We all have broadband, wireless networks and webcams, but very few of us are living the summertime working dream of sitting out the garden while we tap away into our laptops. This is, in part, to do with the unseasonal weather. But even if we were having the summer of '76 all over again, outdoor working would still be left to fruit pickers and the construction industry.
The reason being that even the best LCD screens of today are unusable in direct sunlight. All, that is, except for the iPhone and General Dynamics Itronix' latest selection of ruggedised laptops with their DynaVue screens.
The iPhone uses a dynamic brightness boost to increase screen visibility, sacrificing battery life to do so. Itronix' method is slightly more refined: fine-tuned contrast ratios combine with polarising the glass filters that make up the panel to cut out reflect from ambient light. Because it's a relatively simple change in the manufacturing process, Itronix' Managing Director, Sandy McCaskie, told us that there's almost no price premium to pay for the screens.
"The reason people choose ruggedised equipment," McCaskie told tech.co.uk, "is to use it outside. The industry has tried to fight sunlight by increasing panel brightness to as much as 1000nits, but you can never fully beat the sun in this way." DynaVue allows 500nit screens, which require much less power, to work as well outside as in he claimed - and we'll be getting hold of a sample soon to verify this.
Although theDynaVue technology is only available in Itronix' GoBook notebook and Tablet PC ranges at the moment, there's no reason the same technology couldn't be applied to other laptops and devices, like mobile phones. According to McCaskie, it doesn't matter what type of LCD is used either, and DynaVue also works with touchscreens.