Nov 23 AT 2:55 AM Taylor Wimberly 27 Comments

World’s first Android device with Mirasol display has battery life measured in weeks

Mirasol display

If the major theme in mobile technology this year was dual-core processors, consider 2012 to be the year of reducing battery drain. We will see more power efficient processors, modems,  and smarter software, but most importantly we will have the next generation of display technology.

Leading the way is Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. (QMT) and their new Mirasol display. It is the industry’s first to use interferometric modulation (IMOD), which is a micro-electro-mechanical systems-based technology able to create color from ambient light. Simply put, the display only uses a fraction of the power of traditional LCD displays.

This week Qualcomm and Kyobo Book Centre, Korea’s largest seller of books, announced the world’s first e-reader to include Mirasol display technology. The main appeal of the Kyobo e-reader is its long battery life, promised to allow for “weeks of reading under typical usage.”

We’ve already seen other e-readers like Amazon’s $99 Kindle Touch which allow you to read up to two months on a single charge with wireless off and a half hour of reading per day. It’s hard to compare how the Kyobo tablet will measure up because Qualcomm doesn’t tell us how many weeks it will last and “battery life varies depending on usage and ambient light.”

However, Mirasol provides the clear advantage in user experience because it supports vibrant color and video. Clarence Chui, SVP and GM of QMT said, “Kyobo’s customers will be the first to enjoy the exceptional color e-reader experience and long battery life that only mirasol displays can provide.”

Highights of the Kyobo e-reader include:

  • 5.7” XGA format (1024 x 768 pixels) mirasol display (screen resolution of 223 ppi)
  • 1.0 GHz Snapdragon S2 processor
  • Kyobo’s custom application interface runs on top of Android 2.3

Kyobo’s e-reader is now on available in South Korea with the device selling for KRW349,000 (US$310) or a special discount price of KRW 299,000 (US$265) for Platinum Book Club members. Again, this is not as cheap as the Amazon Kindle Fire, but you can never really make comparisons with the different currency rates.

Even though the current version of Mirasol displays are aimed at the e-Reader market, Qualcomm has already revealed they are working on the next version of the displays and spending $1 billion to build a new factory in Taiwan that is scheduled to come online in mid-2012 and be able to produce Mirasol displays at a very large scale. These new displays should include faster response times, better color reproduction, and higher resolutions.

Check out the Kyobo demo video below for an idea of what to expect. The animation doesn’t look totally smooth, but it appears to get the job done. Amazon has always had a focus on battery life for their Kindle family of products, so it’s possible we could see Mirasol displays in future generations of the Kindle lineup.

Expect more information about Mirasol displays when we head to CES in January.

Via: Qualcomm

Source: Mirasol Displays Kyobo

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Dhruv

    Dont know whether i will be able to use this display after using super amoled… the colors looked washed off

    • Dhruv

      it will be appealing to some i suppose but for me the display has to have the best color reproduction, clarity, response time …. super amoled really excels there… show me results close to that and im jumping the bandwagon…. anyways the consumers win here… the more the option the more we get to choose from

      • bemymonkey

        “Best color reproduction” on AMOLED? Sure, the colors are vivid, but nowhere near accurate. Depending on the brightness, people in pictures on (super)AMOLED(plus) displays always either look like smurfs (high brightness) or the yellowish devil (low brightness)… ALL displays look washed out after looking at AMOLED for a while – not because they’re inferior, but rather because AMOLED is, in every smartphone I’ve seen with it (and I own an AMOLED smartphone), completely oversaturated.

        Response time is a big one though, of course.

        • Ethem

          I would totally agree on that. Amoled displays are way too overrated imo. Does not represent real colors and after using clear slcd screens like LG’s Nova, SAMOLED looks like, errr, “irritating” to me.

          • Player911

            Thats only because Samsung over saturates their displays. If you fix the stock color settings, they really shine. The contrast is what makes the displays pop. Coming from a Nexus One to a LG G2x with SLCD, I can honestly say meh. My G2x has sweet colors, don’t get me wrong, but AMOLEDs can be the best if setup properly.

            Lots of Samsung’s displays have blue, green, or yellow hues… but they are getting better.

  • Mark

    This is on an e-reader though. We need to see this on a cellphone or tablet where constant radios (wifi, 3g, 4g etc) are on.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Hey even if it extends a smartphones battery life to a couple days I’d be happy.

  • Mil

    “Mirasol provides the clear advantage in user experience because it supports vibrant color”. I wouldn’t exactly call it vibrant. It looks very washed out. Having said that, it’s still perfectly fine as an e-book reader with battery life measured in weeks. Hell, at the right price, I’m sure many would even be happy with it as a tablet.

