of IPS/FFS panels in 9.1-inch sizes and above. Panasonic LCD serves as a major supplier of IPS/FFS panels for TV applications. LGD plans to venture into the development of AH-IPS technology for display devices in the next few years, DisplaySearch noted.

While Samsung Electronics and some Taiwan-based flat panel makers will also roll out IPS panels, China-based BOE Technology has begun shipping 32-inch TV panels using FFS technology, DisplaySearch noted.

LGD is also a major vendor for small- to medium-size IPS panels, taking up a 25% share in the below 9-inch size segment, and other vendors including Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba each also hold a certain market share in the sector. However, when Japan Display will officially be set up in 2012, the company will become the largest supplier for small- to medium-size IPS/FFS panels, said DisplaySearch.

LG Display introduce new AH-IPS technology for Tablet PCs and smartphones at SID-2011 [Oct 26, 2011]

LG Display introduce AH-IPSat the SID-2011 in Los Angeles. AH-IPS is a new advanced high performance In-Plane switching technology.

LG Display’s3.5-inch smartphone panel supports 960×640 pixel resolution at 326 PPI, delivering the most detailed images among smartphones available on the market.

What is AH-IPS?

AH-IPS technology, an advanced form of IPS, has realizes 1.5 to 2 times the resolution of typical LCD panels. This ultra high resolution becomes particularly valuable when the emphasis is on displaying highly detailed images. The technology also improves display’s color accuracy, which in turn leads to reproduce the original color precisely without color distortion. In addition, it provides greater lighttransmission which translates into lower power consumption while delivering exceptional picture quality, making it ideal for use in outdoor settings.

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The AH-IPS panels deliver ultra high resolution, notable for their superiority in use for smartbooks, tablet pcs and smartphones. LGDisplay shows off a full line-up of products which deliver ultra high resolution, including 3.5- and 4.5-inch panels for smartphones, 7- and 9.7-inch panels for smartbooks, and 55- and 84- inch panels for TVs at the exhibition. In particular, by highlighting the strengths of AH-IPS, the company plans to solidify its competitive edge in the smart mobile market. The Company is already enjoying dominance in technology, supply capability, and cost competiveness based on its extended experience in mass production.

“Consumers can enjoy crisp and clean pictures in any device like smartphones and smartbooks with LG Display’s proprietary AH-IPS technology,” said President and CEO of LG Display Mr. Young Soo Kwon. “Our goal is to be the world’s No. 1 display maker that consistently delivers groundbreaking technologies like IPS to innovate the display industry.”

Resolution is generally defined by the total number of pixels whereas image crispness is measured by pixels–per-inch (PPI) which refers to pixel density per unit area. The ultra high resolution technology employed by AH-IPS adds a greater number of pixels than the PPI that can be recognized by the human eye at a typical distance. This makes it more difficult for the naked eye to distinguish each individual pixel, thus making the image sharper.

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Apple use IPS-LCD technology for the Iphone (Retina) Ipad etc. Now Apple got some new advanced technology from LG-Display. We will see this kind of displays in the next generation Iphone

LG Nitro HD — True HD [LGUSAMobile, Jan 13, 2012]

LG Display’s AH-IPS Panel Receives the World’s First Quality & Performance Mark from Intertek for Color Accuracy [LG Display press release, Aug 24, 2011]

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LG Display [NYSE: LPL, KRX: 034220], a leading innovator of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) technology, announced today that its Advanced High Performance In-Plane Switching (AH-IPS) technology received the Quality & Performance Mark from Intertek, a global product testing and certification company, for color accuracy. The 4.5-inch AH-IPS panel designed for mobile devices is the first LCD module in the world to receive the certification given to products that outperform others in the same category after rigorous independent testing.

AH-IPS was also recognized as superior to a comparable AMOLED display in terms of power consumptionin the same tests.

The two products Intertek tested, a 4.5-inch (HD, 720 x 1280, 329ppi) AH-IPS display scheduled for release in the second half of 2011 and a 4.3-inch (WVGA, 480 x 800, 217ppi) AMOLED display adopted in the Samsung Galaxy S2 handset, are regarded in the industry as the leading smartphone displays.

In tests of color accuracy, the color reproduction of LG Display’s 4.5-inch AH-IPS display was shown to be three times more accurate, receiving a color accuracy*rating of 0.012 compared with 0.037 for the 4.3-inch AMOLED display. The less accurate color gamut that AMOLED recorded can be proven to result in color distortion, based on a 2008 report by the Advanced PDP Development Center Corporation which showed that when color accuracy exceeds 0.015, colors are perceived differently by the human eye.

In terms of power consumption, the 4.5-inch AH-IPS with a brightness of 600 nits was found by Intertek to consume a constant level of power at 624mW on all color expressions compared to as much as 1,130mW for the 4.3-inch AMOLEDwhen displaying full-white colors. The result demonstrates that, despite its larger and brighter display, AH-IPS can be regarded as a more energy-efficient and environment-friendly display than AMOLED.

Considering current smartphone trends where users are increasingly browsing the Internet and accessing social networking services which heavily utilize white backgrounds, power consumption is expected to grow in importance for consumers, particularly as next-generation 4G smartphones are said to consume 1.5~2 times more power than current smartphones.

“The certification from Intertek proves that AH-IPS is more suitable for mobile displays than AMOLED,” said Sang Yeoup Rhee, Vice President of AH-IPS Marketing in LG Display. “With credible global testing demonstrating the superiority AH-IPS, LG Display plans aggressively to promote and to highlight the superior performance of AH-IPS to consumers.”

Intertek tested color accuracy through a spectrophotometer that measured color temperature against standardized display color, and power consumption under 14 different color patterns using a standardized international test for power consumption under the same conditions.

