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back to article Cutting-edge Mirasol display finally comes to e-reader

The much-awaited Mirasol display has made its debut in an South Korean e-reader, offering the colour of LCD combined with the clarity, and power consumption, of electronic ink. mirasol Mirasol technology was developed by Qualcomm, who have been demonstrating it for a few years now and even announced that screens were in …

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Anonymous Coward

the fire isn't an e-reader, it's a tablet, does it have several weeks of power?

Anyway, god damn I want one of these, and I want one now, suddenly ability to use modern full colour rpgs on them! I was only just thinking about picking up a kindle but if colour is coming knocking screw that.

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Facepalm

Is it just me

Or do things look really laggy/jerky in the demos. Rather than being a great eReader (which just need to show a page turning) it now just looks like a really crappy Android tablet. Bad move.

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Great stuff

Mirasol tech looks intriguing - fast (but not super fast) refresh rates, colour and high readability. My concern from looking at the vids is the tech still clearly tears but it looks highly promising as a compromise between e-ink and lcd.

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Nice

Takes away Kindles thunder. I'll prefer it anytime to Kindle Fire!

When does it come to blighty? And prices?

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Anonymous Coward

This makes the Kindle Fire...

...look obsolete. One week after launch.

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A tablet with a 2 week life expectancy

That's pretty good to me.

One thing Ive never understood about portables is why they don't shift the clock frequency.

Full speed for rendering and caching every possible page from *here*, then shut down the processor to a few Mhz.

How much crunching does it take to detect a) someone has touched the screen b) time to do something about it.

Always assuming you haven't put it on slow scroll so it just has to render chunks, DMA them to the screen and shut down.

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already there

Clocks and supply are already gated for chips to conserve power. Also different parts of the chip work at different voltages to conserve power. You'll find that now it's the display that makes the major difference. Yes there is still room for improvement in chip design, and that's why I have a job. Newer chips will keep getting better in terms of efficiency.

Coming back to displays, this tech is something that I've been waiting for. A colour reader that can last for a couple of weeks would be awesome.

My wish list:

Colour screen with a resolution of 1280x800 for reading technical papers

Battery that can last at least a week

Wi-fi, bluetooth, usb (3G would be nice to have)

Expandable memory

MP3/OGG player (FM radio would be nice)

Dolphin browser

Pop/imap/exchange client for email

Support for pdf, epub, doc, xls, ppt, images,....

Touch screen with a pen for scribbling notes

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ARM recently announced their big.LITTLE model, where a low-power CPU is paired with a high-power CPU, with the high-power CPU powered only when needed.

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Angel

Couldn't have put it better myself zanto.

I can't wait until they come up with a hybrid, one that has a normal LCD back-lit display for your standard tablet features, and then the content from that screen being pushed into a normally transparent Mirasol-style e-ink display mounted above it as a power saving mode or for reading e-books or magazines.

While I'm dreaming, they should throw in a sliding keyboard while they're at it, a la Samsung PC7 (TX100).

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FAIL

power

"offering the colour of LCD combined with the clarity, and power consumption, of electronic ink"

except not really. their pitch is that 'you can use it for weeks if you only use it half an hour a day'. as this is a marketing claim it makes sense to interpret it as cynically as possible, hence we read 'weeks' as '14 days', in which case the battery life is...7 hours. Worse than the Galaxy Tab or iPad. Which only makes sense, since the thing has a backlight.

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Not really the same

I don't see the claims as especially different from touch ereaders like the recent Sony / Amazon ones. These devices stay on even when the screen is not consuming power in order to respond to touch events. After some period of time they go into sleep mode and after some further period of time they shut down completely. If you look at the estimated battery life it might say a few weeks based on some average use calculation.

So this Mirasol device wouldn't be consuming much power to maintain a static image on its screen. But it would still need power while it's waiting for touch events, for backlighting, and for the CPU when its doing fancy animations or whatever. I still bet it would allow the reader to last comfortably longer than a tablet and with less weight and battery too.

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um, yes, it is different

eink readers just do last a lot longer than 'two weeks, half an hour a day'. I have one. I use it a lot more than that before the battery goes down. case dismissed.

the backlight alone unavoidably must cause much higher battery drainage. backlights take a huge amount of power, when compared to just about any other single component in a portable device. any device which uses a backlight will unavoidably consume significantly more power than one that doesn't.

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Meh

Fine for magazines and coffee table books....

...but otherwise, shiny colour pages are just a distraction.

Words are best read in monochrome. That's why books work so well, and why the ebook readers work so well.

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Color has other uses

Color's often very helpful or necessary for textbooks. Biology texts, for example, do much better with color plates for subjects like taxonomy, where color features of organisms are important. Art textbooks that deal with painting or any other field where color is prominently used are another example. Color graphics are very useful in a number of technical fields. And color is simply required for some subjects, such as color science.

And while I agree that monochrome text is best in most cases, there are those where color is arguably a net positive contribution (eg in headings, though there weight is usually sufficient), and others where it can be distinctly helpful - for example in distinguishing comments from multiple editors in an annotated document.

For that matter, I can see using an e-reader to read code on occasion, and syntax coloring might be nice.

For e-readers, I think e-ink is the best display tech we have to date. I wouldn't want to give up the e-ink advantages just for color. But Mirasol might retain the e-ink advantages (if it's not too reflective) while adding color, for those cases where it's worth having.

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The tearing might not be visible in person.

I could be due to the camera used to record the machine in action: it depends on the Mirasol display's refresh rate.

It does look a bit sluggish in places, but this *is* a "v1.0" product release. If it looks as good in the flesh as the e-Ink displays used by Kindles, this technology could be a serious competitor.

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I think it would be

In the clip the tearing is going vertically which suggests it is not an artifact of the capture device. I think it would still be perfectly okay for use in an ereader and for casual browsing / sedentary tablet stuff. I think it would drive people mad for full screen video where its likely to tear and drop frames like crazy.

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