LCDs are unbelievably inefficient, but Clairvoyante has figured out a way to fix that with its PenTile RGBW display. The company claims the display will help laptop and cellphone batteries last 50% longer. The "W" in RGBW stands for white, where in addition to the red, green and blue subpixels used in each pixel of a conventional LCD display, Clairvoyante has added a white one, giving you a brighter picture and lessening the need for so much backlight. It's also made each pixel 33% larger, letting more light shine through. These are some fancy new tricks. There's more.
Using these techniques allows the backlight to be dynamically adjusted according to the scene that's being displayed. Hey, less backlight, less power. Cool. Or a different application could use the same amount of power and have a much brighter picture.
But adding a fourth subpixel to each dot will result in lower resolution, won't it? Yes, but the human eye may not be able to tell the difference, so say Clairvoyante reps, and they talk of a sharpening routine that improves the quality as well. Maybe they could just make the pixels smaller.
Nice idea to save all that battery power, but will the quality be good enough? We'll believe it when we see it. The company says it will be shipping software that controls this hardware to manufacturers by the end of this year, and we may see the first PenTile screens in early 2008.