*Color accuracy is measured numerically by △u’v’. A lower value indicates a smaller gap between the original color and reproduced color

About LG Display

LG Display Co., Ltd. [NYSE: LPL, KRX: 034220] is a leading manufacturer and supplier of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels, OLEDs and flexible displays. The company provides TFT-LCD panels in a wide range of sizes and specifications for use in TVs, monitors, notebook PCs, mobile products and other various applications. LG Display currently operates eight fabrication facilities and six back-end assembly facilities in Korea, China and Poland. The company has a total of 50,000 employees operating worldwide. Please visit http://www.lgdisplay.com for more information.

Amazing True HD IPS Display [LGUSAMobile, Dec 21, 2011]

LG Nitro HD Launch Event In True HD [Dec 5, 2011]

LG Mobile with celebrity photographer Tyler Shields ushered in the next evolution of mobile device display technology last night during the launch event for LG Nitro HD, the first smartphone in AT&T’s portfolio with a True HD AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance In-Plane Switching) display. Taking place at the ultra modern New Museum in New York’s SoHo district, guests were able to experience the advantages of LG Nitro HD and its striking 4.5-inch display first-hand, which will be available in AT&T stores and online Dec. 4 for $249.99 with a two-year contract.

LG NITRO HD DELIVERS FIRST TRUE HIGH-DEFINITION EXPERIENCE FOR AT&T CUSTOMERS [LG press release, Nov 28, 2011]

Exclusive to AT&T Customers, Android-Powered LG Nitro™ HDProvides High-Definition Display, Lightning-Fast Processing Speeds and AT&T 4G LTE Capabilities

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Key Facts

• LG Nitro™ HD, the first smartphone in the AT&T* portfolio with a true high definition screen becomes the third 4G LTE smartphone for AT&T customers.

• Available in AT&T stores and online Dec. 4 for $249.99 with a two-year commitment.
[No Commitment Pricing $550]

• Dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and access to AT&T’s 4G LTE makes Nitro HD the ultimate high-performance superphone.

• AT&T 4G LTE recently expanded to 15 markets. AT&T plans to reach 70 million Americans with 4G LTE by year-end 2011.

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LG Nitro HD

The LG Nitro™ HD, featuring a 4.5-inch True HD AH-IPS display, will be available exclusively to AT&T customers beginning Dec. 4 in company owned stores and online. Setting a new standard for a mobile device, LG Nitro HD comes equipped with a stunning true high-definition touchscreen display, a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and access to AT&T’s 4G LTE where available, making it the ultimate high-performance superphone. Not only is LG Nitro HD powerful and incredibly fast, it also features multitasking abilities and offers the latest evolution in mobile device display technology for higher image resolutions and text readability.

Taking advantage of LG’s new proprietary True HD technology, LG Nitro HD’s 4.5-inch AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance In-Plane Switching) display supports resolutions up to 1280 X 720 pixels and offers unrivaled color accuracy, brightness, battery efficiency and performance. LG Nitro HD’s 500 nit display luminance allows for clear viewing in direct sunlight and RGB stripe pixels deliver incredibly accurate true-to-life color rendering.

LG Nitro HD offers incredibly quick speed, power and efficiency in a slim design (5.27” X 2.67” X 0.41”) making it easy to view, create and share in HD. LG Nitro HD multitasks seamlessly and with AT&T 4G LTE and HSPA+ where available, it easily browses even the most content-heavy websites and runs HD games with ease, including HD gaming from the Gameloft HD game store and Zynga Poker HD.

An 8-megapixel HD camera and 20 GB of total memory (4 GB on-board plus 16 GB via In-box microSD) allows users to capture and view crystal-clear True HD images and video. Wi-Fi Direct™ technology and DLNA® features offer wireless HD content streaming options, making it easier and faster than ever to share HD content with the people and networks that matter the most.

AT&T is the only U.S. carrier providing 4G using both HSPA+ and LTE technologies. HSPA+, when combined with enhanced backhaul, provides customers with compatible devices 4G speeds, meaning customers get a faster and more consistent 4G experience, even when outside of an AT&T 4G LTE area.

Pricing and Availability

Be one of the first to experience the phenomenon of LG Nitro HD on Dec. 4, available exclusively in AT&T company owned stores and online for just $249.99 after a two-year contract.

Quotes

“With the LG Nitro HD as one of our last smartphones to arrive in 2011, we’re closing out the year with a bang,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Devices, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “We’ve seen others get close to a true HD experience on Android superphones this year, but Nitro HD is the one that does it right.”

“LG continues to push the boundaries of what is possible on mobile devices today,” said Tim O’Brien, vice president of marketing for LG Mobile. “LG Nitro HD will be the first smartphone available for AT&T to feature True HD AH-IPS capabilities, and the advantages of a crystal clear display are immediately evident after seeing the device first hand. In addition to sporting the clearest and crispest display on the market, LG Nitro HD will be one of the fastest and most powerful smartphones available.”

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

Limited 4G LTE availability in select markets. 4G speeds delivered by LTE or HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul, where available. Deployment ongoing. Compatible device and data plan required. LTE is a trademark of ETSI. Learn more at att.com/network.

Limited-time offer]. LG Nitro HD with new 2-yr wireless agrmt of $39.99 or higher and min $15/mo data plan is $249.99. Wireless Service: Subject to Wireless Customer Agrmt. Coverage and svcs not avail everywhere. Credit approval req’d. Activ. Fee up to $36/line. Geographic, usage, and other terms, conditions and restrictions apply, and may result in svc termination. See store or visit att.com for complete details and coverage maps. Data: Min $15/mo, 200MB, data plan required. If you exceed your initial 200MB allowance, you will automatically be charged an average of $15 for each additional 200MB provided. All data allowances and overages must be used in the billing period provided or they will be forfeited – details att.com/dataplans. Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge up to $1.25/mo. is chrg’d to help comply with gov’t obligations and chrgs; it is not a tax or gov’t req’d chrg. Early Termination Fee (ETF): After 30 days, ETF up to $325 based on device (details att.com/equipmentETF). Restocking fee up to $35. Taxes and other charges apply.

