Archive for mirasol
“The Internet of Things” is the new mandate from Qualcomm, as the company transitions its Mirasol technology from tablets to wearable tech and smartphones. Many industry analysts wrote off Mirasol e-Paper technology as dead, but this couldn’t be further from the truth, as Qualcomm as updated the screens for a new breed of devices.
SID Display Week 2013 just kicked off in Vancouver and I had a chance to catch up with Jesse Burke, who is the new public face of Mirasol. He explained that Mirasol technology had an existing roadmap and that it has deviated from it in small ways to brave a new frontier of wearable technology. There were three new products showcased at the vent, such as a smartwatch, a secondary screen for a phone, and Mirasol technology as the main display on new smartphone.
One of the big adjustments to Mirasol across the board was fitting everything on a single screen. In the past, Mirasol had two different layers of screen for its line of tablets that came out a few years ago, including the Bambook Sunflower and the Kyobo. This gave the user a more washed out approach to images and colors and the tradeoff was great battery life. Qualcomm managed to merge the two layers, producing rich and vibrant color.
The Mirasol smartwatch was the main attraction at SID and had a 1.2 inch screen and lasts a few weeks before needing a re-charge. The intention behind this product is not just to tell the time, but to be an extension of your digital life. On average, we reach for our smartphones almost 100 times a day, to check Twitter, Facebook, messages, and missed calls. The watch will ping you with Google Now updates, Facebook Home, and other essential apps. Mainly, it will serve as a secondary screen that will assist you in staying on top of all the action, without constantly referencing your bulky phone. Currently, Qualcomm is shopping this technology to various vendors, and we will likely see something happening towards the end of 2013 and mid 2014.
Smartphone screen technology is a huge focus for Qualcomm right now and the opportunity is ripe for Mirasol to sweep in and gain some market share. The average phone has a better life of 12-24 hours, depending on your use. Mirasol will extend this up to six times, which amounts to hefty savings over LED and OLED screens
There were two phone displays shown at SID, one was a fully featured smartphone, using Mirasol, and the other was a second display screen on the back of the phone, that draws parallels with the upcoming Yota. The smartphone had sported a 5.1-inch panel with a stunning resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels and 577 ppi. This phone is in the RND phase and is not commercially available yet. It is likely we will have to wait until 2015 to really see it in action. The second display was on the back of the phone, and mirrors the watch in terms of form and function. It allows you to have a secondary screen with dedicated apps running on it. Useful, but it remains to be seen if multi-screen smartphones are viable with your average consumer.
Mirasol spent almost four years developing its screen technology, which was an alternative to Pixel QI and Color e-Paper. It was based on IMOD (Interferometric MODulation), with MEMS structures at its core. This MEMS-based innovation is bistable & highly reflective, meaning the display itself can be seen in direct sunlight. It saw many products reach South Korea and Asia, but never took off in North America. What went wrong with the screens?
Mirasol screen technology was developed to draw less power and be viewable in direct sunlight. Qualcomm had grand ambitions to usher in a new era of smartphone, tablet, and e-reader screens. The company spent almost 1 billion dollars on a dedicated factory in Taiwan to produce the screens. Unfortunately, there were only four companies in Asia that bought into what Mirasol was selling: Hanvon, Bambook, Kyobo, and Koobe Jin Yong. All of these devices ran on the Google Android operating system and were very unique in the marketplace. Sadly, all of these e-readers/tablets suspended production and are no longer being made or marketed.
Qualcomm was estimated to have lost close to 300 million dollars in 2012 due to the Mirasol fiasco. The company announced a few months ago that it was abandoning the technology in its current form. “We are now focusing on licensing our next-generation Mirasol display technology and will directly commercialize only certain Mirasol products,” said Chief Executive Paul Jacobs Wednesday in a conference call with analysts. “We believe this strategy will better align our updated road map with the addressable opportunities.”
