A bistable electrowetting picture element that has both stable “On” and “Off” states in which no power is consumed, and a switching voltage threshold. Displays using such picture elements may be either passive or active matrix addressed. A picture element contains two immiscible, fluids within a space between two surfaces. One of the fluids is an electroconductive, polar liquid, such as to water. The other fluid is a non-polar liquid such as silicone oil. The picture element is electrically switchable between two states, both of which are maintained without a voltage being applied. In one state the light absorbing, non-polar liquid adjoins a region of one of the surfaces, while in the second state it adjoins another region on the other surface. The region adjoined to in the second state differs in area from the region adjoined to in the first state, thereby providing “On” and “Off” states.