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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.

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Tom May 22, 2013 um 5:51 pm

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

Bennion Redd May 23, 2013 um 2:29 pm

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.

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