So what went wrong? Mirasol screens were only able to produce 60 Hz video, which quickly drained the battery. When we reviewed the Kyobo e-Reader, we noticed that colors looked washed out. There simply isn’t an interest from large scale companies like LG, Samsung, Motorola, and HTC to use unproven screens with their phones and tablets. Samsung spends a ridiculous amount of money on developing its own screens and purchased Liquavista for its electrowetting display, but has since been quiet about it. In the end, all the big boys have their existing supply chain and don’t want to buy risky new developments.
The lack of mainstream support is what destroyed Mirasol, Pixel Qi, and Plastic Logic. All of these companies almost went broke developing factories and research and development sectors. All of them in 2012 announced that they were getting out of making commercial products and instead will license their technology. Pixel Qi has seen the most success with marketing its tech to the military and government sectors.
Find out the semantics of Mirasol screen technology HERE.
Last week, one of the biggest e-paper conferences, SID, was held in Boston. Fuji Xerox had their line of e-paper technology on display at the event, one that the company claims is far better with its color display qualities. Fuji Xerox revealed this has been achieved by removing the color filter, which has resulted in a more vibrant display.
The technology that is used in this e-paper is that each color has been set a different threshold. The color particles to be drawn would be different as the charge that is applied would differ depending on the threshold set for that color. The drawing takes place on the back of the display board. However, Fuji has stated it is still in early stages with the e-paper technology. The prototype uses two colors, while plans are afoot to use three colors in the full color e-paper. The prototype is a 5 inch screen with a resolution of 600 x 800 pixels. The resolution can be considered to be a bit low for mass production.
Fuji is not alone in the race, as there are other companies that are experimenting with this type of working principle. The Mirasol display from Qualcomm is one. However, while e-paper can be extremely frugal in their energy requirements, the cost factor is proving to be the main hurdle for the progress of this technology. Compared to LCD and AMOLED based screens, this form of e-paper has turned out to be very costly. Another deficiency with the Mirasol screens is that they lag in color brightness.
The Society for Information Displays or SID is coming up next week and Mirasol will be showing off 4 of their e-readers. These devices will have the brand new Mirasol e-Paper technology found in the Kyobo e-Reader.
One of the great aspects of the entire Mirasol lineup to date is the ability to run the Google Android operating system. This allows tremendous flexibility to play games, watch movies, and browse the internet. The essence of this technology is to mimic e-paper and give you a longer battery life then the standard LCD tablet. We will be providing all the details on these new developments at SID and Book Expo America. In the meantime you can purchase the Kyobo Mirasol e-Reader with English firmware from Shop e-Readers.
Welcome to another exclusive Good e-Reader Comparison Video! Today we check out the two latest entrants to the color e-paper market with e-Ink Triton and Mirasol. These two technologies give you a taste of color e-paper in very distinctive ways.
e-Ink Triton is e-Ink Holdings’ first venture into producing true color e-paper. e-Ink Pearl is their previous generation technology and is showcased in many popular e-readers currently on the market. The Kindle Touch, Sony PRS-T1, and Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch all use it. The Jetbook Color is literally the first e-reader in the world to have true color e-paper and the results are striking.
Mirasol has been developing their color e-paper solution for a series of tablets that give you very low battery draw and provide rich colors. Mirasol closely resembles Pixel Qi screens in the respect that it functions in the sun very well. Most tablets like the iPad, Nook Color, and Kindle Fire don’t perform well in the direct sunlight, and often you get glare that obfuscates the screen. Mirasol is not phased by direct light and gives you the ability to use it in any circumstances, including dark rooms.
This video gives you a full comparison on how magazines, newspapers, comic books, ebooks, and PDF files look. If you are interested in either of these technologies or how content ends up looking on both screen platforms, this video is for you!
We only just reviewed the Kyobo Mirasol e-reader, a South Korean exclusive, last week and it looks like Mirasol has another device up their sleeves, the Koobe Jin Yong Reader.