VERIZON WIRELESS AND LG MOBILE CONTINUE LEGACY OF INNOVATION BY OFFERING A TRUE HD MOBILE EXPERIENCE WITH SPECTRUM™ BY LG [LG press release, Jan 9, 2012]

Latest LG Smartphone Boasts True HD IPS Display, Verizon Wireless 4G LTE, Dual-Core Processor and ESPN ScoreCenter App with Exclusive HD Feed

LAS VEGAS – From the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Verizon Wireless and LG Mobile today announced Spectrum™ by LG smartphone, exclusively for Verizon Wireless. Spectrum is the first smartphone for Verizon Wireless to feature a 4.5-inch True HD In-Plane Switching (IPS) display, the same display technology used in premium LG HD televisions. Intensifying its HD capabilities, Spectrum by LG will give customers exclusive HD access to the ESPN™ ScoreCenter application. Spectrum will be in the Verizon booth (Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall, Booth #30259) and LG booth (Las Vegas Convention Center, Central Hall, Booth #8204).

ESPN’s ScoreCenter app is supported by an exclusive HD video feed, giving customers the exclusive access to ScoreCenter stats, images and videos in 720p HD. Scoreboards and live game details include in-game stats, news and video. Personalization features allow fans to customize their ScoreCenter experience by highlighting their favorite teams and leagues from around the world, all in crystal clear high-definition.

Showcasing LG’s True HD technology, Spectrum by LG supports 1280 x 720 resolution and offers one of the brightest and sharpest displays available on a mobile device. Spectrum’s 500-nit display luminance and Real-Stripe RGB pixels offer users clear viewing in direct sunlight and accurate true-to-life color rendering.

Spectrum also features a Qualcomm® 1.5 GHz dual-core processor combined with 4G LTE connectivity for robust power, multitasking and download speeds. Verizon Wireless leads the way in 4G with the fastest and most reliable 4G network in the United States, covering more than 200 million people in 190 markets.

Key features:

• 4.5-inch True HD IPS display provides natural colors and brilliant, undistorted HD images in 16:9 aspect ratio. Pictures and texts are incredibly sharp with 329 pixels per inch (PPI) screen density.

• Protected by Corning® Gorilla® Glass, the True HD IPS display uses Real Stripe subpixel arrangement so images never get blurred.

• Android™ 2.3 Gingerbread (Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade available the first half of 2012); support for Google™ Mobile Services including Gmail™, YouTube™, Google Talk™, Google Search™, Google Maps™ and access to more than 300,000 apps available to download from Android Market™.

• Preloaded Netflix app allows Netflix subscribers to stream the latest movies in high-definition quality.

• Qualcomm 1.5 GHz dual-core processor makes multitasking seamless. Customers can surf the Web, check email and update social networks effortlessly.

• ESPN’s ScoreCenter app offers the most comprehensive sports coverage available on an Android device whether you follow the NFL or Premier League, ICC Champions League or MLB™, NASCAR or Formula One™. Customers can follow teams from more than 500 leagues around the world with an exclusive 720p high-definition feed for Spectrum by LG while connected to the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network or Wi-Fi.

• Spectrum supports Dolby® Digital Plus, which allows users to maximize their HD multimedia experience. Dolby Digital Plus can stream up to 7.1 channels of surround sound through home entertainment systems.

Additional features:

• 8-megapixel rear-facing autofocus camera with LED flash to snap beautiful pictures and 1080p video capture

• Front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video chat

• SmartMovie HD app—create and edit HD videos right on the Spectrum by LG

• Mobile Hotspot capability—share 4G LTE connection with up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices

• Bluetooth® Version 3.0

• 16 GB microSD™ card pre-installed with support for up to 32 GB microSD card

• SmartShare—share media wirelessly to DLNA®-enabled devices

• HDMI mirroring capable via MHL

Pricing and availability:

• Spectrum by LG will be available on Jan. 19 in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at http://www.verizonwireless.com for $199.99with a new two-year customer agreement.

• Customers who purchase a Spectrum by LG will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan beginning at $39.99 monthly access and a smartphone data package starting at $30 monthly access for 2 GB of data.

Customers Can Score the Game Winner

LG and ESPN are teaming up to give fans the chance to score an unbelievable sports weekend, including two tickets to ESPN The Magazine’s NEXT Event and a trip to the big game in Indianapolis on Sunday, Feb. 5. Customers can visit http://www.SpectrumbyLg.com or http://www.verizonwireless.com/spectrum for official rules, details and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of sports history.

For more information and product images, please visit LG’s online press kit at http://www.LGnewsroom.com/ces2012.

True HD is now mobile [LG data sheet, Jan 9, 2012]

Spectrum by LG sharpens the vision of what’s truly superior in mobile technology. Beneath its exceptionally large 4.5″ True HD IPS display is a mighty combination of power and speed.

A Qualcomm® 1.5 GHz dual-core processor compliments Verizon 4G LTE connectivity, generating an astoundingly fast overall experience. You’ve never seen this before—expect to be blown away.

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Perfecting the Pixel – The True HD IPS display utilizes Real Stripe subpixel arrangement, which is denser and 1.4 times sharper than PenTile™ subpixel arrangement on typical Super AMOLED display

image
True HD IPS Super AMOLED

Take It All In

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The 1280 x 720 pixel resolution provides additional screen space for more visible page content when compared to a typical smartphone screen.

Down to the Details

The 4.5″ True HD IPS display provides brilliant, undistorted HD images at a 16:9 aspect ratio. With 329 pixels per inch screen density, pictures and texts are sharp even at the smallest details.

Record videos at 1080p and snap beautiful pictures with the 8 MP camera/camcorder.