    • kazahani

      Remember, this is an e-reader we are talking about. It’s targeted mainly to people who will use it to read books, and you only need two colors for that. I’m assuming that the tablet/smartphone grade displays are going to look better.

    • cheeseasaurus

      Yeah, its about as washed out as color screens can be. But when you place it next to E-Ink, its beautiful. As long as they compare the look to E-Ink, and the Battery life to LCD, then it looks great on paper…

      But there’s a market for it. I think.

  • jojo

    “We’ve already seen other e-readers like Amazon’s $99 Kindle Touch which allow you to read up to two months on a single charge with wireless off and a half hour of reading per day”, so basically if i don’t use it the battery will last, but if i’m a heavy reader then i’m looking at two charges per week. i remember before dual core phones came out people were saying how they were going to be so much better for battery life and it turns out not really. now it starts again with new displays and four core cpu’s for mobiles and i know that also will be wrong. not sure what my point was now but at this point i’m tired of all the crap about better battery life that’s just bulls*** . if i turn on airplane mode on my phone i’m sure it will last a week but cease being a phone.

    • Mil

      30 mins of reading a day over 2 months on a single charge comes to 30 hours of reading time. Are you really reading 60 hours a week (2 charges worth of reading time)? If you’re complaining about having to charge 2 times a week when you read 60 hours then that’s a little unfair. It’s like driving around in a super fuel economical car hundreds of miles a day and then complaning about havin to fill up the tank a few times a week.

      While the dual core CPU’s may consume less power than previous single core variants, they’re added to phones that have larger, bright displays. Perhaps additional networking has also been added.

      The point is, overall better battery life can only be achieved if all the components of the device are all helping to be economical with power usage.

      • dronid

        Your computations and assumptions are wrong. 60 days at 1/2 hr/day is not the same as 30hrs straight. Continuous use would be much shorter. That’s why Amazon is advertising this funny way.

        Also, you forget that the reader chews much more power if it is used actively, downloading books, browsing, even page turning..

  • charliethesuperturtle

    God damn


    I wish devices that will come for the next year will have faster processor, brightest displays, and outstanding battery power.

  • flo

    am I right, that this one has a front light integrated in the bezel?

  • iucidium

    And Sense will destroy that battery life.

    • Samseder

      Sense doesn’t destroy battery life. You’re thinking memory.

    • Samseder

      Sense doesn’t destroy battery life. It is a MEMORY hog.

  • Dave

    I saw reducing better drain & I was here! This is what they should’ve BEEN working on, alongside tryna make all these extra processors. I mean you have these dual-core, snapdragon, tegra 2, & soon to be tegra 3 processors, but the battery can barely last enough to take full advantage of all the features of these smartphones. I hope next year they really accomplish this goal, it will be more than welcomed.

  • spintrex

    It’s great to see focus on extending battery life especially with quad-cores around the corner to suck the life of every smart device. I hope to see smartphones lasting as long as weeks on end on a single charge.

  • ilmma27

    it’s actually not bad for a reader. One reason why I prefer kindle touch over kindle fire because of its e-ink display, just like paper and doesn’t make eyes tired. While this mirasol display doesn’t seem too bright for eyes and it’s perfect for reading. Does it mean that we can finally see a color version of kindle touch soon?

  • ashclepdia

    one thing I would like to see is better brightness control to the user.
    If I wanted to turn my screen so dark I could barely see it to save battery o should be ABLE to do that as I please.
    my X2 on its dimmest setting allowed still lights up an entire dark room. that just sucks the battery life so quickly.
    im sure newer technology for displays will also help with battery life but we should AT LEAST have complete control on how bright we want our screen to be without having to buy or download an app((that will run in the background also taking juice)) in order to make our screen dimmer than allowed settings

  • MJM128

    All these promises for better battery life, yet we still don’t have better battery tech out there.

  • Samar

    Sounds promising for sure. The screen resolution will have to be better though, since it got to compete with HD & AMOLED like displays.

  • Charles

    You can’t compare Mirasol to AMOLED or even LCD. Mirasol is a reflective technology, like E-Ink, the colors look washed out in the video, but it may be because of lighting.
    What I don’t get is why that big bezel isnt a photo-voltaic cell, since you have to have the lights on to read it.

  • BigBen

    This looks to be pretty useful – ‘smart’ phones are useless for us because they mostly require charging daily – smartbooks are better in that regard, but less convenient.
    Not that bothered about colour quality as seen in the video – it’s really easy to get a bad result with a reflective screen on video. Lighting is indeed critical. So long as it works well enough and helps the ‘phone (or whatever) last a week I’m good.
    Besides, the quality will likely improve with time.