Groundstation Display Suggestions?

Tablet PCDoes anyone have a computer display that they are happy with when they are outdoors? I am looking for a laptop, tablet, netbook, or stand-alone monitor that has even barely acceptable contrast and readability outside in the sun.The iPhone and iPod Touch have transflective screens (320x480 px resolution) that work pretty well in direct sunlight, so I was hoping someone had put a similar display into a larger system. There are VNC clients around for the iPhone, but that's not really a satisfactory solution, no matter how much fun it would be to try.Otherwise, I think it would be smart to have a high contrast mode or "skin" for the ground station software that would allow for safer and easier operation by displaying graphics in a more or less a black & white mode with no important information represented by color, gradients, etc. in this vein, some kind of e-paper solution like they have in the Kindle would be pretty awesome.MacBook running XP Has anyone had a good experience outdoors with a computer display?
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  • Here is a nice video that I just found. It shows where they are taking the OLPC technology and gives some hints about when it might get to market:

    In this video, starting at around 9:00, they talk about and demonstrate the amount of color you can see in full sunlight:

    It is pale, but there is color information there. I am looking forward to using these kinds of screens.
  • Here's one way to get away from glare when you are operating your ground station:

  • Thanks for all of the great advice. I tacked down an older Motion tablet today and took it outside, but it obviously did not have their ""View Anywhere" screen that is shown in this review."
    I think that for the near-term, I'll try to scare up enough money for a Motion LE1700 with the outdoor viewable screen. If it is as awesome as the brochure pictures, I'll report back on the awesomeness.
    Rugged PC - Slates and Tablet PCs: Motion Computing LE1700
    Full review of the updated version of the Motion Computing LE1700 Tablet PC slate, introduced September 2008.
  • ...then again, Apple may be announcing just such a beast next week. Chris?
  • I concur with Paul.
    We are using a box trailer to house our groundstation atm so even in broad daylight I have all the shade I need. :P
  • There is no good answer right now. You need 1000 nits, and/or transreflective tech. Xenarc makes 7' external VGA touchscreen monitors that qualify. But it's another piece of equipment and needs its own ciggie power and another cord. When OLED touchscreens come to market, problem solved. Until then prepare to be disappointed no matter how much you pay.
  • Who knows if the consumer electronics industry will ever target broad daylight UAV pilots. That would mean no-one was buying our TV sets & staying indoors. Just get an unknown e-book reader & hack it to display graphics over USB. There are lots of alternatives besides Kindle, even though the media is silent on it.
  • The OLPC XO-1 laptop has an amazing sunlight-readable display. Its a weird trans-reflective display with LED backighting that give a full-color display that is clearly viewable as a grey-scale display in bright light (or when the backlight is turned off). Currently, this display is only available on the XO-1 educational laptop (not a bad platform itself), but a company was formed by the inventor of the screen to market commercial versions. According to the company website (, the new displays are sampling now and should enter volume production soon. Actual customers and products have not been announced.

    The XO-1 laptop has some very interesting features for a field computer. (Low power use, Flash storage, sunlight-readable display, wide voltage input range for the DC power input). It was produced specifically as an educational laptop for children, so it doesn't have a lot of CPU power (500Mhz Geode), and has a way-too-small keyboard. It does not have a touchscreen. I use mine frequently as a VNC-based remote display.

    More info on the display can be found at:

    The XO-1 itself isn't sold directly. There are frequently units on ebay, however.
    It shipped with a custom linux distribution, but people have gotten windows
    XP to work.
    Pixel Qi
  • I have a Asus eee 1000H and have compared it to the Motion side by side and its not as readable.

    The trick to the Motion is the transflective screen, meaning it uses the brightness of the sunlight to make itself brighter.
  • The Netbook Asus eeePC 1000H has a great display for outdoors, very bright.

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