PixelQi has the advantage of reflective ( non-backlit lowest power ) and backside emissive modes ( conventional LCD nearly - but with huge wide aperture ). It also is a simple derivation of processes used to make conventional LCD color displays and trivially capable of Video rate.
Mirasol / Iridigm has been a long time coming, and given the dominance of iPad and small sales volumes of competing tablet devices to date, the market dynamics might indicate that gaining traction / volume sales for Mirasol is modestly risky if technical alternatives exist. In time Android tablets will gain some market traction, but for now iPad is the dominant product in the tablet market segment, and lcearly most profitable, a huge credit to Apple and Steve Jobs and his superb team.
A case can be made that Samsung might be the largest/ larger mobile / tablet manufacturer outside of Apple, and clearly that account is not likely to be able to be closed by Qualcomm, with Samsung's recent Liquavista buyout and Samsung’s superb OLED emissive displays.
Apple is unlikely to want a sole source from an unproven manufacturing line.
Can Motorola be convinced?
My take is had Iridigm / Mirasol committed investment and buildout to a captive volume manufacturing plant far earlier, several years ago, they might have been ready for the iPad (when it happened) / tablet market. but now delay after delay, makes this less and less a profitable opportunity for Mirasol so it seems, especially when the economy is limping along
Mirasol is an improvement over backlit LCD operation. It is not power competitive for low power full color when compared with Liquivista ( Philips spinoff bought by Samsung a few months ago ).
Analog color & intensity modulation in Mirasol comes from a PWM modulation of the mems to interpret intermediate colors even if static display ( sad for power savings ). It is not emissive / true backlit, capable, it requires side / toplighting in low light conditions to see the reflective display.
From very recent patent filings Mirasol might be trying to integrate photovoltaic elements in the mems display to compensate for the less competitive native power dissipation, in part due to the need to flap the mems to interpolate color even in static (non motion) full color operation.
Liquavista has native zero static power, and video rate. True static analog color interpolation - ie zero power is dissipated at intermediate settings of the Liquavista light valves, where Mirasol / Iridigm is fundamentally bistable, and hence analog intensity is "emulated" by flapping the mems optical element. In addition to Liquavista, there is at least one other early stage electrowetting display startup, with similar properties to the Liquavista technology.
It'd be interesting to see whether Microsoft is flexible and inventive enough to adapt Windows to the new form factors. Last several Windows versions were just 'more of the same', with practically no new HMI ideas, whereas Droid and Apple platforms delivered startingly new designs that changed the way we interact with computers.
It seems to me that Windows is where Novell used to be 20 years ago: solid performing workhorse that can't get itself to change and adapt to the new hardware and customer expectations. Then again, Microsoft is more adaptive and might still avoid disaster like they did repeatedly in the past---e.g. belatedly embracing Internet or recovering from the ME and Vista fiascoes.
ARM based mobile platform - tablet or notebook - seemingly draws a lot of focus. I am happy to see the market grows in different direction and potentially breaks the dominant position of Intel in PC market. Energy efficiency is the biggest selling point of ARM. I am surprised that Qualcomm will postpone the launching of the Mirasol based eBook. A color version eInk which supports motion video is one of the biggest missing piece of eReader that supports both books and magazine. I can see Mirasol can apply to next generation tablet and notebook given the energy efficiency.
The displays for the e-reader were being built in a small fab that "couldn't ramp volume anyway.
Why didn't qualcomm build bigger fab in the beginning itself ? Did it underestimate the e-reader demand ?
"I didn't like the full system, so we decided to not launch that one and launch the next version of it,"
IMO better not to launch the next version also. Very very thin margins on the reader itself. Kindle/Nook sells for like ~100$ these days. QCOM should simply sell the display itself to phone/tablet/ereader manufacturers.
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