Qualcomm Repurposes Mirasol Screen Tech As Fancy Movie Prop & One Day Hopes to Get it Into Mobile Devices

mirasol prop sid display week 3Qualcomm is getting a lot of attention this week thanks to their new 5.1 inch Mirasol screen, but most of the press coverage has left out one key detail.

The screen doesn’t actually work.

I spent a few minutes this morning in the Qualcomm booth, eager to play with their new prototype, but unfortunately it is more of a prop than a prototype. The display is completely non functional, and it would perhaps be better to describe it as a custom print job than a display. Qualcomm used manufacturing tech similar to what is used to make a Mirasol screen and printed the prototype that everyone is talking about.

If the stats are to be believed then this could one day be a super high resolution smartphone screen with a resolution of 2560×1440, or about 564 ppi. But at the moment it is simply a printed screen that has a lower resolution than my $150 inkjet printer.

The Qualcomm reps tried to sell me the same “it’s under development” line that they convinced everyone else to believe, but I don’t buy it.  The thing is, if nonfunctional props count as demos then Star Trek had the first tablets, cell phones, and so on. Show me a demo that works and I will call it a demo. Until then it’s a movie prop, no more and no less.

And given the difficulty that Qualcomm has faced with this screen tech, I don’t expect this screen to ever hit the market. I expect it to suffer the same fate as the 4.3″ smartphone demo units that Qualcomm showed off last year.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. […] It turns out that the demo Qualcomm is showing off at the moment is more of a non-working mockup than an actual product. But the company says the screen’s under development. Whether anyone will actually use the […]

  2. Tom22 May, 2013

    there is a good reason for this insane pixel density
    Mirasol uses “spatial dithering” to create pixels
    Each pixel consists of a cluster of 6 x 7 subpixels, because the subpixels can only switch between 2 states: ON or OFF
    So the actual pixel density is more like 100 ppi

  3. Bennion Redd23 May, 2013

    That is so sad! I was so excited about Mirasol for so long. I knew this blog would get the best info available on it. I guess now I’ll just pin my hopes on a future Liquivista panel from Amazon. I would love the incredible battery life, sunlight readability, and comfort of a non-refreshing screen on a cell phone or tablet.

  4. Qualcomm ofrece sus pantallas mirasol al mejor postor27 May, 2013

    […] –  The Digital Reader, […]

  5. […] is better than what Qualcomm showed off last year, when the high point of the Mirasol display was a nonfunctional 5.1″ screen. I saw that 5.1″ dummy again this year, and I also saw the Toq smart watch, but I […]

  6. […] got a lot of press this week for a dummy 5.1 inch smartphone screen, but I would bet that the screen from Qualcomm’s other screen tech division has a better […]


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