First of all, this latest e-reader is the spitting image of the Kyobo one recently released in terms of hardware. It uses a Qualcomm’s 1.0 GHz Snapdragon S2 class processor and features a 5.7” XGA format with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. The main differences is the User Interface it uses, which is a heavily customized version of Android 2.3. It is also bundled with 15 ebooks by the popular Chinese writer Jin Yong.
The Jin Yong Reader joins the C18 from China’s Hanvon, the Bambook Sunflower from China’s Shanda Networking Co. and the Kyobo eReader from South Korea’s Kyobo Book Centre. All of these use the new Mirasol technology that took over 2 years of constant development. Surprisingly, the displays are very sound and emulate the virtues of Pixel Qi in the respect that they perform very well outdoors. One of the drawbacks is all of these devices never see the light of day in North America and instead are Asian exclusives.
There is no information on release dates or the price, but I see it being competitive with the other Mirasol devices on the market, at $300 US.
“With Taiwan as home to Qualcomm MEMS Technologies’ growing manufacturing base, it is significant for its consumers to experience the unmatched performance benefits of mirasol displays,” said Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. “Koobe’s next-generation Jin Yong Reader further demonstrates a growing global preference for e-readers that can display a variety of color and interactive content even in bright sunlight.”
The next-generation Jin Yong Reader, named after China’s best-selling living author, comes preloaded with Jin Yong’s acclaimed 15 novel set (compiled in 36 volumes) and includes access to Koobe’s content libraries, which features thousands of novels, comics, interactive e-books, animated picture books and magazines.
“Users of the Jin Yong Reader have come to expect a compelling reading experience in terms of both content and functionality,” said Simon Hsu, general manager of Koobe, Inc. “By incorporating mirasol displays into this advanced version, we will offer our customers a new and compelling experience by adding color and interactive content without sacrificing outdoor visibility and battery life.”
The Jin Yong Reader features a 5.7″ XGA format (1024 x 768 pixels) mirasol display (screen resolution of 223 ppi) and Qualcomm’s 1.0 GHz Snapdragon™ S2 processor. Koobe’s custom application interface sits atop an Android 2.3 base.
* Battery life varies depending on usage and ambient light. Battery life based upon 30 minutes of daily reading time with Wi-Fi off and average integrated reading light brightness of 22 percent.
Founded in 2005 and based in Taiwan, Koobe is one of the leading e-reader solution providers serving the Greater China market. The company provides a complete e-reading and digital publishing solution for publishers, online bookstores, 3C branding companies and operators. The company identifies and distributes digital content from newspapers, magazines and books; and specializes in e-publishing software technology and hardware design for e-readers and other multipurpose devices. For more information, please visit http://www.koobe.com.tw/.
About Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc.
Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc. has drawn on the same color-producing process that makes a butterfly’s wings shimmer to develop the revolutionary mirasol display technology. The mirasol display is the industry’s first to use interferometric modulation (IMOD); a micro-electro-mechanical systems-based technology capable of creating color from ambient reflected light. Qualcomm’s mirasol displays are bi-stable, energy efficient, offer refresh rates to support interactive content and are highly reflective, allowing for superb viewing quality in a wide range of environmental conditions, including bright sunlight. With applications in a variety of mobile devices, mirasol displays support Qualcomm’s overall strategy of mobile innovation by enabling a compelling viewing experience with significantly less power. For more information, visit the mirasol displays website, our Blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is the world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.
The Kindle Fire and Kyobo Mirasol are both Android driven tablets that are billed as e-readers. There are many similarities between the two devices and many differences. This video battles these two devices head to head in a battery of tests. We show you how the book experience functions, videos, internet, Youtube, PDFS, Magazines and much more!
Welcome to another Good e-Reader Exclusive Video Review! Today we take a long look at the latest generation Android e-Reader to use Mirasol’s color e-paper technology, the Kyobo.