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Super Powered Multitasking – By utilizing the dual-core processor plus the 4G LTE connectivity, multitasking is seamless on Spectrum. It zooms its way through web surfing, emails, and social networks effortlessly

GOOGLE™ INTEGRATION

• Android™ 2.3 Platform (Gingerbread)

• Android Market

• Google Maps™ Navigation

• Preloaded Apps: Alarm/Clock, Browser, Calculator, Camera, Contacts, Email, Gallery, Gmail,™ Google Search, Latitude,™ Maps, Market, Messaging, Music, Phone, Places,™ Polaris Office, Richnote, Smart Movie HD, Video Player, Voice Dialer, Voice Recorder, Voice Search, Voicemail, YouTube™

CONNECTIVITY

• Verizon 4G LTE Network1

• 4G Mobile Hotspot – share a data connection with up to 10 other devices (or 5 devices on a 3G network2)†

• Bluetooth® Version: 3.0

• Save Up to 100 Bluetooth Pairings3

• Supported Bluetooth Profiles: headset, hands-free, serial port, advanced audio distribution (stereo), messaging access profile, audio/video remote control, object push, file transfer, phone book access, audio/visual distribution, audio/visual control transport protocol

• Wi-Fi® Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n

• Wi-Fi Direct™ – connect directly to another Wi-Fi Direct device without having to join a wireless network

• S-GPS Support for Location Accuracy

1Verizon’s 4G LTE Network not available everywhere.

2Depends on device memory and network availability.

3Depends on available memory

†Verizon Wireless service required. Features based on carrier program availability.

ENTERTAINMENT

• True HD IPS Solution – 16:9 aspect ratio, 1280 x 720 pixel resolution at 329 ppi provides more visible page content and sharper details

• 1080p HD recording1

• Smart Movie HD – make and edit HD videos

• SmartShare – share media wirelessly to DLNA®-enabled devices

• HDMI® mirroring via MHL2

• Video Player with Touch Lock, Dolby® Sound Effect, Next/Previous Button, More Menu Options and Resume Play Function; supports DivX,® WMV, MP4, 3GP, and 3G2 Formats

• Music Player for MP3, AAC, AAC+, M4A, WMA, AMR, MIDI, Ogg Vorbis, and WAV Formats

• Convenient Music Controls – access music playing controls from the Notifications panel

• Preloaded Verizon Apps: Backup Assistant, Guided Tours, My Verizon Mobile, V CASTSM Media Manager, V CAST Tones, Verizon Video, VZ Navigator®

• TuneWiki – discover new music via recommendations from friends and fellow users; play music, radio, and video with synchronized lyrics

• Accelerometer – switch portrait/landscape view; control games by turning/tilting phone3

• USB Mass Storage4

1Content must be shared on larger HD display for 1080p playback.

2MHL Adapter required (sold separately).

3Only available on certain interactions with the touch screen.

4USB cable and microSD™ card required (both included).

CAMERA/VIDEO

• 8 Megapixel Rear-Facing Autofocus Camera and Camcorder with LED Flash

• 1.3 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera for Self-Portraits and Video Chat

• Rear-Facing Camera Resolutions: 3264 x 2448 (default), 3264 x 1836, 2560 x 1920, 2048 x 1536, 2304 x 1296, 1280 x 960, 1536 x 864 pixels

• Front-Facing Camera Resolutions: 1280 x 960 (default), 1280 x 720, 640 x 480 pixels

• Image Editor – zoom, crop, and rotate

• Face Tracking – automatically finds and focuses on faces

• Tag Location – add geographic data to images

• Customizable Brightness,1 Scene Mode, ISO, White Balance,1 Color Effect,1Timer, and Shot Mode

• Camera and Video Zoom: up to 4x

• Full HD Video Recording – record video in 1080p HD for sharing or playing on a larger display2

• Video Resolutions: 1920 x 1088 (default),31280 x 720, 720 x 480, 640 x 480, 320 x 240, 176 x 144 pixels

• Audio Recording – record video with or without sound (mute)

1Available in both camera and video modes.

2Content must be shared on larger HD display for 1080p playback.

3Depends on available memory.

CONVENIENCE

• Simultaneous Voice and 4G Data – browse the web or send email while on a voice call

• Connect to Social Networks

• Enhanced HTML Web Browser

• Text, Picture, Video, Group (send a message to a group of contacts who can see and reply to the group), and Location Messaging†

• Mobile Instant Messaging

• Email – mobile personal & corporate email

• One-Touch Speakerphone1

• Speaker-Independent Voice Commands

• Text-to-Speech

• MP3 Music Ringer Support (song clips)†

• 31 Unique Ringtones + Vibrate & Silent Modes

• TTY/TDD Support

• Contacts – unlimited fields2 for numbers, email addresses, a group, physical addresses, organization names, IM screen names, web addresses, events, notes, nickname, and picture ID3

• Speed Dial – 98 entries + 1 voicemail default

• Proximity Sensor – locks touch screen and buttons while talking on phone

• Touch Vibration for Tactile Feedback4

• Languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, French, German, or Italian

• FOTA – upgrade firmware over the air†

1Only available during a call.

2Depends on available memory.

3Depends on photos stored in your gallery.

4Only available on certain interactions with the touch screen

SPECIFICATIONS

• Technology: CDMA 1x, EVDO Rev. A, LTE

• Frequencies: 1.9 GHz CDMA PCS, 800 MHz CDMA DCN, 700 MHz LTE

• Data Transmission: LTE, EVDO Rev. A, 1xRTT

• Processor: 1.5 GHz Dual-Core Qualcomm SnapdragonS3

• Weight: 4.99 oz.

