OLPC license Pixel Qi 3qi low-power displays for XO laptops

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project and Pixel Qi have announced a cross-licensing agreement that will see the former's affordable laptops for developing nations use the latter's 3qi low-power displays.  It comes as little surprise, perhaps, what with Pixel Qi founder Mary Lou Jepsen being an ex-OLPC team member; the Pixel Qi panels were always planned to head back to OLPC and reduce the energy-efficient laptops' power consumption even further.

The outcome of this new agreement will be that OLPC is allowed to use not only Qi 3qi displays in their future XO laptops, but to the over seventy patents currently held or in process together with any new technologies Pixel Qi later come up with.  For their own part, Pixel Qi gets full license to the dual-mode XO panels.

There's no word on when we could see the first XO laptop with a Pixel Qi display, nor whether it will be a new model or a retrofit to an existing XO-1.  Frankly we're still more interested in the Notion Ink Adam tablet, which also uses a 3qi panel but pairs it with NVIDIA's second-gen Tegra.

Press Release:


Partnership to yield the world's most advanced and lowest power laptop screens

Cambridge, Mass. and San Bruno, Calif., March 30, 2010 – The One Laptop per Child Foundation (OLPC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help provide every child in the world access to a modern education, and Pixel Qi Corporation, an innovator in high-performance, low-power displays, have signed a permanent and royalty-free cross-licensing agreement that will allow both organizations to deliver products incorporating the world's most advanced screen technology.

As a result of the agreement, OLPC receives full license to all Pixel Qi "3qi" screen technology, including 70+ patents in process and all current and future IP developed by Pixel Qi for multi-mode screens. Pixel Qi is leading the design of new screens for OLPC's next-generation XO laptops. The agreement also calls for Pixel Qi to receive full license to the dual-mode (indoor and outdoor) display technology used in the XO.

"A huge barrier to getting computers to mass use in the developing world is limited access to electricity. Pixel Qi is designing new screens for OLPC that will keep laptops going even longer between recharges and excel in long-form reading while providing color and video," said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child. "Furthermore, we are not aware of any blanket technology license of this scale of current and future inventions by a commercial firm to a non-profit humanitarian effort and hope to set an example for other corporations to follow."

Mary Lou Jepsen, founder and CEO of Pixel Qi, added, "OLPC's focus on the need for low-cost, low-power devices led me to invent power-efficient LCD screens that are optimized for reading. Commercial tablets, notebook computers and smart phones have precisely the same needs. This is one of the few examples in which cutting-edge computer technology first deployed for developing nations benefits the developed world as well."

About the One Laptop per Child Foundation

The One Laptop per Child Foundation (OLPC at http://www.laptop.org) is a nonprofit organization created by Nicholas Negroponte and others from the MIT Media Lab to design, manufacture and distribute laptop computers that are inexpensive enough to provide every child in the world access to knowledge and modern forms of education. OLPC and MIT have at all times been and remain separate institutions.

About Pixel Qi Corporation

Pixel Qi Corporation (http://www.pixelqi.com) has started production of a new class of screens combining an e-paper look with color and video. These screens offer dramatically lower power consumption, full sunlight readability, and stunning text rendering for reading. The screens are ramping into high-volume mass production in 2010, use standard LCD manufacturing equipment and materials with a full suite of new inventions to give users real benefits they can see. Two years ago, Mary Lou Jepsen left OLPC to found Pixel Qi and advance screen technology she initially developed while she was the founding Chief Technology Officer at OLPC.