This new e-reader has amazing resolution and is very pocket friendly with a 5.7 inch screen. In this video we show you the full experience of the device, putting it through the paces. We show you the complete internet experience and how things load and look. If you are a fan of ebooks we show you all of the built in functionality to support not only EPUB, but also PDF too. If you are into Newspapers, Magazines and Comcis, this performs rather well.
The Kyobo Mirasol e-reader is the first device in the world to use Mirasol color e-paper technology that has been in development for over two years. This device has a fair amount of similarities with Pixel Qi displays in the respect the colors are often muted by excel under direct light. How does this e-reader compare against others in the market and has the wait on Mirasol been worth it?
The Kyobo Mirasol Color e-reader features a 5.7 inch capacitive display with a resolution of 1024×768. It really does pack a punch in terms of how good things look on this small screen and noticed comics, books and images often looked better then competitive devices such as the Kobo Vox.
Underneath the hood lurks a 1 GHZ Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor and 512 MB of RAM. This Mirasol e-reader might not have the dual core punch that the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet has, but it is enough to do common tasks without long delays in programs opening or web browsing.
There is not much internal memory when you take it out of the box because of the installed Android OS and the default applications. In the end you have 1 GB to work with but you do have the option to upgrade it via the Micro SD. If you intend on installing your own applications or content on this reader there is a few things you need to know. First of all, drivers on Windows 7 or Vista 64 are virtually non-exisitant and we spent hours patrolling the internet trying to find the right USB drivers. We resorted to using a Micro SD card in order to copy content to our device. Now bear in mind, the Kyobo has a hard time reading directory structures so you want to make sure anything you copy over is in the ROOT directory of your SD.
The overall hardware is very slick and I thought it was tremendously distinctive in terms of color and design. Most other hybred tablets that are billed as e-readers are often pure black and in the end they all look the same. The Kyobo has a gun metal back and trim around the side of the unit. There are a pair of stereo speakers on the very back and positioned near the bottom of the unit. On the top you have your hard-reset button and power. On the right hand side there is volume buttons that protrude and make it easy to adjust the audio experience. On the bottom is your Micro USB connector, this is used to charge the unit and facilitate a connection to your computer. Underneath it is a small LED indicator that turns orange when you are powering it on and beside that is your 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Many Android tablets suffer from the limited battery life because of the bright LCD display screens. The Kyobo from my experience lasts about 10 hours if you are actually using it. This includes watching videos, downloading apps, browsing the internet and reading books. If you turn your Wireless Internet OFF and resort to only reading books, you can get around two weeks of solid use.
So whats the deal with Mirasol and how does it stack up against the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire? We filmed a few comparison videos between the two e-readers that should be on our YOUTUBE channel in the next few days that visually walks you through the entire experience. Suffice to say the Mirasol display is often muted and the screen is not as vibrant as the other two. If you are reading a book the background is not glaring white and in effect is easier on the eyes for long reading sessions. We also put glaring studio lights on all of the devices and the Mirasol e-reader shrugged off direct lighting like a superstar. I can honestly say the Kyobo Reader did a better job at displaying full color content and reading in direct light then the Notion Ink Adam did with its Pixel QI technology.
In the end, the hardware is designed really well and stands out in a crowded room of of Android Tablets. I thought it did an amazing job with its stereo speakers and the entire audio experience is fairly solid. It is small and lightweight and you should have no problem in the portability department.
The Kyobo Mirasol e-reader is running Google Android 2.3 which allows you a great amount of flexibility in crafting your own experience. The one thing about this Google OS is that it does not limit you if you want to install your own 3rd party applications from web based or indie markets. This particular Mirasol reader I found has a hard time installing apps from web based markets and if you want to install your own there is a bit of a process. What you need to do is download the APK files directly to your computer and then copy them to the root directory of your Micro SD card. Once you do that you should be able to launch and install them. This allowed us to install Kindle, Sony, Nook and Kobo for Android and tap into their rich ecosystems of content.
