Exciting things are happening in the world of display technology. Engadget China has seen next-generation Asus ultrabooks with 1080p IPS displays, confirming an earlier report that the systems would include high-res panels. 1920×1080 doesn’t quite match the pixel count of the iPad 3’s Retina display, but Pixel Qi claims to have a screen that does, and it’s purportedly much more power-efficient than the Apple implementation.
Pixel Qi specializes in low-power screens that are readable in direct sunlight. Those displays have stuck to relatively standard 1024×600 and 1280×800 resolutions, and there’s no indication of whether the new 2048×1536 panel remains readable when forced to compete with the sun’s rays. Pixel Qi does tout a "new architecture" whose contrast, viewing angles, and color saturation are at least as good as those of the iPad 3’s screen. If that new architecture responded well to sunlight, you’d think it would be mentioned.
While it won’t be competing in the high-DPI category, Qualcomm’s Mirasol technology offers sunlight-friendly color displays with low enough power consumption to offer weeks of battery life in Kindle-like devices. I saw a Mirasol display briefly at CES this year, and it looked quite good. Technology Review notes that the colors aren’t quite as rich as those produced by LCD displays, though.
5.3" Mirasol displays are now available in e-readers selling in South Korea and China. A new factory designed to produce Mirasol screens is set to open later this year, and Qualcomm says the facility will be capable of producing displays for everything from smartphones to tablets. That leaves me in a bit of a bind, because I can’t decide which I want more: a high-DPI tablet that looks great indoors or a lower-resolution one that excels outdoors. Perhaps I should get both.