Mirasol Lives? Blogosphere Still Obsessed With Failed Screen Tech

Mirasol Lives? Blogosphere Still Obsessed With Failed Screen Tech Conferences & Trade shows e-Reading Hardware

Put this on the side of a milk carton

It seems that Qualcomm is still talking to the press about their Mirasol screen tech, and that has some bloggers buzzing about the (im)possibility of a Mirasol-equipped ereader.

Pocket Lint reported yesterday that Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs had a closed door press briefing at CES . He probably held several briefings, but in the one attended by Pocket Lint Mr. Jacobs mentioned Mirasol.

I'm not going to link to the Pocket Lint article because they gave it a clickbait title and completely misinterpreted what Mr. Jacobs said. Here's what they quoted:

"We have a next-gen technology that's much brighter, should be more cost effective and has a number of other good attributes. It is this that we will license out," he said.

"I still believe in the technology," he continued. "It's always on and outdoor viewable. And one of the things that will be in the new technology is a better colour gamut."

Pocket Lint took those statements to mean that the Mirasol screen would show up on ereaders. Yeah, that's not going to happen - not on any large scale.

This screen tech first appeared on the trade show scene back in 2009, and it was originally planned to for use on ereaders. This was going to be a low-power color alternative to E-ink, but Qualcomm was unfortunately unable to  get production costs down. They also couldn't solve an ongoing problem with a high failure rate due to general poor production quality (I've been told elsewhere that is a tricky product to manufacture). And once tablets and ereaders got cheap enough and battery life improved there was little to justify the extra cost on a Mirasol screen.

Qualcomm killed their own production lines back in July of 2011 and announced plans to switch to licensing the tech to other manufacturers. Sure, Qualcomm is still investing in some research, and sure, this tech might show up somewhere eventually. But I don't see any chance of an ereader equipped with a Mirasol screen.

Leaving aside the fact that Qualcomm is trying to license the tech but not manufacturing it anymore, Qualcomm would have to offer the screen component at less than the cost of a comparable sized E-ink screen in order to gain the interest of device makers. That is around $50 or less, and at that price Qualcomm would basically be giving it away.

And I seriously doubt that anyone else will license the tech just to sell the screens at that price; the screen units cost too much to make.

All in all, this is a non-story.

About Nate Hoffelder (10074 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

4 Comments on Mirasol Lives? Blogosphere Still Obsessed With Failed Screen Tech

  1. Oh, someone will get the bright idea of partnering with global advertisers. Buy a Mirasol Smart Frame for, say, $10 — or even get one for free Load in your pictures. Every X number of pictures cycled through, get an ad.

  2. The said they had *a* new tech with all those great attributes.
    Doesn’t necessarily mean Mirasol; it might be the Pixtronix tech they bought.

  3. I would pay decent money for this screen in a digital picture frame, and probably enough for them to make a profit, though we’re vague on numbers here.

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