Feeds

Cutting-edge Mirasol display finally comes to e-reader

South Korean 'Fire' touts next-gen screen tech

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The much-awaited Mirasol display has made its debut in an South Korean e-reader, offering the colour of LCD combined with the clarity, and power consumption, of electronic ink.

mirasol

Mirasol technology was developed by Qualcomm, who have been demonstrating it for a few years now and even announced that screens were in production for a product launch intended for early this year. It's not early in the year, but the Kyobo e-reader seems to deliver just what Mirasol promised, at least as far as one can tell from the pair of demonstration videos.

Kyobo's offering is tied to its bookshop, much like Amazon's Kindle Fire, and it shares an operating system with Amazon's offering, but it's the screen which really should set it apart.

Electronic books are impossible to judge until they're in one's hand, the difference in clarity between LCD and electronic ink is impossible to convey in words. But having handled some (prototype) Mirasol hardware we're happy to say it really is quite breathtaking, in demonstration at least.

The technology works by trapping the wrong wavelengths of light, only allowing the desired colours to reflect. There's no need for backlighting, a Mirasol screen resembles a magazine page more than anything else. The technique also produces the shiny colour on a butterfly's wing, which was, apparently, the inspiration.

Mirasol is also a static technology: like e-ink it requires no electricity to maintain an image only to change what's being displayed. That offers the potential for huge battery lives, though the Kyobo reader, with its 1GHz Snapdragon processor and Android OS, is only claiming to last a couple of weeks at best. Koybo has decided to backlight the screen, which shouldn't be necessary but may be an indication of what has delayed the Mirasol tech for so long.

We've asked Qualcomm repeatedly about the delays to Mirasol, only to be told that development was continuing but that details couldn't be discussed. Other screen technologies have had a hard time maintaining quality once put into mass production, and reliability has been an issue with each generation of LED technology as it first emerged from the factory.

Kyobo's reader is following the Amazon Kindle Fire path, with a forked Android and discount for members of Kyobo's Platinum Book Club (think "Amazon Prime"). That discount brings the cost of the Kyobo down to 349,000 in local Won (£167), compared to the £195 everyone else in South Korea will have to pay. Given Kyobo's presence, and dominance, in South Korean an international launch isn't expected any time soon.

Like the Fire, that's probably a subsidised price, and it's interesting that Kyobo isn't pushing the Mirasol technology as a key differentiator. From the video it looks amazing, but we're not going to say it is until we get one to play with ourselves. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.