The mirasol display concept was the talk of the ereader-town in 2010. Mirasol displays promised people the clear, crisp display of e-ink combined with color and the ability to read in direct sunlight (without killing your battery). Mirasol displays would essentially give readers the features of an OLED display without sacrificing the simple beauty of e-ink displays – the best of both worlds.
In the latter part of 2010, Qualcomm announced a mirasol display ereader that would be released in 2011. Well, here we are, seven months into 2011 and still no mirasol display. What happened? First, Qualcomm promised the beginning of the year and then they pushed the release date to the fall. Recently, Qualcomm announced that they had canned the mirasol ereader project. Boo. After getting up the hopes of millions of readers around the world, there will be no mirasol display in the near future.
It seems that Qualcomm wanted a display that was comparable to the OLED displays of tablets. When their reading device was not up to par, they scrapped it. Qualcomm stated that they, “didn’t want to launch our first product and have it be something that we didn’t really like, so we basically decided not to launch it, and instead just focus on the next version of it.” That sounds like they have something even better in mind for the ebook reader market. Then again, they could just be ditching ereaders completely and moving right into tablets. While it is understandable that Qualcomm did not want to release a device they were not happy with, it is a bit of a letdown to those that were eagerly awaiting the mirasol display devices.
So far, no other manufacturer is dabbling with mirasol displays. If Qualcomm cannot get it right, it is highly unlikely that anyone else will try. Perhaps color e-ink will make its way onto the American market while we wait for Qualcomm. Vivitek has a color ePaper digital reader that they have been showing off all year and plan to release in Asia. However, the display is not exactly impressive and the refresh rate is slow, so the US is not exactly missing out. It looks like we will just have to wait for someone to perfect the color e-ink concept. Until then, you will just have to make do with traditional e-ink displays or the LCD displays of color ereaders.
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- Mirasol Display: Ebook Reader Technology Takes Flight
- Breaking Down E-ink Technology: The Pros and Cons
- Electronic Ink Display for Ebook Readers: Going, Going… Gone?
- The Best of Both Worlds: Devices Using Both LCD and E-Ink Display Hit the Market