Pixel Qi first first established in 2008 by Mary Lou Jepson and her husband John Ryan took over the reigns as CEO in November 2012. Mary left the company in March of 2013 to become Head of Display Division at Google X. John followed her in September to become the Director Program Management at Google X. With a non-existent executive team and no display prospects for the future, for all sense and purposes, Pixel Qi is out of business.
The company designs liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that can be largely manufactured using the existing manufacturing infrastructure for conventional LCDs. The advantage of Pixel Qi displays over conventional LCDs is mainly that they can be set to operate under transflective mode and reflective mode, improving eye-comfort, power usage, and visibility under bright ambient light.
Pixel QI had some moderate success in the early years and shipped out 2.2 million devices using their technology. The Nation Ink Adam, Innoversal Lattic, Clover Systems Sunbook, Hydra-T3 and their biggest client ZTE released a single tablet using a Pixel QI Screen.
In 2012 3M invested heavily in the future of Pixel Qi and used their financial clout to influence the direction of the company away from consumer electronics to focusing on big business, military and government.
John Ryan, Former CEO of Pixel QI told me in early 2012 that “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 in the complete darkness is what the essence of Pixel QI is all about. Most military operations worldwide still employ maps and written communications, to receive updates to their mission parameters requires many steps and circumstances can change at any time. 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.”
Did Pixel QI have any success with the military and was the 3M prompting to enter an untested market the right call? In hindsight Pixel QI never announced any formal contracts with the military, and the entire concept was apparently dead in the water.
The final nail in the coffin for Pixel QI was the loss of their existing fab, where all of the manufacturing was done. Floyd and Harris, an IT company in Budapest, outlined the last major setback in early June of 2013.
"We have been using Pixel Qi displays extensively in our UAV ground control stations and generic field service PCs with much success, so today's news hit us hard about Pixel Qi having to move its manufacturing base from their current subcontractor. Both one of our clients and the European Pixel Qi distributor has called us with the news, so I believe it must be true. Such moves may have very serious implications for the supply chain and the general availability of the only low power sunlight visible solution available for our systems." The company went on to say, "From what I heard so far, Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) cannot offer their services to Pixel Qi anymore. Most of my sources tell me that the production quantities are still too low for them, but I couldn’t substantiate this from primary sources. There were already some issues trying to get at least a single piece of the new 1280×800 type screen from them, but I was able to buy one eventually from the other EU distributor, Densitron. One contact at the time said that the first marketable production run of these new panels will only start in September, but again, there was no first hand information about this."
Within three months of the final loss to their manufacturing capabilities John Ryan, CEO fled to Google.
Currently nobody knows the exact status of Pixel QI. The executive team all fled, the main phone number for their headquarters in California is out of service, as is their satellite office in Texas. None of the email address I have gained over the the last five years are working anymore. This includes their entire executive team, IT department and press office. It was a fun ride Pixel QI, you will be missed.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
FUNimation has announced the launch of a new subscription platform called “SubPass”, that gives fans unlimited access to subtitled anime. Episodes can be streamed in HD, commercial-free, right after the Japanese broadcast, and across multiple devices!
The FUNimation SubPass is available for the low price of $4.95/month. Or you may elect to try it for 3 months at $12.95. For the best value, sign up for the yearly subscription at $39.95 – a 33% savings! For a limited introductory period, SubPass subscribers will also be able to access both subbed and dubbed content on funimation.com and across each of the FUNimation apps for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Roku and their new PS3 app!
FUNimation is only available in North America, but has plans to expand into other territories such as the UK in the next few months. The company has a number of anime titles that their main competitor Crunchyroll simply does’t have, such as Tokyo Ghoul and Assassination Classroom.
E-readers have been continuing to become the preferred method of reading digital books since the original Kindle was released in 2007. The industry has had their high and low-points and right is more is more or less consolidated between Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. Some people love their devices and prefer to keep them in safe, working order with a case. There are two kinds of cases readily available, the traditional or faux leather and some people buy custom cases.
Custom cases are very much like tattoos, they really extenuate your personality. There are a number of online retailers that sell one of a kind cases online. Decalgirl is primarily known for quirky artistic designs, where artists all over the world submit their original works and the website grafts them to a case. Traditional purists who are a big fan of leather work often select Oberon Designs, this US company only supports the Kindle reader, but makes a number of wicked original work for most tablets.
When you think of a protective case for your device, you often think of either a pouch or more traditional protective shell that makes your e-reader open up like a book. These days, things have gotten more interesting and there are a number of options to choose from.
