3M invests in Pixel Qi; next-gen mobile LCD displays

Summary:3M invests in Pixel Qi Corp., maker of next-generation LCD panels that use less energy and can be read in direct sunlight.

3M's New Ventures group announced on Monday that it has invested in Pixel Qi Corp., which manufactures next-generation LCD panels that use less energy and can be read in direct sunlight.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2008, Pixel Qi splits its operations between California and Taiwan and sees the mobile market as a lucrative one for its display technology. As the use case for computing becomes increasingly mobile, the hardware needs to keep up -- from the shell to the battery to yes, the display.

Previously, display development was dedicated to sharper, brighter and more accurate color. Now, the efficiency side has become equally as important. Pixel Qi's research aims to reduce the trade-off factor between the two ideals.

So why 3M? The materials maker (famous for its tapes, films and so forth) sees value in such displays for the digital signage markets it plays in. 3M's Optical Systems Division in particular makes films that optimize the light throughput of liquid crystal displays.

As such, 3M's investment aims to help Pixel Qi built out engineering and sales teams to develop its tech further, as well as gives the company access to its film tech.

"The combination of Pixel Qi's low energy, reflective display technology with 3M's innovative technologies will create exciting products for the mobile, handheld, tablet and other display markets," said Jim Bauman, 3M Optical Systems Division vice president, in a statement.

Photo: Pixel Qi

Topics: Hardware, Mobility


Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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