Is Nanosys' awesome new screen technology gonna be in iPad 3? I hope so. Wow.

When Nanosys CEO Jason Hartlove pulled two iPads out of his bag and turned them on one looked like when I first saw my first Kodachrome slide while the other looked muddy and crappy in comparison (I pulled out my own iPad and saw my screen looked muddy and crappy in comparison too). The new one was clear, beautiful, stunning, with richer colors than I had ever seen on a screen before.

“Is that the new retina display?” I immediately asked him.

“No, it is not a higher resolution display.” My eyes were telling me otherwise.

“What the f*** is going on here then?” I asked him. He calmly explained what Nanosys did and why they own 400 patents on what they were showing me, which they call Quantum Dot Enhanced Film (QDEF™) . 400!

This technology is so important Economist magazine just wrote about it (and they don’t write about startups very often). Even better, it’s designed AND made in the USA! For once Silicon Valley is seeming like Silicon Valley again.

Unfortunately you can’t really see the difference in the screen very well. Why? Because you are watching this video on an old crappy Dell, or a Macintosh, or an old-style iPad.

When Nanosys starts shipping its screen technology later this year our lives will change forever.

Every screen in your life will look dull and lifeless compared to a screen with Nanosys technology in it.

Now, let’s go through the business advantages:

1. Does not take more battery life.
2. Does not increase cost.
3. Does not require a new display architecture to push out more pixels or a GPU that is four times as fast to support more pixels.
4. They can make craploads of it.
5. They have patents up the yingyang so are gonna be the only game in town for a while.
6. This company is real and funded by the best VCs in the business. They also just won best new display technology at the Society for Information Display conference a couple of weeks ago.

If you watch one video of mine, watch this one. It’s awesome tech and I can’t wait to have it in all my screens. Unfortunately we gotta wait for Steve Jobs to bet on it big time.

I can just see the iPad 3 launch. We all know Apple is going to put in a double-pixel display (my sources have been talking about that for months now) but when you see this technology you’ll know just why the next displays are so freaking good on colors, too.


  1. 400 patents? Call me cynical but I think it’s an even bet as to whether we’ll see cheaper high-density displays in all devices sooner than we’ll see this in everything.

  2. QDEF in market by end of year?  Will displays with QDEF be denoted as such?  (e.g. Dolby…Nvidia) so that we can find devices with it easily (graphic designer in me wants to know)

    1. I thought he described a very difficult process very well, especially without a real demo.  I think this is the future and it’s being made in silicon valley.   Congrats to Scoble for having Nanosys CEO Jason Hartlove to his bedroom studio.  Loved it!

  3. A flower in my garden was *so* red in the morning sun it glowed, and it felt like I was unable to see all the color.  This vid’s discussion of humanly visible color, and how the brain knits together data to create “perception” reminded me of that flower.  Interesting stuff…thanks.

  4. We all know that the iPad 3 will have double the pixel displays? I think we all know that some point the iPad will have double the pixels, but I think it’s far from certain it will be cost effective in time for the iPad 3.

      1. I’m guessing any image editing software will have to recalibrate for the extended gamut of this display tech.

    1. It will come at the cost of some more time of gray blacks for everyone. This is probably step 1. Sell as it is for an easy production upgrade for the factories. Step 2 would be something like an array of leds and only then OLED would be done.

  5. “Who are you?” Robert asks. Stranger danger! Always find out who someone is before inviting them into your bedroom studio. Ask your mom & dad to check their ID if you’re not sure.

  6. Yeah, this will be killer.  Back in the early days, the 1980s, there was an article in InfoWorld that showed it wasn’t resolution that was an issue for photorealistic images, it was the number of colors used.  Using a TARGA card — 24 millions colors vs then-current 256 — with a VGA screen would show photorealistic images.  So this QDEF tech would make a very real difference in display tech.  Even on my crap flatscreen here I can see a great difference in the color saturation of the examples.  I hope someone jumps on this!

  7. I look forward to seeing this amazing tech on ALL displays – not just Apple.. and I hope they just dont sell to Apple.. as if I was a funding VC I would expect there would be as many people licensing this as possible – not just one manufacturer.. I look forward to seeing Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, etc.. looks like my next TV will have to have this in it!!

