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).
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