Qualcomm: Kyobo eReader with colour Mirasol screen
Still preparing massive production of their colour e-paper Mirasol screens, Qualcomm has announced a partnership with the South Korean Kyobo to unveil the Kyobo eReader – the first device to benefit from a colour Mirasol e-paper colour display.
The e-paper screen technology, without rear lighting, readable in full sunlight and using very little energy has allowed for the emergence of electronic readers. Despite this, and with a few rare exceptions, most devices still offer only monochrome with varying shades of grey.
While this wasn’t an issue for reading eBooks, it does make the device less attractive when reading newspapers or magazines which required range of advanced functions. With the development of colour e-paper screens for readers, this provides such devices the advantage of greater battery life to compete with tablets.
Numerous colour e-paper technologies are currently under testing… or are now starting to see the light of day. The global specialist E Ink has various projects moving in this direction, along with American chipset manufacturer Qualcomm who has developed their own technology, nicknamed Mirasol.
Initially designed to replace small LCD screens, Mirasol has now found its place in readers that are looking to benefit from the addition of colour to add a strong element to the current offer. Qualcomm announced early in 2011 they would be investing 1 billion dollars to develop the first production site for Mirasol screen in Taiwan.
In June, during their annual UpLinq event, the group’s CEO Paul Jacobs indicated that the first Mirasol products would only be made available in early 2012 rather than late this year, with the company wanting to ensure that the quality promised at their first announcement was up to scratch.
eReader with colour and video player
Qualcomm also announced that they have signed a partnership with South Korean Kyobo, with the results being the first eReader to use a colour Mirasol screen with the Kyobo eReader. This is a device with a 5.7" display running a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels (223 ppi) with a 1GHz SnapDragon S2 processor, everything is managed by a specific user interface based on the Android 2.3 platform.
The Kyobo eReader will come with a colour screen without rear lighting, readable in full sunlight which can also access a catalogue of more than 90 000 eBooks. At the same time, it is capable of displaying video (which monochrome e-paper eReaders cannot currently do).
It also means that these readers are starting to add tactile tablet like possibilities, without losing its main benefits of having a screen which is not rear-lit, is less tiring on the eyes and improved battery life that can get out to a few weeks. The Kyobo eReader will be available for around 310 dollars. This Mirasol product will be available from today in South Korea.
The device will be produced in Qualcomm’s first factory, currently with limited capacity, although things will get serious when the new site enters service in mid-2012.
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