Qualcomm is planning to commercialize its Mirasol display technology, which will add color and rival LCDs and e-ink displays, by investing $2 billion to start a plant in Taiwan, with mass shipments of the screen to occur in the beginning of 2012.
Mirasol screen technologies combine the best of e-ink displays, which consumer very little power and are found on digital book readers such as the Barnes & Noble nook and Amazon Kindle, along with LCD technologies, which provide color and multimedia and video playback. Mirasol will do just that–offer an energy efficient display that’s readable and crisp–sans glare–under direct sunlight like e-ink, and will be in color and can render video in up to 30 frames per second. The screens will be in 5.7-inch sizes.
While Qualcomm will be the sole investor of the Taiwanese plant, sources tell DigiTimes that the company is also looking to expand Mirasol: “Qualcomm already has a 4.5G Mirasol display production joint venture (JV) with Foxlink in Longtan. The JV, SolLink, successfully produced 5.7-inch color Mirasol displays in April 2010.”
Mirasol’s timing can’t come soon enough given the world-wide AMOLED constraints. The display will join e-ink, AMOLED–which is in short supply, OLED, Super AMOLED–which is currently only offered on the Samsung Galaxy S series smartphones, Super LCD, and LCD screen technologies. While Mirasol isn’t expected for multimedia rich devices, the screen will be beneficial for displays that are meant to be used in direct sunlight, like GPS screens and color e-ink readers and tablets, and will provide consumers with another nice alternative.