• Display: 4.5″ True HD AH-IPS, 16:9 display ratio, 1280 x 720 pixel resolution at 329 ppi, 16.7M Color, LCD Capacitive Touch Screen

• USB: 2.0 High Speed

• Standard Battery: 1830 mAh

• Usage Time: up to 498 minutes1

• Standby Time: up to 348 hours1

• Micro USB Charging Port2

• Memory: 4 GB onboard + 16 GB pre-installed microSD card (slot is expandable up to 32 GB)3; 1 GB RAM

1Certain features may use more power and cause actual time to vary.

2USB Cable included.

31.81 GB for apps; 16 GB microSD card included. Additional memory cards sold separately

ACCESSORIES

• Standard Battery*

• Travel Adapter and USB Cable*

• 16 GB microSD Memory Card*

• Extended Battery (3,040 mAh)

• Wireless Charging Pad (WCP-700)

• Wireless Charging Battery Door

• Media Charging Dock

• Vehicle Mount

• Vehicle Power Charger

Bluetooth Headsets (HBM-235, HBM-570, HBM-905)

Bluetooth Headset with Charging Cradle (HBM-585)

Bluetooth Headset with Speakerphone and Solar Charging Cradle (HBM-810)

• LG TONE™ (Bluetooth Stereo Headset HBS-700)

*Included with phone

Pixel Qi finding ruggedized devices are the 2012 opportunity

In addition we have got many design wins what is the next crop of tablets and other mobile devices coming out this year. We will see how those will do against Apple and so forth.” Then: “A small fab can produce one million panels a day. … A couple of million dollars are needed to adjust the process for Pixel Qi. … A committed order of at least half million is needed to start. … We have 1st tier design wins now. We will see what will come out of that.
Mary Lou Jepsen in the very last video from Charbax (see embedded in the end)

Pixel Qi sunlight readable displays at CES 2012 [Jan 11, 2012]

Pixel Qi’s LCD displays work in direct sunlight and can be used without a backlight. Turning off the light makes the screens look nearly black and white, but cuts the screen’s power consumption by as much as 80 percent. In an Android tablet, the screen could use as much as 75 percent of the device’s power.

from the accompanying Liliputing article:

The company has been showing off its display technology for the past few years, but few consumer products have shipped with Pixel Qi screens. The Notion Ink Adam tablet was available with an optional 10 inch, 1024 x 600 Pixel Qi screen, and the OLPC XO 3.0 tablet will also be available with a Pixel Qi display. But the display company has also had success with more specific markets where outdoor readable displays are a necessityrather than an option.

For instance, military tablets with GPS have been used by paratroopers who need to land on the ground and situate themselves immediately without first looking for shade. Pixel Qi has also been talking to companies interested in using sunlight readable displays in cars, trucks, tractors, and other motor vehicles.

At CES, Pixel Qi is showing off the same three screen sizes and resolutions as last year:

  • 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel
  • 10 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel
  • 10 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel

But the company has improved viewing angles and reflection. The screens still don’t have the best viewing angles around. If you look at the display from too sharp an angle, colors will wash out — but that’s not a problem that’s unique to Pixel Qi. While some high-quality devices with IPS displays can be viewed from nearly 180 angles without any loss of clarity, many other cheaper displays offer poorer viewing angles.

Coming 2012! SOL’s 7″ Android-Windows Tablet [SOL Computer, Jan 13, 2012]

Android Tablet "7

Sol Computer introduced a 10 inch Windows netbook and 10 inch Windows tablet with Pixel Qi sunlight viewable displays last year. Now the company is adding two new 7 inch modelsto its lineup, one with Google Android, and another with Windows.

Pixel Qi screens are dual-mode LCD displays which work as full-color screens when the backlight is on, or high-contrast, nearly black-and white displays with the screen off. What makes them special is that you can still see the screens even when the backlight is off, using nothing but ambient light.

Sol founder Chris Swanner says the tablets and netbooks have been popular with pilots and other professionals that work outdoors and in bright, sunlit environments where you really don’t want to have to deal with glare — and where a Windows device that can run highly specialized applications is a must.

This is a niche product though, and it costs a lot to add the Pixel Qi screens to a small number of devices. The Windows tablet has an Intel Atom processor, a capactive touchscreen, and a $1099 price tag — and Swanner says he’s not making a lot of profit at that level. But he’s selling around 20 to 30 devices a month. If volume were to go up, pricing could conceivably go down.

The two new tablets will have 7 inch, 1024 x 600 Pixel Qi displays. A prototype of the Android tablet was on-hand at the Consumer Electronics Show, but I was told that the hardware hasn’t been finalized — the plastic case may be sturdier on the final unit.

Sol Computer 7 inch Android tablet with Pixel Qi display [Jan 10, 2012]

This is a 7 inch Android tablet with a Pixel Qi screen. Final pricing and hardware specifications haven’t been finalized yet.

from the accompanying Liliputing article:

Sol doesn’t have a working prototype of the new 7 inch Windows tablet yet, but Cynovo, the Chinese company Sol works with to build its tablets had a similar model with a standard 7 inch LCD display to show.

Pricing hasn’t yet been set for the new 7 inch tablets, but they’re expected to cost less than the 10 inch, $1099 model.

The New Sol Tablet PC Featuring A 10″ Sunlight Readable Display [SOL Computer, Aug 12, 2011]


$1,099.00

Here is the latest sunlight readable Tablet PC offered by Sol Computer.com. We named it the Sol Tablet PC because it will add “some SOL to your life”. Take this Tablet PC anywhere and you will always be able to see the no glare screen display in brilliant high resolution. We have incorporated the latest Pixel Qi transflective back light technology built into our PC Tablet which provides a unique AntiGlare LED Display. Our Sol Tablet PC can be viewed perfectly in direct sunlight – no other tabletPC or IPad can make such a claim. Also, because the Sol Tablet PC has this antiglare technology built into it’s LED no glare screen, battery consumption is reduced significantly. In fact, this Win 7 Tablet PC, when viewed in full sunlight (reflective mode), LED power consumption is cut by up to 80%. This increases battery life to more than 10 hours!


