Does Toshiba's Portégé R500 Display XO Dual Mode Screens?

   
   
   
   
   

Do you remember Mary Lou Jepsen's OLPC product roadmap, where she hinted at XO technologies spreading out into commercial laptops in 2008? Well it looks like Toshiba might be a little ahead of One Laptop Per Child in commercializing the innovative dual mode screen if you read the Portégé R500 press release:

toshiba olpc
The Portégé R500 Series is the world’s first notebook computer to incorporate a widescreen 12.1-inch indoor/outdoor transreflective LED backlit display.

This unique innovation is ideal for usage in virtually any type of lighting condition, including direct sunlight. Indoors, the LED backlit display produces an image, rich in color saturation and superb quality. Outdoors, the transreflective screen uses natural sunlight to bring the display’s colors and images to life.

Doesn't that 1,280 x 800 WXGA display sound suspiciously like the Jepsen-design screen that Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) has an exclusive manufacturing licensee to produce? The same Chi Mei that, according to Digitimes, dedicated its entire capacity of 3.5-generation and 4G LCD plants to OLPC screen production.

And while OLPC has started XO production, Digitimes also reported that upstream suppliers are underwhelmed with Quanta's order numbers.

Could this mean that Chi Mei is going to maximize its 20 months or 20 million units, whichever comes first license with OLPC and Toshiba? And so is the R500 screen the very first XO technology we can buy now, long before possible Chirstmas XO sales? Last but not least, will buying a Toshiba R500 support One Laptop Per Child through royalties from Chi Mei or a direct donation from Toshiba?

No matter if the Toshiba screen is in fact OLPC technology or not, check out Mary Lou Jepsen's close up examination of an XO BTest-4 screen vs. a traditional laptop LCD display:

Can you tell she's ultra-proud of her ultra cool computer display technology innovation? I know I'm ultra impressed!

Related Entries

8 Comments

I wonder if in direct sunlight it still does color or if it does black and white. It seems from the description that outdoors it does do colors:

"Outdoors, the transreflective screen uses natural sunlight to bring the display’s colors and images to life."

To me, that sounds like colors in the sunlight.

And I would expect Toshiba to be paying patent royalties that goes to support the OLPC foundation.

If I remember correctly, Toshiba was already selling "transflective" displays back in 2001. The color scheme was conventional, so it is indeed color in both the backlight and sunlight modes with the same resolution. The OLPC screen is black and white in the reflective mode but at effectively three times the number of pixels.

> The OLPC screen is black and white in the reflective mode but at
> effectively three times the number of pixels.

Or equivalently, the OLPC color resolution is one third of the
oft-stated 1200x900 resolution (=> roughly 680x520).

this outline a big challenge of the OLPC strategy: As it's a very open project, timing is crucial. As the official project postpones it's real launch, it's clockstopping technology becomes more and more mainstream.

There's a point in which the XO might stop being a radical laptop, with less memory or speed than conventional laptops, but with plenty other great innovations you cannot find anywhere else, and becomes just a cheap laptop with less memory and speed than any real computer.

That's very dangerous.

They sound like of different technology. As mentioned by Jecel, the "transflective" LCD is nothing new. They are widely used on PDAs. The uniqueness of the XO screen is that the half-reflector is placed in front of the color filter such that it reflects much more light than the "transflective" screen. This also made the screen only in B&W when in reflecting mode. Also a side benefit is that the larger cell color filter costs less for the diagonal cell arrangement.

alexandre van de sande,

"As it's a very open project, timing is crucial. As the official project postpones it's real launch, it's clockstopping technology becomes more and more mainstream."

As Jecel Assumpção Jr pointed out above, the technology under discussion in this post seems to be old. As to the rest of the technological innovations in the XO, like mesh networking, the various ways of radically cutting power consumption, and Sugar, I doubt any of them are going to be in other computers before the October launch.

"There's a point in which the XO might stop being a radical laptop, with less memory or speed than conventional laptops, but with plenty other great innovations you cannot find anywhere else, and becomes just a cheap laptop with less memory and speed than any real computer.

That's very dangerous."

Alexander, you seem to be operating under the mistaken assumption olpc launched as a profit-making enterprise, and would be a failure if it failed to sell millions of laptops. Actually its purpose is to promote IT in the developing world, and so many companies copy its technological innovations to do this, for olpc this would be a success.

According to Nicholas Negroponte, CMO just invested 1 billion dollars in a new factory to produce the OLPC screen.

How very odd. Just today I did a blog post about the XO screen for future e-readers and hit this site. Then I came across this Toshiba post and it turns out I saw it for myself (you must scroll waaaay down for the photos):

http://mikecane.wordpress.com/2007/09/28/photo-album-digitallife-expo-2007/

Oh, and here's my XO screen post:

http://mikecane2008.wordpress.com/2008/01/06/will-new-ebook-readers-finally-change-the-world/

XO Tablets for Sale

Buy Your XO Tablet on Amazon.com
OLPC is selling the new XO Tablets on Amazon.com for just $149. Buy yours today!

xo-tablet-amazon.jpg
Close