Nov 15 AT 7:16 PM Taylor Wimberly 18 Comments

Mirasol displays ready to extend your Android phone’s battery life to days in second half of 2012

Mirasol displays

Wouldn’t it be awesome if your smartphone’s battery life was measured in days instead of hours? The major source of power consumption in any mobile device is always the display, so it makes sense that a new technology could provide the breakthrough in battery life that many consumers are longing for.

Qualcomm thinks this breakthrough technology could be interferometric modulator display (IMOD), which create various colors through the interference of reflected light and promises to deliver power consumption a tenth or less of that of a comparable LCD. That sounds damn impressive and it’s why Qualcomm took  over the development of this technology way back in 2004, when they acquired Iridigm Display Corporation. For years they have been trying to commercialize the technology under their Mirasol brand, but we have yet to see it ship in volume in any mobile devices.

You can get a feel for how long Qualcomm has been trying to perfect the Mirasol displays by watching a couple of the promotional videos they produced back in 2009. Clarence Chui, who leads the group at Qualcomm developing the new technology said back then, “You actually don’t get many opportunites in your carreer to work on a fundamentally new process based technology. I think there’s a feeling of inevitability of this technology getting into the market and really igniting people’s imagination. It’s just striking.”

Many thought 2011 could finally be the year that Mirasol displays were ready for prime time. Qualcomm demoed Mirasol at CES and announced they would launch a 5.7-inch e-reader this year, but that project was canned when Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said he “didn’t really like [it], so we basically decided not to launch it, and instead just focus on the next version of it.”

So what exactly will the “next version” of Mirasol include and when will it be available?

From what we have gathered, it looks like the new Mirasol displays will have much faster response times suitable for high definition video, achieve better color reproduction, and include a backlight for situations when no ambient light is available to light the screen.

Tom Simonite of Technology Review recently visited Qualcomm’s headquarters and reported that they were investing almost $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.

If things turn out as planned, that means we could see the first Android smartphones and tablets with Mirasol displays in the second half of 2012. We will have to wait and see if the picture quality and performance is up to par with today’s displays, but I’d be willing to sacrifice a little quality if it meant my battery would last for days.

Hopefully, next year will finally be the time that Qualcomm is ready to unleash Mirasol to the masses. The news of a $1 billion factory in Taiwan is a good sign that things are on track, but there is still a lot of work ahead to ensure a near perfect yield and mass production.

While we wait for next year, check out the demo video below and let us know what you think about the potential of Mirasol. Would you choose a display with a lesser picture quality than LCD if it offered greatly enhanced battery life?

For more information, make sure to check out the official Mirasol displays site.

Via: Technology Review

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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  • protozeloz

    2X more time in display and 10 times more battery? The next nexus will be epic!

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Yeah I think that article from earlier today about 10x longer Li-on batteries is still years away. Mirasol should finally debut next year though which is cool!

      • protozeloz

        I’m just happy battery life is a concern on the companies. With both more optimized displays and optimized batteries we might reduce the smartphones overall size due to smaller batteries and pull more time in a single charge, with the 2.5quad core you might be saying bye to the laptop as a portable device

      • Tico4674

        Taylor, can you confirm if Dustin’s article was about battery longevity and degradation or total charge?

    • tmihai20

      I wonder what manufacturer will wonder first in using this new technology. I would like to witness this Mirasol display for myself. If it is really that good, then a phone using it will be very appealing to me. I bet a Chinese company will be the first to use it on a phone. What does Apple has to say about this?

  • Eduardo Mauricio Aliaga

    Yes yes yes this would propel androind even further ahead.

  • AppleFUD

    Don’t forget about Liquavista–the company that Samsung purchased a year ago. Rumor is we should see their tech hit smartphones in 2012 also.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Yeah that electrowetting technology looks cool, but not convinced we will see it in 2012.

  • spintrex

    Is the demo promoting the fact that there is no glare on the screen? I wouldn’t mind sacrificing the picture quality if it meant not having to charge the device for days on end.

  • mikeyDroid

    What am I supposed to do with my extra batteries with all these amazing improvements? :)

  • cb2000a

    This combined with the new Lithium tech being developed could mean your phone would last for a week between charges.

  • MarkT

    Its these improvements that will make lasting changes to the way we use devices.

  • myandroid99

    i need this now

  • donger

    looking good. can’t wait to see a device with this.

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  • Steve

    If they could add bio-luminescence to this to do away with the back light, they will have arrived in my book.