The main home screen is not your typical Android experience that you might see on tablets like the Pandigital Novel or Micro CRUZ Reader. Instead it uses a proprietary home menu much akin to the way Barnes and Noble and Amazon used their own GUI. In order to access apps and games you have installed you want to hit the settings menu to pull up your content. Instead of your installed content being presented in a typical Android way it uses a small slider bar on the button of the screen that you can use to swipe left and right to scroll through your lists. If you see something you want to load its as easy as tapping on it and the app will launch.
First, lets talk about the overall reading experience because that is the essence of this e-reader. The stock reader is not much to write home amount and there is no bundled books or dictionaries in the English language. You may want to install an alternative reader app such as Aldiko, Moon+ or other readers like Kindle, Sony, or Kobo in order to read your books.
The default application lets you do simple things like line-spacing, margins and changing a few fonts. There is an animated page turn when you are reading books but there is an option to shut it off. After about an hour I was loving reading on this device and here is why. It is so easy on the eyes that you will not get that LCD glare that you get on your PC or other Android Tablets. The muted colors and background are actually a blessing in disguise because you can read as long as you want in any environment and get the best non-eink experience possible. This may be the perfect device for someone always outdoors when they read.
Comic books and Magazines looked great on the Mirasol e-reader too! Now, because the colors are muted you will not get the full vibrant colors that you would with other Android readers like the Nook Tablet or Kindle Fire. Side by Side the colors on the competition were richer and more vibrant. The smaller screen also suffers from the magazine and comic book experience. Reading on a 5.7 inch screen is very different then reading this type of content on your iPad or a 7 inch screen. If you are super keen on comics and other type of digital media you might want to look at a reader with 7 inches or more. While reading various comics on this device I found files loaded very quickly and page turn speed was solid.
This device also handled complex PDF Files such as newspapers without much problem. It was very simple to pinch and zoom to get everything looking the way that you want. The default PDF viewer did not have any extensive functions such as Re-flow or augmenting the PDF in any way, but with Android you can easily load in whatever app you want.
Make no mistake, the Kyobo is designed for reading but does not tap into any ecosystem to download and purchase books. This is the type of gadget that you have to either side-load your own books in or use other mainstream apps to buy books. Of course if you live in South Korea you can buy books via the web browser from Kyobo, but if you live anywhere else you will have to bear this all in mind.
The default audio player is hurting and only has a simple timeline with a pause button. You may want to download alternative apps if you intend on listening to audiobooks or music with any sort of ability like Playlists or EQ.
The video player is also lacking in features and does not have any widescreen viewing with movies or videos. We loaded in a open source free video that we load in all of our devices and the aspect ratio was always off. Instead of playing it in full screen mode, which wasn’t even an option to switch it too, it played it in a small box in the center of the screen.
The Mirasol e-reader by Kyobo certainly does not bundle great applications right out of the box and if you only relied on them for your entire reading and multimedia experience you might be in bad way. The redeeming factors is that it is Android and has the ability for you to install any app or game you want. The one downside is that you cannot change the wallpaper or use widgets.
Finally lets talk about the internet experience and what you can expect out of it. First of all, it does not ship with a YOUTUBE application or Adobe Flash. These are two programs you want to install right away to get the most out of web browsing. Web pages loaded fairly quickly but are totally dependent on your local WIFI internet connection. I was surprised on how quickly web sites loaded in our test labs and was quite happy with the overall experience. Pinching and Zooming was easy to do and you did not get a ton of clipping and artifacting like you would on a tablet with lower-end specs.
It has been at least two years since Mirasol has been working on their color e-paper technology and this is the first product ever to employ it. There has been many products using it that never really got out of the gates and were cancelled before they ever saw the light of day. Has it been worth the wait? I think it has.
