Qualcomm’s new Mirasol sunlight viewable display does color better

Qualcomm Mirasol displays sound amazing on paper. They’re low-power screens which can display color and black and white images with or without a backlight. Like E Ink screens, that means Mirasol displays are easily visible even in direct sunlight.

But up until recently, there’s been a trade-off: Mirasol displays have suffered from washed-out looking colors.

Now Qualcomm is showing off new and improved screens designed to offer better color reproduction.

mirasol smi

Nikkei Technology reports the new displays use Single Mirror IMOD, or SMI technology which still offers a reflective screen which can be used in direct sunlight, but which can reproduce just about any color while still using little power.

The company is showing off a sample 5.1 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel display with 577 pixels per inch, which means we could eventually see Qualcomm’s new displays in smartphone-sized devices.

Judging from the sample photos, colors still don’t look as vivid as on an AMOLED or even a traditional LCD display. But phones (or smartwatches) with these SMI screens will probably be a lot easier to use outdoors or in other bright environments.

via Geek and The Digital Reader


    We have been hearing about Mirasol displays for at least a couple of years. I am not aware of any products that can actually be purchased yet. The colors may not be as vibrant, but for regular consumers (or employees) that spend much of their time outside, away from a charging station, this would be perfect.

    • Mobile_Dom

      Qualcomm Toq, but im not sure you can really call that a consumer product, it was more of an extended prototype 😛

    • Nighty

      There were also done colour ebook readers (I.e. tablets) but they were limited to Asia. I too would love something with a mirasol display. I would prefer les vibrancy but the ability to use it everywhere.

      That’s why if I get a smart watch any time soon it’ll most likely be a Toq even if it has less functions.

    • artinvent

      More like 5 years. It would seem like a great option for a phone that could go like 3-4 days of decent use on one charge. Or get through one solid day of near constant use. I mean when I use my phone a lot the battery minder says that like 75% of the power went to the screen. I would think there would be a market for this even with the muted colors. But haven’t seen it.

  • werewolfc

    I’m still wainting for the time when we will see IGZO displays on a wider range of smartphones (in EU) .
    In both cases, i guess we’re talking about years until we’ll see products on the market using those 2 technologies.

    • Nighty

      Qualcomm also showed off their other MEMS based display tech coupled with IGZO back planes.

      • werewolfc

        New technologies must be adopted by smartphones manufacturers like Sammy,Lg,Huawey, zte etc . Qualcomm is not an smartphone manufacturer. I think those manufacturers are not ready to ditch the old tft, amoled tehnologies in wich they invested money and use new displays

      • RefriedBeans

        The mobile handset market is extremely competitive, and manufacturers (especially those serving Asian markets) try out all sorts of technologies to get a competitive edge.

        I think if Mirasol was a compelling technology, it would be in use somewhere.

  • Joe

    I hope these outoor visible screen tech would come out faster. I really want them. I do remember reading Qualcomm having a lot of technical issues with Mirasol which slowed development though. I hope they were/are able to fix the problems.

  • Conception

    Mirasol products have all been vaporware (at least in North America) as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been interested for years but have had to buy alternative devices because they just don’t exist here. Such promising technology too. Sigh…

  • http://soltesza.wordpress.com/ sola

    This tech would be a boon for large-format e-readers or reading-oriented tablets.

    • brian

      I would like to see a desktop monitor offered as well that could be used with natural lighting. I’m not sure that sitting in front of an active display for many hours a day is good for the eyes.

  • Ken D’Ambrosio

    I’ve been following Mirasol ever since the other color eInk vendors died, and have been hoping for an e-reader, but the reviews on the Asian ones they released just weren’t strong enough for me to try to score one. Sounds like they’ve made some tweaks — I’d be very interested in seeing if they teamed up with one of the non-Kindle vendors (Nook, Kobo), and tried to do an end-run around Amazon. For that matter, if they could make it an e-reader/tablet with crazy battery life, that would be a huge win.

    I’ll be keeping my eyes open.

  • Brian

    this technology is needed in the automotive space….. I would kill for a 7″ mirasol tablet i can use in place of a car stereo

  • Manx

    TFT, OLED emit light – it is WRONG for eyes, MIRASOL change colours not emit light – thats GOOD for eyes. Thats ALL. WE are Waiting.