When are Mirasol Displays Coming to eReaders?

Mirasol Mockup

Mirasol is an alternative display technology that Qualcomm has been working to perfect for mass-production over the past few years to use for color ereader displays.

Mirasol displays are a lot like existing monochrome E Ink screens in that they use little to no energy when an image is on-screen and don’t use back-lighting so require external lighting for viewing—more light enhances the display quality instead of worsening it like with LCD.

Mirasol displays are capable of handling up to 30 frames per second, the benchmark for video play. The screen size is 5.7″ with a resolution of 1024 x 768.

Last year at CES a Mirasol prototype was on display and it was said that a Mirasol ereader would be on the market by the end of 2010. It was rumored that Amazon was the likely partner and that a color Kindle was on the way.

That never happened, obviously.

This year at CES Mirasol has a new version of their color ereader on display, again with hints of a Mirasol-powered ereader later this year. This time the rumored partner is PocketBook, but again there’s no “official” partnership or expected release date for a new device.

Signs are pointing to an imminent release of something, though.

On January 6th, Qualcomm announced the construction of a new fabrication facility in Longtan, Taiwan. The new facility is expected to produce small to medium-sized Mirasol displays. The company said that it will invest up to 975 million dollars in the initial phase of the facility, which is scheduled to be operational in 2012. And that isn’t the only facility capable of producing Mirasol displays.

But the question remains: Are Mirasol displays ready for the big show? This new device on display at CES looks a lot like the prototype shown last year, with a new chassis. Colors still have a washed out appearance, especially when ambient lighting isn’t bright, and everything has kind of a yellowish gold tinge, not to mention the occasional blip here and there when running videos.

I don’t know about you but I’m not quite sold on Mirasol displays just yet.

Mirasol Displays Demoed at CES 2011

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2 Responses to “When are Mirasol Displays Coming to eReaders?”

  1. Those Technology is able to generate a kind of white as u can see in the demo which enabled to use those color as a background for an ebook instead of the kind of neutral golden one in the ebook-demo.

    it is recently the best e-paper-color experience,- better than PVI’ Triton Color Tech and better than the presently Pixel Qi which is disappointing by the way

    I would definitely buy it, when Pocketbook with the their software-experience is getting involved and the Display-diagonal reaches 9.7″ at least.

  2. @Dolansky:
    “it is recently the best e-paper-color experience (…)”

    It seems to me that Liquavista (electrowetting display – EWD) would be better for next generation e-paper, more than Qualcomm’s Mirasol iMoD. Colors are more vivid, refresh rate is OK and what is the most important… as far as I know it isn’t complicated to produce even 9″ or 10″ EWD, while biggest iMoDs I’ve heard about are about 5,7″. Also, manufacture process for EWDs is almost the same as for LCD, while for iMoD technology it is strikingly different…