  8. That was brilliant! First time I’ve ever seen any of your interviews; found it through
    At first I thought it was Philip Seymour Hoffman conducting the interview – your side view is a splitting image of him, along with the voice. Hope you do more interviews with these movers and shakers in the future.
    Well done.

  9. refreshing to see such an intelligent CEO so heavily involved in the product. more companies need to put their brains out front like this. im sick of the Trump style CEO.

  10. “…our lives will change forever.”

    Can you get more hyperbolic? Even if this is as good as you say it is (and I really do hope it is), I seriously doubt that our lives will be impacted in any significant way by having a nicer screen technology.

  11. Hmm isn’t this just another version of the combustion engine? Long term, my money is on full colour, 60fps, low power, e-ink.

    1. I will probably do some more interviews on this.

      Every source has color and for times when you only have black and white text on screen, the light off of this one is whiter and cleaner anyway.

      Name a display that has deep color. I was at CES. In the LG booth there were some prototypes. They were using Nanosys’ technology. I didn’t see any other examples.

      These guys are wholly focused on displays, not on other kinds of lights. Not sure there are implications there. Maybe.

      1. “Name a display that has deep color.”

        Ok. I’ll name a few.

        HP lp2275: 92% NTSC Color Gamut (came out 2008)
        HP lp2475: 92% NTSC Color Gamut (came out 2008)
        Hazro HZ30Wi: 92% NTSC Color Gamut (2010)
        Hazro HZ27WB: 102% NTSC Color Gamut (2010)
        Hazro HZ30W: 92% NTSC Color Gamut (2008)
        Dell U3011: 102% NTSC Color Gamut (2010)
        Dell U2410: 102% NTSC Color Gamut (2009)
        Dell U2711: 102% NTSC Color Gamut (2010)

        Not really a comprehensive list here, simply a few examples. All of these are in production and purchasable right now. No Nanosys technology in them. All “deep color” displays or close enough. In fact most desktop displays are at least 60-72% NTSC color gamut. Mobile devices, including the ipad, tend to sport displays with poor color gamuts, but this is not surprising.

  12. There is no way they have an exclusive deal with Apple, right now.  If they did, the CEO would not be doing this interview.

  13. Really?  I would think that would be the financial equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.  If any one buyer “demand” exclusivity my first reaction would be, “Fine, don’t buy it.  Be behind the curve.  I’m in business to make money from anyone and everyone who wants to offer it.”

  14. Most mobile devices and a lot of consumer electronics tend to sport poor color gamut panels. This doesn’t mean that these guys are the first to come out with tech to support higher color gamut panels though. Most desktop LCD monitors are 60-72% NTSC color gamut. My HP LP2475 at home is a 92% NTSC color gamut screen. There are many out there like it from several manufacturers and examples of 102% NTSC color gamut screens as well. They have been around for many years and aren’t costly. Considering such panels have been available from several manufacturers for a long time now and are not cost prohibitive either, I’m not sure what the big news is here.

  15. Why is it that every time I read or watch one of these interviews the word Apple always seems to show up?  Sheeesh…why not talk about the company/product/technology outside the realm of Apple?  You show your bias every time I read or watch, which is less and less.  And where in the hell did you learn your interviewing skills…or lack thereof?  “Who are you???”…are you kidding me?

  16. Better screen resolution? What the f@$!. Lets just jump straight to the (holographic?) projection displays that the chinese have had for awhile and use Xbox kinect technology for interfacing. Death to laptops and notepads!

  17. I have a Xoom and I was in the market for a 2nd tablet for the wifey, but I’ma wait now to see if Apple or some other company announces an upcoming device with this new display technology.

    Apple at this point could probably >squash< all the new tablet releases if they were to confirm that the iPad 3 was to have this display.

    I know I wouldn't buy anything else from that point forward unless the same claim by other manufacturers were made.

    I'm in the market for a new flat panel TV as well, but I'll definitely wait to see what going to get announced by the end of this year or for next…

    This sounds like a serious game changer for display technology, I can't wait to actually see one!