$59.99

Checkout our Newest Product – DryCASE Tablet™ a flexible, crystal clear waterproof case that allows complete use of your tablet or e-reader while keeping it dry and clean. The vacuum seal takes all the air out of the case so there is no way that water can enter. There can be no exchange of gas (air) for liquid (water). The vacuum seal also allows full use of your touch screen because it seal flush on the face of the tablet.

Only one tablet has been successful in the last year” [in the next video from Charbax Mary Lou Jepsen names as “the tablet from Cupertino everyone is familiar with”, i.e. Apple iPad, saying that “unfortunately we are not in that tablet”] – CFO John Ryan – from the video embedded into the article below:

Pixel Qi Shifting their Business Strategy away from Consumer Electronics [Good e-Reader, Jan 12, 2012]

IMG_7269-1024x682[1]

Pixel Qi is well known for developing a new breed of screens that deliver an unparalleled experience in direct sunlight and draw very low power. The company has seen their technology showcased in the early One Laptop per Child program in Africa, which initially drew industry wide attention to the company. In the last year their screens were featured in various ZTE Tablets in China and recently in the Notion Ink Adam. In the last six months 3M invested heavily in the future of Pixel Qi and has influenced the direction of the company away from consumer electronics to more specialized industries, such as the military.

We have spoken with both the CFO and CEO over the years at various industry events and their decision to gravitate away from the fickle nature of e-readers and tablets was a wise decision. The company instead plans to focus their attention on specialized market segments that would benefit more from their technology and lead to more long-term contracts.

One of the first ways they will deploy their Pixel Qi technology is within the military and give soldiers a new way to receive mission data. If you look at your average paratrooper or ranger they are constantly receiving revised mission parameters and in harsh conditions like a dessert. Being in very bright environments or dark make no different with Pixel Qi, whose very essence is low-power no-glare technology which would make lives easier. Most military operations worldwide still employ maps and written communications, to receive updates to their mission requires many steps and circumstances change many times. The plan is for soldiers to have heavily versatile tablets that last for weeks and are wired into mission control to receive new updates on the fly. Another way their technology will be employed is with the hydro electric community where operators are frequently in high elevations in direct sunlight.

3M’s investment in Pixel Qi is allowing the company to deal with multiple fabs in Taiwan where the company is based and diversify their portfolio. Obviously when you receive a huge investment from a mega-corporation whose reach is all-encompassing you will receive a ton of connections within very specialized niches. 3M is found everywhere from cars, phones, hospitals, and tape. This will turn the company around and we were told in the near future their technology will be everywhere, but in products we will never see. Obviously Pixel Qi is not stepping totally away from the end user experience and they are currently dealing with a number of existing clients in future product launches. Check out our whole interview where CFO John Ryan talks to us in detail about the new direction of the company and demonstrating two new screens they brought with them to CES 2012.

We spoke with CFO John Ryan of Pixel Qi at CES 2012 where he talked about the new direction of the company, the influence of their new investor (3M) and where the company is going for the rest of the year. This is a great interview and gives you an unique prospective you can’t find anywhere but Goodereader.com

Pixel Qi at CES 2012 [Charbax, Jan 15, 2012]

The 1280×800 10.1″ Pixel Qi screen is ready, here it is demonstrated under bright spotlight simulating the sun as well as in some prototypes of upcoming Android tablets. Founder, CEO and inventor Mary Lou Jepsen talks about the latest news from Pixel Qi, where they are going, what they are up to.

Google adding a style guide (design guidelines) to Android (4 years late)

While it is still quite distant from Microsoft’s achievements in design, and taken together with Nokia even more so, it is better to be late than never come to that discipline at all. And Google is definitely here by any accounts now. A couple of quite impressive illustrations:

– “Pure Android” dialer, action bar and settings design solutions in the upper row vs. the corresponding iOS designs:

image

– “Pure Android” sampling of UI elements from Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7:

 image

– “Pure Android” sampling of icons from Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7:

image

Introducing the Android Design site [Android developers, Jan 12, 2012]

[This post is by Christian Robertson, who leads the Android visual design group. He is also the designer of the Roboto font family. —Tim Bray]

Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) is our biggest redesign yet — both for users and developers. We’ve enhanced the UI framework with new interactions and styles that will let you create Android apps that are simpler and more beautiful than ever before.

To help you in that mission, we’re introducing Android Design: the place to learn about principles, building blocks, and patterns for creating world-class Android user interfaces. Whether you’re a UI professional or a developer playing that role, these docs show you how to make good design decisions, big and small.

The Android User Experience Team is committed to helping you design amazing apps that people love, and this is just the beginning. In the coming months, we’ll expand Android Designwith more in-depth content. And watch this blog for a series of posts about design, and invitations to Google+ hangouts on the topics you care about most.

So head on over to Android Design, and make something amazing!

Matias Duarte interview: Android Design guidelines announcement [TheVerge, Jan 12, 2012]

Google’s Matias Duarte dropped by our trailer today to talk a little about Android, including the announcement that his team is introducing a new Android Design website and style guide.

Four essential twitter reflections on that:

mjeppsen Matt Jeppsen
4 yrs after Android was released. Brilliant. RT @verge: Google introducing UI & style guidelines for Ice Cream Sandwich http://bit.ly/zfgXSF

razvanpetru Razvan
Reading the Android UI guidelines, one thing’s clear – they’re not in the same league as iOS/WP7 yet.

