Pixel Qi screens have found a new friend in San Diego based Sol Computers. The computer shop just announced a pair of products that do away with standard screens in favor for Pixel Qi’s sunlight-friendly models. But there’s an issue. Yeah, these computers, despite being nothing more than standard-issue computers retrofitted with another screen, are crazy expensive. Go ahead and put away your credit card; you’re not going to buy these.
The Sol Netbook packs the standard circa-2010 netbook equipment in a Intel Atom N455 1.6 GHz, 250GB HDD and 2GB of RAM. In fact Sol Computer doesn’t hide the Samsung logo under the screen proving this is just a repackaged netbook. The main difference of course is the Pixel Qi dual-mode screen that allows for use in direct sunlight through a user-togglable LED backlight. But this netbook carries a $750 price tag, a premium of at least $400 over the standard Sammy netbook.
The Sol Tablet PC is more of the same overpriced nonsense. At $1099 you’re buying an Alibaba special (read: generic Chinese tablet) that runs Windows 7 Starter on 1GB of RAM along with a Intel Atom N455 1.6 GHz. There isn’t even any mention of whether the 10.1-inch screen supports multitouch. For that price, you may as well buy a Kindle WiFi for $139, a 16GB 3G iPad for $629 and, just for shits and giggles, a $300 second-hand Notion Ink Adam from ebay, which has the same Pixel Qi screen as the Sol Tablet.
Pixel Qi isn’t exactly new at the screen game and recently closed a large investment from 3M. The TechCrunch team, myself included, have admittedly little experience with the technology outside of trade shows where they always draw a crowd. The screen sounds great in theory as it promises the best of both words: a screen that works like a normal LCD in side but can also handle direct sunlight. However, at least in our experience particularly with the Notion Ink Adam, it doesn’t achieve a high level of success at either task as the colors are underwhelming with the LED switched on. Plus, if these Sol Computer models are used as examples, the screens are damn expensive, too.