Mirasol’s low-power color display technology could be widespread in the ereader market by the end of this year according to parent-company, Qualcomm. In development for the past two years, the low-powered IMOD (interferometric modulation) screens began to gain more widespread attention after displaying working prototypes at CES 2010.
“Activity will come from the ereader sector first”, stated Cheryl Goodman, director of marketing for Qualcomm MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) Technologies. “We are working towards the end of the year, beginning of next, and with multiple vendors”.
Mirasol’s IMOD displays could be the perfect color successor to the monochromatic screens that currently dominate the ereader industry. While an ebook-size TFT LCD screen requires approximately 20mW of power, the IMOD uses a mere 1mW. This is largely due to the fact that, unlike a TFT LCD, the IMOD does not require a backlight for viewing. Also, since it uses the surrounding available light rather than a backlight for illumination, the IMOD is easily viewable in direct sunlight.
IMOD displays are also capable of handling video at a refresh rate of up to 15 frames per second. While this may not be great for watching videos online, Mirasol’s website claims that, “[The] switching speed directly translates to a video rate-capable display with no motion-blur effects.”
Which manufacturers will be working with Mirasol to produce next-gen color eReaders? Unfortunately, Goodman wouldn’t name names. However, when asked by tech website Pocket-lint, Goodman “teasingly” replied that, “multiple deals are in the queue”.
Would the addition of a low-power color display make you more likely to purchase an eReader in the future? I, personally, have been considering a new Kindle recently, but may wait a bit to see if Amazon and Mirasol team up to produce a color unit.