When it comes to displays, you can throw more pixels at them to boost quality - such as Apple's Retina Display on the iPhone 4 - or you can work on improving the quality of the pixels you've already got. Nanosys reckons it has the way to do just that, delivering boosted colors that use no extra power and with no extra cost in the display-sandwich; it's certainly convinced Robert Scoble, who can't help but namecheck the iPad 3 as an ideal potential suitor.
It all sounds pretty straightforward on the face of it: by improving the quality of the backlighting behind the LCD panel itself, with a more balanced spread across the spectrum, you can improve the color of the individual pixels itself. As you'd expect, though, it's a lot more complicated in practice, with Nanosys cooking up custom phosphides that fluoresce in specific colors so as to create a "very pure white light specifically designed for the display ... your ability to accurately render colors is tremendously improved." The Nanosys film replaces the diffuser in existing panels and the white backlight with a blue backlight, meaning there's no extra components or extra cost.
As with trying to sell the idea of HD graphics to people using SD resolution screens, Nanosys' main problem is demonstrating their boosted color abilities when everyone is using displays that can't actually show them properly. A typical tablet like the iPad, they say, can show only around 20-percent of the colors the human eye can see; a Nanosys QDEF display can show over 60-percent. Problem is, while cameras can record it, most displays can't play it back.
Still, we should hopefully not have to wait too long before we can see it in person. Nanosys says the first tablet/notebook form factor device using its system should be released by the end of this year, but there'll be bigger-scale systems for HDTVs next year. Nanosys is apparently also working on ways to improve the performance of Li-Ion batteries.