The closest comparison with the Mirasol technology is Pixel QI and when you actually use a device employing it there are a fair amount of distinctions. We have been to many tradeshows such as CES, Computex, Mobile World Congress and others. Most of the time these two companies are in attendence showing off ONLY their screens and not actual products employing them. There is a huge difference between the screen technology being displayed in technical demos and the final released product. The only product to hit North America with Pixel QI was the Notion Ink Adam and in Asia with ZTE. Having played with both of these devices extensively and now the Mirasol Reader, I honestly like the Kyobo model better.
I found the colors on Mirasol to be more vibrant and it did better in our lighting tests then Pixel QI ever did. The technology has been in development a longtime and does not disappoint.
If you are the type of person that has been playing with tablets a long time the first thing you will notice is the washed out colors and muted display screen. This is really the essence of the technology as it was designed for reading in the sun and to draw less power then your standard LCD screen. This technology is certainly not for everyone and I would not recommend it for someone who consumes a ton of media. If you are a reader this will be for you.
In the end, I found it did a great job with comic books, PDF Files and EBOOKS which is the primary use of this device. If you can get past the display you will end up loving this little gadget.
We are very excited to be bringing you another Good e-Reader Exclusive Video! Today we are unboxing the brand new Kyobo Mirasol Color e-Reader.
First of all, Mirasol has been refining this new technology for over two years and this is the first e-reader employing its new breed of color e-paper. It has a great resolution of 1024×768 pixels on a 5.7 inch capacitive touchscreen display. Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ Snapdragon CPU processor which is amazing for an e-reader.
Kyobo, the South Korean bookstore, has partnered with Mirasol to launch one of the world’s first color e-readers. This uses a next generation e-paper display that has been in development for over two years. The ebook reader launched at over 500 bookstores last week, and the company released its first commercial video.
Mirasol has finally delivered its long awaited Color e-Reader featuring a new generation of e-paper. They have partnered up with South Korean bookstore chain Kyobo to sell their e-readers in a retail setting. Today Mirasol has offered a new video demonstrating the device.
The new Mirasol features a 5.7-inch capacitive color touchscreen with 1024 x 768 pixels. It is projected to be a speedy device with the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor. You can surf the web with the built in WIFI to purchase books and browse the internet. The hyping factor is the new Mirasol based color e-paper technology that allows you to read even in the dark.
Kyobo Books is the largest bookstore chain in South Korea and it will offer close to 90,000 ebooks for purchase. Not only can you sate your literary thirsts, but they will also offer videos, audiobooks, newspapers, magazines, and graphic novels. Additionally, the device features video lecture content exclusive to EBS, a leading Korea-based provider of educational material; content sharing through Korean social networking services; English language text-to-speech capabilities; and searchable content through the popular Diotek dictionary application.
Cheryl Goodman of Mirasol told us at the 1st annunal e-Reader Conference in San Francisco that they will be releasing a device by the end of the year. True to their word, we finally have the fabled device available via the Kyobo Book Centre in South Korea. They are going to be releasing an e-reader today, running on the Google Android 2.3 OS for $300.00.
The new Mirasol features a 5.7-inch capacitive color touchscreen with 1024 x 768 pixels. It is projected to be a speedy device with the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor. You can surf the worldwide web with the built in WIFI to purchase books and browse the internet. The hyping factor is the new Mirasol based color e-paper technology that allows you to read even in the dark.
Kyobo Books is the largest bookstore chain in South Korea and it will offer close to 90,000 ebooks to purchase. Not only can you sate your literary thirsts, but they will also offer videos, audiobooks, newspapers, magazines, and graphic novels. Additionally, the device features video lecture content exclusive to EBS, a leading Korea-based provider of educational material; content sharing through Korean social networking services; English language text-to-speech capabilities; and searchable content through the popular Diotek dictionary application.
“Kyobo is a recognized content leader focused on bringing unique and innovative experiences to its customers,” said Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. “Kyobo’s customers will be the first to enjoy the exceptional color e-reader experience and long battery life that only mirasol displays can provide.”