JCDunn Jonathan Dunn
I like the intent behind the Android design guidelines. Content too. Adoption’s the nut. Especially w. an uncurated app ecosystem.

nickheer Nick Heer
“Please stop making iOS-style apps” is a good call from Google: http://developer.android.com/design/patterns/pure-android.html

Please note that before Android had only rudimentary User Interface Guidelines [June 1, 2009]:

Icon Design Guidelines and Android Icon Templates Pack»
Your applications need a wide variety of icons, from a launcher icon to icons in menus, dialogs, tabs, the status bar, and lists. The Icon Guidelines describe each kind of icon in detail, with specifications for the size, color, shading, and other details for making all your icons fit in the Android system. The Icon Templates Pack is an archive of Photoshop and Illustrator templates and filters that make it much simpler to create conforming icons.
Widget Design Guidelines
A widget displays an application’s most important or timely information at a glance, on a user’s Home screen. These design guidelines describe how to design widgets that fit with others on the Home screen. They include links to graphics files and templates that will make your designer’s life easier.
Activity and Task Design Guidelines
Activities are the basic, independent building blocks of applications. As you design your application’s UI and feature set, you are free to re-use activities from other applications as if they were yours, to enrich and extend your application. These guidelines describe how activities work, illustrates them with examples, and describes important underlying principles and mechanisms, such as multitasking, activity reuse, intents, the activity stack, and tasks. It covers this all from a high-level design perspective.
Menu Design Guidelines
Android applications make use of Option menus and Context menus that enable users to perform operations and navigate to other parts of your application or to other applications. These guidelines describe the difference between Options anontext menus, how to arrange menu items, when to put commands on-screen, and other details about menu design.

This is in sharp contrast to the other platforms as per:
UI Guidelines for mobile and tablet web app design [Mobile Web Programming, Oct 15-20, 2010]

Official user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) guidelines from the manufacturers, links to which you can find below, are a source of inspiration for mobile web and app design. Here, you will find guidelines, samples, tips, and descriptions of common mistakes. Many of the guidelines focus on native application development, but we can apply most parts of them to mobile web design too.

Remember to provide the best possible experience on each platform. Do not deliver an iPhone experience to a BlackBerry user. Every platform has its own UI and usability guidelines that every user is expecting on your app.

More tips on mobile web design on the Programming the Mobile Web book.

Do you know any other UI Guideline? Insert the link on the comment area.

Now a verdict on the new Android Design Guideline from the maturity point of view:
Half-Assed [Nick Heer, Jan 12, 2012]

On one hand:

Android OEMs and app developers will be provided with a set of in-depth guidelines on how to build atop of Android.

The initial version of the guide includes information like typography, color palettes, and other stylistic advice, as well as a breakdown of the components making up the Android UI.

That’s great for everyone. Developers get a clear idea of what an Android app should look like, and how it should behave. Users get a consistent, reliable experience.

On the other hand, though:

Matias stresses that what we’re seeing today is a purely optional aid for Android designers, not something that Google will seek to enforce.

Half-assed.

The Pure Android page is a wise attempt to note Android conventions and to try to convince developers not to adopt iOS conventions. It’s a good guide throughout, but without more direct intervention from Google, Android will remain a convoluted and fragmented platform.

Exclusive: Google Launches Style Guide for Android Developers [WIRED, Jan 12, 2012]

Matias Duarte, the head of user experience at Android, aims to change the way developers design for the platform.

On Thursday, Google launched Android Design, a web site created specifically to help aid developers in the creation of applications for ICS [version 4.0, also known as ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’]. The site offers a comprehensive visual to third-party application developers, giving suggestions on everything from how to implement different visual elements to overall back-end patterns for the OS itself.

In theory, it will help developers better understand just how the Android team thinks about layout and implementation, while simultaneously giving suggestions to interaction designers on how to maintain visual integrity. Basically, it will help both first-time developers and Android veterans make apps look less crappy.

We haven’t really had a style guide,” Duarte says. “We haven’t really given you a lot of guidance on how to migrate your application from a phone, perhaps, to a tablet. We’ve done so only by example.”

Which has been a chief complaint of developers whenever another version of the OS is released. Developers are forced to reverse engineer the code from the new version and translate that to the previous version of Android to figure out how to move their app to the new software environment. What’s more, Android averages a new version launch about twice a year. It’s an incredibly fast pace in the mobile world, not to mention a pain in the ass for mobile developers who just want to keep their apps up to speed.

“This is the second part of our Ice Cream Sandwich launch,” he says. As this site goes up, I can feel like it’s finished. Like ICS is truly complete.”

Continuing with some more twitter reflections on the style guidelines:

gameshints Erik
Will crappy android apps be a thing of the past? New style guidelines from the android team: http://developer.android.com/design/index.htmlandroid.com/design/index.h…

Godzilla07 Jacob
Another thing for Android porters to ignore “@verge: Google introducing UI and style guidelines for Ice Cream Sandwich http://bit.ly/zfgXSF

PANCAKESo Terry
#Android #Design site. Finally a good resource for patterns, style guidelines and building blocks of android UI design. http://developer.android.com/design/index.htmlandroid.com/design/index.h…

A few other twitter reflections on the style guide:

tsuki_chama Ian Renton
Wow, Android finally has a UI style guide. Shame that didn’t arrive four years ago!

noscope Joen
From the Android style guide (http://moc.co/8b): “Don’t mimic UI elements from other platforms” — Amen!

