What they do: Pixtronix’ PerfectLight display platform combines high image quality (135% NTSC color gamut, 170 degree view angles, 1,000:1 contrast ratio) with ultra-low power consumption (Pixtronix claims a 75% reduction in power consumption vs. LCD displays). The displays are manufactured on existing LCD infrastructure, enabling any number of inexpensive mobile multimedia devices.
Why is it important? All the cool things you can do on smartphones, such as streaming movies or using GPS-enabled map apps, quickly drain the battery. Better battery technology would certainly help, but components that consume less energy help every bit as much. Pixtronix claims that PerfectLight conserves power without sacrificing display quality.
What does this have to do with IT? Battery life is a concern for everyone, from consumers to enterprise users to IT. A dead battery is a hassle for consumers. For business users, though, prematurely dead batteries translate into lost productivity and lost dollars.
Platforms: Platform agnostic.
Customers: “We have contracts with multiple LCD manufacturers in Asia; however, these engagements are covered by confidentiality agreements, and we are therefore not disclosing specifics at this time,” said spokesman Mark Halfman.
Competitors: Pixtronix main competitors are manufacturers of LCD and OLED displays. However, the future of displays is wide open. Behemoths like Qualcomm with its mirasol technology continue to push innovation, while startups such as Pixel Qi and Liquavista (spun out of Philips Research Labs in 2006) will slug it out with Pixtronix.
Even E Ink’s electronic paper displays could theoretically compete with Pixtronix as device form factors continue to evolve.
Funding: ~$52 million from Atlas Venture, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Beyers, Duff Ackerman & Goodrich Ventures, and Gold Hill Capital.
CEO: CEO Tony Zona was previously VP and GM of Motorola’s Fiber-to-the-Premises business unit.
Headquarters: Andover, MA
What they do: Aloqa is a mobile service that takes user preferences (for restaurants, entertainment, activities, etc.) combines that with contact info from various social networking applications and then proactively notifies users of nearby people, places and things that should be of interest.
The point here is that users don’t search things out, rather stuff that they like is pushed to them.
Why is it important? Search doesn’t translate well to the smartphone.
What does this have to do with IT? As of now, not much. However, the recognition that PC-style tasks like search don’t work well on constrained devices is important. Expect to see this sort of technology creeping into such things as mobile SFA and CRM.
Platforms: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and J2ME.
Customers: Aloqa claims over 300,000 consumer users, as well as 10 enterprise customers.
Competitors: Loopt, uLocate Communications’ Where app, Geodelic and TweakerSoft’s Around Me.
Funding: $1.5 million of Series A funding from Wellington Partners.
CEO: CEO Sanjeev Agrawal was formerly head of Product Marketing at Google and VP of Products at Tellme.
Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA and Munich, Germany
Jeff Vance is a freelance writer and the founder of Sandstorm Media, a writing and marketing services firm focused on emerging technology trends. If you have ideas for future stories or would just like to chat, contact him at [email protected] or visit www.sandstormmedia.net.