The Kyobo was the first hybrid tablet and e-reader to use Mirasol’s new color e-paper technology. It came out early this year and Qualcomm was heavily touting the device as a major achievement. Kyobo is the largest bookstore chain in South Korea and senior management has confirmed with us today that the company is discontinuing the Kyobo e-Reader.
All Kyobo locations in South Korea will not be ordering in Mirasol e-readers once existing stock is sold out. Many retail outlets still have a number of them in stock but are phasing them out completely. Kyobo is now holding a fire sale on these tablets and is selling them in the stores for only $87, which is eerily similar to the whole HP TouchPad fiasco. The company told us that they face stiff competition from Samsung, Toshiba, Acer, and Asus tablets in the retail market. The Kyobo costs around $300 US and you can get a higher performing tablet with a more recent version of Google Android for the cost. The Kyobo e-Reader simply did not generate enough buzz and attention in their stores to be viable for continued distribution.
The Mirasol e-reader from Kyobo had a few things going for it that were quite impressive. It featured a six inch screen and was powered by a new breed of color e-paper technology. It draws less power, thereby giving you longer battery life. The main selling point is that the tablet is easy on the easy on the eyes so you don’t suffer from the same sort of eyestrain that you would get from a LCD tablet.
Mirasol screen technology was a product that took almost eight years to develop, but never caught on with OEM’s and manufacturers. There are only a few other devices that use their display technology: Bambook Sunflower, Hanvon C18, and the Koobe Jin Yong. Hanvon doesn’t even list the tablet on their main website and the other companies are next to impossible to contact. Basically, only fringe companies took the step to use this screen technology and none were successful at releasing a commercially viable product.
If you are interested in the Kyobo Mirasol with English firmware, you can still order it from Shop e-Readers. The store will honor all support, warranties, and help you may need.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.