LONDON – The Kyobo e-reader from Kyobo Book Centre, Korea's largest book seller, is the first e-reader to use Mirasol MEMS-based display technology from Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc.
The Kyobo e-reader was unveiled in Seoul, South Korea, and features a 5.7-inch diagonal-size XGA resolution display (1,024 pixels by 768 pixels). The resolution is 223 pixels per inch the unit includes Qualcomm's 1.0-GHz Snapdragon S2 class processor and Kyobo's custom reader application sits on an Android 2.3 base.
The Mirasol display has the advantage of being non-volatile so that it only needs to use energy when changing the page – well suited to an e-reader.
The technology, which Qualcomm (San Diego, Calif.) acquired in 2004, is also reflective so it can save power by not requiring a backlight and make use of ambient light. However, by the same token the display could be seen as less intense and visually appealing than a saturated emissive display, such as OLED.
Mirasol is based on a MEMS structure combined with thin film optics to create interferometric modulation. The color display is thin and bi-stable so that power is only consumed when changing the status of display. This has the disadvantage that grey-scale requires the application of spatial and temporal dithering. Nonetheless the display is capable of running video at 30-frame per second.
A 5.7-inch MEMS-based display makes it to market in the Kyobo e-reader.
"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." said Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc., in a statement.
Chui said on the QMT website that commercialization efforts are still in the early stages and the company will remain focused on low-volume partners such as Kyobo. A purpose built factory in Taiwan is due to come online in 2012 allowing QMT to go to higher volume production.
The Kyobo e-reader is available for purchase at a price of 349,000 Korean Won (about $310).
Battery life figures might be interesting if you want to buy the unit. But if you are interested in designing in the MEMS display then energy to alter the display is key.
Clearly battery life depends on how many pages you turn.
Qualcomm don't give a battery life but say the reader should last for "weeks" based upon 30 minutes of daily reading time with WiFi turned off and with the front light set to 25 percent utilization.
That sounds like several hours of continuous use but going down if you are reading under the bedclothes with the front light on and the WiFi going.
Hope that helps.