Meza Meirion Williams
Android’s UI grows up: A decent style guide for UI, UX and designers of Android applications http://developer.android.com/designandroid.com/design

Developer_Tech Developer Tech News
Developers get design help from #Android, thanks to new style guide http://bit.ly/ylxLSg #Dtech #appdev #google #design

More on the UI guidelines:

sanderwehkamp Sander Wehkamp
Android has proper UI guidelines, Finally#late http://developer.android.com/design/index.htmlandroid.com/design/index.h…Still well done

rennarda Andy Rennard
Also, the fact that Android’s UI guidelines have only just been published speaks volumes.

satyesh Satish Pamidimarthi
Thank you #Google for finally giving us a decent UI guidelines http://ow.ly/8rXiu . Now give us a better #AndroidIDE

andrew_k Andrew K
Haven’t looked at it closely yet, but any official Android UI guidelines is better than nothing http://developer.android.com/design/index.htmlandroid.com/design/index.h… #devsmakeuglyui

maxt3r Max Al Farakh
Oh look, it’s been just four years and Android already has UI guidelines: http://developer.android.com/design/index.htmlandroid.com/design/index.h…

A few more twitter reflections on the design guideline:

techknow Juixe TechKnow
Google took yet another page from Apple and released a Android design guideline document.

taylorling Taylor Ling
I am truly impressed with the new @AndroidDesign Guideline. A good guide for me to improve my Android GUI Design Kit.

brunning Benjamin Running
Sick of ugly design, Google launches Android design guideline site: http://bit.ly/wF9mHC

The first appraisal: Notes From the Android Design Guidelines [Nick Heer, Jan 12, 2012]

I posted earlierabout Google’s new Android Design Guidelines. This is a great guide to help developers understand the platform and all its own peculiarities, especially when an app is developed for multiple platforms. I disagree with a number of these conventions, but that’s another topic entirely. The guide itself is well-written, though I have some thoughts and comments for some of the points.

The Themes page:

Android provides three system themes that you can choose from when building apps for Ice Cream Sandwich:

  • Holo Light
  • Holo Dark
  • Holo Light with dark action bars

Pick the system theme that best matches the needs and design aesthetics for your app.

Like Apple’s infamous brushed metal look, the Holo Light with dark action bars theme is an ill-defined third choice. There seem to be no guidelines on its use. The Light and Dark themes are easy enough to interpret, as the former is for text-based apps — the Gmail app is shown as an example. The Dark theme is clearly geared towards multimedia and utility applications. Google uses Settings as their example, but Photos also uses this theme. They’ve chosen Google Talk, however, to represent the dark action bars variant of Holo Light, and I don’t understand the context of its use.

From the Metrics and Grids section:

Touchable UI components are generally laid out along 48 [display pixel] units.

This is much clearer than iOS’ layout.

The section on icon design is decidedly less clear, especially in the Launchericon style. There’s an ill-considered mix of photorealistic icons, ones that look like clipart, and others that are effectively flat. Nothing lines up. The colours are inconsistent. This makes any view with those icons look cluttered and messy.

The App Structure page reinforces this system-wide inconsistency:

Google Books’ detail view is all about replicating the experience of reading an actual book. The page-flip animation reinforces that notion.

This counters what Matias Duarte said when interviewed by Josh Topolsky:

“Right now if you look at all of these applications that are designed in this real-objecty, faux wood paneling, faux brushed metal, faux jelly button kind of thing… if you step back and you really look at them, they look kind of juvenile. They’re not photorealistic, they’re illustrations.”

He’s on a roll now. Clearly Matias has spent a lot of time thinking about what he doesn’t like.

“If you look back at the web, people did the same thing. All these cartoony things hanging off a page. If you tried that today, people would be laughing, unless you were doing it in a kitsch, poking-fun-at-yourself, retro art way.”

He then goes on to say that taking the Microsoft approach of stark minimalism is too constraining, but in the opposite direction. The threshold for Android is clearly somewhere along those lines, but what Google is recommending is clearly more cartoonish than the actual UI that Apple ships, and which Duarte called “cartoony”.

From the Writing Style page:

Be friendly. [This d]ialog that appears when an application crashes [is] confusing and annoying — “Sorry” just rubs salt in the wound.

I don’t know when it became trendy to make error messages cuddly, but it’s irritating. Good on Google for clarifying this. On the other hand, I’m surprised Android apps display any crash dialogue at all. It isn’t 1998 any more; applications have the ability automatically send crash reports.

Speaking of crash messages, Google seems to be unclear on what they intend. On the Writing Style page, they would like developers to be clear, concise and friendly. However, on the Dialogspage, one of the examples notes that “the process com.android.phone has stopped”. How is that friendly?

The Pure Android page cracked me up. It’s clearly an attempt to caution developers that Android is not iOS, and designing for it requires different elements with different conventions. For the most part, it avoids ragging on iOS, but there’s a cute dig on one of the items:

A common pattern on other platforms is the display of right-pointing carets on line items that allow the user to drill deeper into additional content.

Android does not use such indicators on drill-down line items. Avoid them to stay consistent with the platform and in order to not have the user guess as to what the meaning of those carets may be.

But barely-readable sliders and unclear WiFi connection status is not confusing. Got it. Unclear, convoluted difference between back and up? Not a problem. An up arrow that causes a descending action? Perfectly fine.

By the way, what about the reverse, where an application is developed for Android and then ported to iOS? Shouldn’t a Google-developed app adopt the conventions of the platform too? As Alan Zeino points out, this doesn’t seem to be a priority.

I recommend flipping through the entire guide, if only for the use of Hipster Ipsum on many of the pages. It’s too bad these guidelines won’t be enforced. It’s an incredibly well-written and clearly annotated site, but it bears little relevance if these principles don’t gain widespread adoption.

[I posted earlier about Google’s new …]
Half-Assed [Nick Heer, Jan 12, 2012]

On one hand:

Android OEMs and app developers will be provided with a set of in-depth guidelines on how to build atop of Android.

The initial version of the guide includes information like typography, color palettes, and other stylistic advice, as well as a breakdown of the components making up the Android UI.

That’s great for everyone. Developers get a clear idea of what an Android app should look like, and how it should behave. Users get a consistent, reliable experience.

On the other hand, though:

Matias stresses that what we’re seeing today is a purely optional aid for Android designers, not something that Google will seek to enforce.

Half-assed.

The Pure Android page is a wise attempt to note Android conventions and to try to convince developers not to adopt iOS conventions. It’s a good guide throughout, but without more direct intervention from Google, Android will remain a convoluted and fragmented platform.