Clip case – is a classic one piece snap-on case that is primarily designed to keep your phone safe from bumps, scratches and day to day wear. These are traditionally not made for e-readers or tablets. It’s made from impact-resistant polycarbonate and printed with rich, vibrant, high-gloss graphics from edge-to-edge. All ports for connectors and controls are fully accessible, and it’s thin enough to work with most docks and accessories.
Hybrid case – this protective, two-piece case sports an impact resistant hard shell and a form-fitting TPU inner liner that protects against impacts and those “accidental” drops. The glossy outer shell is printed with rich, vibrant, high-gloss graphics from edge-to-edge that will safeguard your phone against scratches and also makes it easy to slide in and out of your pocket. Hybrid Cases are sometimes refereed to as the “Best of Both Worlds”, meaning they provide the most protection while remaining as svelte as possible.
Bumper Case – provides heavy duty double-layer protection for the most demanding users. Its rugged two-piece design consists of a tough, shatter-resistant polycarbonate outer shell wrapped around thick impact-absorbing silicone. Know your e-reader is protected from drops — even on pavement or concrete. The inner silicone liner features hinged dust plugs for the headphone jack and charging ports while the glossy outer shell is scratch resistant.
Skins – e-Reader skins are fun and decorative ways to add style to your device, while also offering a small amount of protection. They are not the same as cases, which are usually more focused on function and less on style. The skins attach directly to the surface and are easily peeled off for maximum flexibility. You can achieve a more unique look than most cases can manage.
E-Bay or Amazon are normally the online destinations to find sometime less fashionable and artistic and more, cheap and often devoid of all personality. These are your traditional leather case that comes in a myriad of colors, but is most often black.
Are cases necessary for your e-reader? It depends on who you talk to and what your day to day situation entails. If you are a harsh klutz that is always walking into walls, stumbling on a sidewalk crack or bumping into people on public transit, a case is likely ideal. Seriously though, a lot of people I know that ride the subway or bus on a daily basis use a case, because it helps protect their device against unexpected drops. E-Readers though are fairly durable and when is the last time you actually saw a picture online of a broken Kindle screen? I thought so. Now iPhone cracked screens? Oh BOY!
Personally I never use cases for my tablet, smartphone or e-readers. I use my Blackberry or iPhone on a daily basis, and sure I have dropped it on occasion but I have never cracked or damaged it. E-Readers tend to get thrown in my bag when I am going to the beach, to a cafe or on vacation. I tend never to give them a second thought. Maybe because I am young and single and don’t bulk at buying a new one if it ends up breaking on it.
Do you use a custom or more traditional case for your e-reader? Is your e-reader or tablet quite naked? Do you have a cool case you want to share?
A commenter on a recent blog post of Hugh Howey’s linked to his own survey responses, which at the time gave a preliminary breakdown of others’ responses up to that point. Far from scientific, it does provide a peek into how authors are responding, as well as to the types of questions that industry experts still consider to be relevant at this point in the digital revolution.
According to the data at the time of the respondent’s participation, 2,188 people answered the question, “What kind of publisher has published your books?” and an additional 778 people skipped the question. Remember, these numbers represent the number of authors who had answered the survey up to the time that the respondent answered; that number may have easily grown by now. But of those two thousand-plus individuals, almost 72% of them have self-published, an additional 15% or so published through a company which they also own or co-own.
Even more interesting than most of the other data is the all-important income question. With so many respondents reporting that their primary reason for writing and publishing involves earning money or quitting a full-time job, it was telling that only 281.7% of the nearly three thousand answers earn more than the annual income of a full-time minimum wage employee; 42.9% of those who answered the question earned between $0 and $499 last year.
But if authors are not earning much, why are so many of them stating they will continue to self-publish?
The usual answers to that question still apply. Authors carve the creative control over their work, and they’ve come to realize that self-publishing affords them an almost equal chance for income potential as a traditional publishing deal, as evidenced largely by the fact that 24.8% of those who responded said they’d published through a traditional publisher who offered a royalty split, but who did not pay them an advance.
While the final report will not be available until the DBW event, last year’s report on the same topic was conducted in conjunction with Writer’s Digest magazine, meaning many of the respondents had the opportunity to participate due to their subscription to the magazine; WD has a slant towards the traditional publishing industry, and features information in each issue on how to get published via that route. Just as with last year’s survey, a large number of the participants are also not yet published, or have not even completed a manuscript, which could cause the income discrepancy between successful, satisfied respondents and those who said they are dissatisfied with their level of success.
Last year’s report was “debunked” by a number of sources, including this piece posted on the Alliance of Independent Authors blog.