updated 04:30 pm EST, Wed November 18, 2009
Qualcomm mirasol e-book reader coming
Qualcomm today showed off a new implementation of its mirasol technology that could lead to a major advancement in e-book readers. The semiconductor designer has developed an early mockup of an e-book reader that has a 5.7-inch, 1024x768 color e-paper display. While not fully functional, it represents a design that should not only be capable of supporting richer colors than any other reader but also playing video.
Mirasol also has many of the advantages normally limited to e-paper, such as an ability to hold pixels on screen while using virtually no power; it should actually last about 20 percent longer than a typical grayscale reader like the Kindle, Qualcomm said. It's also viewable in bright sunlight without needing significant backlighting and doesn't need filters to compensate for certain lighting conditions.
A reader with the described features should be available by the end of 2010 and is likely to involve help from LG, Qualcomm's key hardware partner for mirasol. Versions should include both those with and without touchscreen layers.
The technology is a fundamental break from previous attempts to develop a color reader. Most, like the Fujitsu FLEPia, have tried to build on existing e-paper rather than to shift to an entirely different technology and have left companies like Amazon without plans to introduce color e-readers for years. Mirasol works by using iridescence that simply refracts light to create colors and so doesn't have the limited color range, slow refresh rates or other issues associated with digital "ink." [via SlashGear]