3M, through its 3M New Ventures organization, announced today it has invested in Pixel Qi Corp. Three-year-old Pixel Qi, which is based in San Bruno, California and in Taipei, Taiwan., makes sunlight-readable, low-power LCD panels aimed for mobile device applications. 3M New Ventures is based in Munich, Germany. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Mary Lou Jepsen, co-founder and CEO of Pixel Qi, said: "Pixel Qi’s full-function color screen technology, for the first time, gives consumers an outdoor-readable video display with exceptional battery life, usable anywhere, anytime. It’s a first in the industry. In our collaboration with 3M, we have the ability to accelerate this into mass adoption."

Pixel Qi display technology
Pixel Qi display technology

  The funding led by 3M New Ventures will play a key role in enabling Pixel Qi to develop its product offerings into volume consumer markets as well as digital signage and touch applications. The investment, which successfully concludes Pixel Qi?s second (series ?B?) investment round, will also allow Pixel Qi to build and to strengthen its engineering and sales capabilities.

Stefan Gabriel, President of 3M New Ventures said:

"Pixel Qi’s technology enables displays of such lower power and high usability that the vision of ubiquitous displays comes much closer to realization. In combining Pixel Qi’s disruptive display technology with our technology platforms, we can create new business opportunities in the consumer and commercial markets for 3M."

 Pixel Qi explained there is a growing, unmet requirement for display devices that offer portability, connectivity, long battery life and excellent indoor / outdoor readability in one device. Current displays are not able to solve all of these challenges simultaneously. Pixel Qi?s unique technology platform eliminates the need for trade-offs and enables high quality, outdoor or sunlight viewing with excellent battery life and portability in one device.


Pixel Qi compared to Apple iPad and new gen Amazon Kindle

3M Vice President of the Optical Systems Division, Jim Bauman, said:

"By addressing the energy consumption and sunlight readability challenges in one package, Pixel Qi provides a ground-breaking solution for the next generation of displays. 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." 

BSN* predicts that more mobile devices will start delivering better outdoor viewing experiences with Pixel Qi technology. This will increase competition on leading AMELOD displays, which work mostly indoors.