Pixel Qi: DIY Netbook Screen Replacements Coming Soon

Many folks have been watching OLPC-spinoff Pixel Qi as founder Mary Lou Jepson steers the company towards shipping inexpensive monochrome-and-color, sunlight-friendly displays. Although details have been few and scarce, Jepson has let one little nugget appear on her blog: do-it-yourself screen replacement kits from Pixel Qi should be available towards the end of the second quarter of 2010, and an official announcement should come sooner.

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Although no specs are available, but Pixel Qi has previously stated its first product will be a 10.1-inch display. Although the idea of swapping out a screen on a netbook computer is probably intimidating to many computer owners, Jepson describes the process as an easy five-minute process involving six screws and removing a bezel: “It’s only slightly more difficult than changing a lightbulb.”

Of course, changing a lightbulb doesn’t void a manufacturer’s warranty on an item that costs in the neighborhood of $250 to $500, but we imagine there will be plenty of hardware enthusiasts who will give it a shot anyway, and perhaps hardware pros might look to set up a service to swap out displays, particularly for businesses or schools.

Pixel Qi’s displays are sunlight readable and use anywhere from half to a quarter of the power of traditional LCD displays, meaning netbooks equipped with Pixel Qi displays should be usable in a wider variety of environments and run longer.

Pixel Qi has not released any information on pricing for its DIY screen replacement kits.